Highlighting the Hill of Fame; Oak Hill’s Crown Jewel at the PGA Championship

Highlighting the Hill of Fame; Oak Hill’s Crown Jewel at the PGA Championship

At the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill, in the afternoon four-ball session on Saturday, Fred Couples faced a delicate chip shot from the front left side of the par-5 13th.

A long, uphill hole that measured almost 600 yards at the time, Couples had already hit three shots to this spot. Meanwhile, his playing partner Brad Faxon faced a 30-footer for birdie, which had an unlikely chance of going in.

Their European counterparts, Sam Torrance and Colin Montgomerie, were in the hole with a birdie four and felt they were about to take control of the match.

Couples had other ideas.

He chipped in to halve the hole, sending the home-American crowd into a frenzy.

“That was the loudest roar I think I have ever heard,” Faxon said on Golf Channel’s Live from the PGA Championship Monday. “The city of Rochester really embraced that [Ryder Cup], and they really embrace all golfing events as they will again this week.”

Couples and Faxon fed off the momentum from the 13th and went on to win the match over Torrance and Montgomerie, 4 & 2.

“We were crushing them all day,” Torrance said to Playing Through. “But that chip-in changed the match. It was indeed the loudest roar I ever heard.”

Unfortunately for Couples and Faxon, their celebration was short-lived as the Americans blew a 9-to-7 lead on Sunday, ultimately losing to the Europeans 14.5-to-13.5.

RYDER CUP COUPLES

Brad Faxon and Fred Couples celebrate the iconic chip-in on the 13th hole on Oak Hill’s East Course.
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Ironically, on the hole that Couples had a career-defining moment, the victorious 1995 European Ryder Cup team is honored by Oak Hill’s Hill of Fame, which sits adjacent to the 13th hole.

The Hill of Fame, which pays tribute to those who have contributed significantly to the game of golf, runs along the right side of the 13th hole, which now measures more than 620 yards from the back tees.

Plaques on the trees honor some of the biggest names in the game, from Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez, and even comedian Bob Hope and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The club added Jim Nantz, renowned CBS golf broadcaster, to the Hill of Fame this week too.

“What’s common among these most uncommon individuals is not just their extraordinary achievements, but also the spirit in which they engaged the tasks at hand and the character with which they comported their lives,” said Bill Westerfield, the current chairman of the Oak Hill Hill of Fame. “All were pioneers, but in different ways. They pushed against barriers and drew lines in the sand. They did it with civility, to be sure, but with great panache all the same. They showed us the joy of a life well led and let us share that joy with them.”

The Hill of Fame sits on one of the highest points of Oak Hill’s property. From there, one can see down the 9th hole, which runs parallel to 13. Terrific sightlines of the 12th green, 14, and the first hole also exist.

Oak Hill Country Club - Course Scenics

The 13th Hole at Oak Hill, with a Hill of Fame plaque in the foreground.
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It’s a beautiful spot, as Allens Creek bisects the 13th fairway 325 yards from the teeing ground. The green then sits adjacent to the clubhouse, with the Hill of Fame helping serve as a natural amphitheater surrounding the green.

It is the perfect place to watch the world’s best play, with no better example than when Couples chipped in at the 1995 Ryder Cup.

But this year, part of the Hill of Fame will be used for hospitality members to congregate and watch the PGA Championship.

The “Hill of Fame Deck,” which now overlooks the 13th and 9th holes, provides unique access for Hill of Fame ticket holders to soak in the championship.

Ninety-three percent of Oak Hill’s membership purchased tickets to the Hill of Fame Deck, which provides complimentary food and non-alcoholic beverages from Thursday through Sunday. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase too.

“Our membership is really excited about the Hill of Fame Deck,” said Ron Pluta, General Chairman of the 2023 PGA Championship. “We could not grant clubhouse access to our members for this tournament, as we are using the clubhouse for players, their families, and the PGA of America, but I am confident this experience will be great.”

Rest assured that the 13th hole will again provide fireworks at the 2023 PGA Championship, giving these ticket holders terrific views of the action.

With Oak Hill playing as a Par 70 this week, the 13th, aptly nicknamed the Hill of Fame, will be just one of two par-fives for the championship.

It is a crucial hole.

If you have the chance to be on the grounds at Oak Hill this week, the 13th hole is a must-stop. It is the club’s signature hole for obvious reasons.

If not, and you are watching on TV, keep an eye out for 13.

Either way, the Hill of Fame will play an essential role in deciding the champion and play a pivotal role throughout the 105th PGA Championship.

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