Longtime Tulsa-area golf figure Dan Griffin estimates that he has caddied more than 2,400 rounds on Southern Hills’ 18-hole course. That would equate to having walked more than 10,000 miles around the Southern Hills property.
Griffin caddied at Southern Hills during the 1961 U.S. Senior Amateur, 1965 U.S. Amateur, 1970 PGA Championship (for Lee Trevino), 1977 U.S. Open, 1982 PGA Championship, 2009 U.S. Amateur and 2021 Senior PGA Championship.
On May 19-22, Southern Hills hosts its eighth men’s professional golf major championship — the PGA Championship. For the Tulsa World, Griffin provided a hole-by-hole breakdown of the par-70 course, which will play 450 yards longer than it did for the 2007 PGA Championship:
Griffin: “The best entry to the green is from the left side of the fairway. On the second shot, you have to play to the left-center of the green.”
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Griffin: “No. 2 and No. 18 are the two toughest holes, depending on the wind. The rough on the right is very thick. You’ve got water on the left.”
Griffin: “A dogleg left. They’ll want to keep the ball in the center of the fairway or a little right of center.”
Griffin: “A straightaway hole. The landing area in most instances flows to the right. If they can keep it on that line, it should be perfect.”
Griffin: “The longest hole on the course. In all of the years I’ve been out here, I’ve only seen nine people hit that green in two shots.”
Griffin: “Usually downwind.” During the Senior PGA last year, this hole played at 188 yards.
Griffin: “It used to be a fairly easy hole. (Since the renovation), it has become a very difficult hole. I think maybe the third-toughest hole on the course.”
Griffin: “Slightly uphill. This green is an optical illusion. It sits on a hill, and the front part of the green is much more steep than it looks. Hubie Green won the 1977 U.S. Open here, and he intentionally played short of the green each day. (With) his short game — he could throw that little spin shot up there and stick it near the hole. He didn’t want to mess with the bunkers. Tough hole.”
Griffin: “A little dogleg right. If a guy hits driver and hooks it, he’ll be in the rough. A cut shot is a pretty good play on this hole. You don’t have to hit driver; you just want to get it up there in the 120- to 140-yard range on your second shot.”
Griffin: “A dogleg right, downhill. It’s (about 330 yards) to the creek. They want to play a left of center of the fairway.”
Griffin: “Another par-3, also downhill. Small green. If you’re in the center of the green, you’ll have a 20-foot putt in any direction. Of all of the holes on the course, the wind is most difficult to judge.”
Griffin: “Southern Hills’ signature hole. In 1958, Ben Hogan called it one of the best holes in all of golf. In 1970, Arnold Palmer agreed with Hogan. It’s (about 280 yards) to carry the bunker. I like to have a player hit it to the right of the bunker and let the sloping fairway run the ball to the left a little bit. You end up with a 170-yard shot to the green.”
Griffin: “A straightaway hole. For a lot of people, it’s a three-shot hole (to reach the green).” For the PGA Championship, this hole plays 104 yards longer than for the Senior PGA players last year.
Griffin: “A downhill hole. Usually, there’s a crosswind there.”
Griffin: “My favorite hole on the course. A slight dogleg left. There’s a bunker 260 yards off the tee, on the left. You want to stay right of that bunker, leaving yourself with a 130- to 160-yard shot to a very undulating green.”
Griffin: “It’s a par-5 for members, but a par-4 for (the PGA Championship). Usually, the wind helps on this hole. I like for a player to hit it toward the bunker on the left side, and kind of cut it back toward the middle of the fairway.”
Griffin: “A tricky little hole. You want to hit about a 240-yard shot down the left side. That leaves you 110 to 125 yards to the green.”
Griffin: “Very difficult. The water is straightaway. The left side of the water is (330 yards) from the tee. I like for a guy to angle it down the left side of the fairway, and try to land it at about 240 or 250 yards. It should run down to the flat area and leave you with 160 to 180 yards uphill to the green.”