Baltusrol Golf Club has a long history of professional golf.
Jack Nicklaus won two U.S. Opens at Baltusrol and Phil Mickelson won his first PGA Championship there. The KPMG LPGA Championship pays a visit to Baltusrol’s Lower Course for the first time this week.
Stacy Lewis, who has won two LPGA major championships, knew some of Baltusrol’s illustrious history but did not realize that one of golf’s greatest shots occurred there.
“I learned about Jack Nicklaus’s 1-iron [during a practice round] on the 18th hole,” Lewis said during her Wednesday pre-tournament press conference.
At the 1967 U.S. Open, Nicklaus hit a 238-yard 1-iron onto the green at the 72nd hole. He made the putt, establishing a new U.S. Open scoring record.
A plaque on the 18th fairway of Baltusrol’s Lower Course commemorates the shot.
Women’s major championships have not been contested on the same caliber of courses as where men’s majors are held—so who could blame Lewis for not knowing about Nicklaus’ famous 1-iron.
But Lewis is aware of the disparity between the men’s and women’s games, as she noted ahead of the KPMG LPGA Championship. She is thankful for the progress being made.
“To just start a history here of women being on those pictures and being around that clubhouse, that’s the biggest thing for me of what’s changing in women’s golf,” Lewis said. “It’s going to happen at Pebble [Beach] too. We’re changing the history of these golf courses. I’m just glad the powers that be picked up the phone and said they were ready for it.”
In July, Pebble Beach will hold the Women’s U.S. Open for the first time. The iconic course on the Monterey Peninsula has hosted six U.S. Opens on the men’s side and will host a seventh one in 2027.
“Our majors are the biggest opportunity to grow our sport and grow our tour,” Lewis added. “It’s when we get the most people watching us.”
Hopefully, the best female golfers will continue to play majors at America’s top venues. These ladies are good, and they only deserve the best.