I really disliked the Butler Cabin ceremony at Augusta. I always felt that the best thing to do would be to go right to the public presentation of the green jacket, with emotions still at a fever pitch and all the people and a national TV audience there to see it. To go inside the flower-infested catacombs of the Butler Cabin and watch the club chairmen perform the ceremony they were helpless — really let the air out of the balloon. One year Hord Hardin asked Bernhard Langer how he pronounced his name. Another year he asked Seve how tall he was. I would watch this with my face in my hands, but the club wouldn't have it any other way. Oh, well. FRANK CHIRKINIAN
Here's the view into the green, with those incredibly aged and character rich bunkers (and love the sand color, fescues and flowering weeds that give such a rugged appearance).
The fourth tee (upper image) sits next to the maintenance center and features an all or nothing uphill shot played to a "skyline green," generally played into a stiff breeze. The USGA lists it at 137 for this week's event.
The 5th (lower image) is longer with more of a run-up approach required, and is played on nearly the same line as the previous hole. A design defect to some, but way too fun and different for most to even notice.
It also appears there are plans to alternate the distance for this hole ala the 4th at Baltusrol.
This is just a great little two-shotter with beautifully placed bunkers that tempt a play close to the green, even though a lay-up left followed by a wedge approach, will do the job.
And like the 10th at Riviera, it's a timeless design built on Newport's least interesting terrain.
While I'm on the road the next few days, I can offer a few photos of the wonderful Newport Country Club, host to this week's U.S. Women's Open. I happened to catch it on a nice day for photography in the fall of 2003.
The next few posts will highlight some of my favorite holes and aspects of this charming layout. For more on the course, check out the USGA official site hole-by-hole map. There is also a page devoted to the club's history.
Do note the fairway irrigation-free course is likely to be much, much more green this year due to heavy rains, not because the USGA or club wanted it cleaned up for the championship.
And also remember that the clubhouse has undergone a significant restoration since my visit, so some of the color schemes and other details may be different when you see it this week.