Merion Golf Club, one of the crown jewels of golf courses in the United States, has been awarded two U.S. Opens, each one coming on the 100th anniversary of two of the most iconic events in the sport’s history, as well as multiple national championships over the next three decades.
During a press conference Wednesday at Oakmont Country Club, site of this week’s U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Golf Association announced that Merion will host the 2030 U.S. Open marking the centennial of Bob Jones’ victory there in the U.S. Amateur that completed his grand slam.
The USGA also awarded the 2050 U.S. Open to Merion where Ben Hogan captured a dramatic championship in 1950, 16 months after a crash that almost killed him. In addition, Merion will host the 2034 and 2046 U.S. Women’s Opens.
The Haverford Township course already has been chosen to host the 2022 Curtis Cup matches and the 2026 U.S. Amateur, which will be held on the 250th anniversary of signing of the Declaration of Independence. The USGA said other championships at Merion will be announced at a later date.
Buddy Marucci, the championship chair at Merion, said the club felt “enormous pride” to get four men’s and women’s Opens on its schedule. He acknowledged the involvement by the state of Pennsylvania in helping Merion and Oakmont, which was awarded seven USGA championships, stage the big events.
“Some negotiations have been going on with the state of Pennsylvania, which have come full-circle for the state to help clubs, not only Merion and Oakmont but Lancaster and Saucon Valley, any club that’s hosting a USGA event, kind of helping financially because the burden has gotten larger, and the state has been very positive,” he said.
Saucon Valley will host the 2022 U.S. Senior Open. Two USGA championships in 2024 will be the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster and the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Philadelphia Cricket.
Merion’s most recent championship was the 2013 U.S. Open won by Justin Rose. That event, its fifth Open, marked the return of the event from a 32-year absence after the club lengthened the course and thought up imaginative ways to use the grounds at the East and West courses for corporate tents and player hospitality.
In 2019, Merion completed an extensive two-year renovation of its East course, a project headed by famed Malvern architect Gil Hanse. Marucci said the project mostly concerned infrastructure – restoring bunker complexes to improve drainage, a sub-air system to reduce moisture on the greens, and a new state-of-the-art irrigation system that can pinpoint areas under stress.
“The infrastructure certainly has helped us make the case that we are better prepared than we have been in the past,” he said. “Architecturally, we’ve never had an issue. It’s always been, can we deliver the agronomy based on some of the antiquated systems we had in place, and now we don’t have that discussion any more. So to that extent, yes, I think that restoration has helped us.”
As for additional championships being awarded to Merion, Marucci said discussions will continue.
“It’s kind of an ongoing thing,” he said, “but I think we have the bookends for, most importantly, to extend this 117-year relationship that we’ve had with the USGA for another three decades. I think that is every bit as important as anything else we could hope for. So that’s kind of where it is.”
The USGA said this week’s U.S. Amateur marks the 88th national championship conducted in Pennsylvania, the most of any state.