Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

U.S. Women's Open

4 things that make U.S. Women’s Open week harder than any other on the LPGA Tour

18th Hole

The 18th hole at Lancaster Country Club.

Russell Kirk

LANCASTER, Pa. — When you hear players talk about the U.S. Women’s Open, the conversation usually veers to how hard a test of golf it is. It’s not just their voices that express the difficulty; you can see the exhaustion on players’ faces after challenging rounds. Golf is always hard, of course. But the USGA’s marquee women’s event is different. Three major champions spoke about what exactly makes U.S. Women’s Open week the supreme test that it is.

It’s long

The official scorecard for the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open lists Lancaster Country Club as playing 6,629 yards. That’s not a record (that belongs to Broadmoor at 7,047 yards while played at elevation), but it’s a pretty big number when you also consider Lancaster is playing to a par 70 (the only one on the LPGA schedule to date) with just two par 5s. The length isn’t just on the three-shot holes but the par 4s, with seven listed at 412 yards or longer.

The length grabs the attention of all players, even the longest hitters.

“One thing I noticed yesterday is how long of clubs I had into the holes, too,” Nelly Korda said. “As a longer player on this tour, I would say I tend to take advantage of the par 5s, but I think all the par 5s are going to be three-shot holes this week.”

You can’t miss the fairway

Just because the course is long doesn’t mean you can swing with reckless abandon. Trying to bomb your way around Lancaster has to be measured against the need for accuracy off the tee, too. Otherwise, you’re round will be over before it really starts.

“I feel like the key out here this week is just hitting it straight,” Nelly Korda said.

Indeed, the hallmark of USGA championship set up remains narrow setups off the tee with thick rough menacing players. A slight miss off the tee in a typical tour event usually still gives you a look at a green. A slight miss off the tee at Lancaster and your ball could disappear into deep rough.

“First and foremost, the rough is much thicker,” defending champion Allisen Corpuz said.


Being long off the tee helps at a U.S. Women's Open, but finding fairways could be even more important.

Ezra Shaw

The penalty for missing the fairway by a small amount is more severe during U.S. Women’s Open week. Add in the increased distance, and you’re now not only hitting approach shots out of the rough, but you’re also hitting a longer club out of the rough.

“Everything is just a little bit harder,” Brooke Henderson said. “The course is a little bit longer. The rough is a little bit longer.”

Lancaster Country Club: Meadow Creek/Dogwood
Jason E. Miczek
111 Panelists
Originally a small nine-hole course founded in 1901, William Flynn designed the layout we see today in 1920. The course is constructed on rolling terrain with a river flowing through the heart of the property and water comes into play on the vast majority of holes. While the course really shines from holes two to eight, all in a river valley that provides the golfer with exciting yet testing shots. The bunkering on the course stands out, and like with all Flynn courses, they are placed in a way that forces golfers to take an extra consideration. The par 3s too are very good with great variety and intrigue. The course is the host of the 2015 and 2024 U.S. Women's Open.
View Course

Keep your wits so the greens don't give you fits

There are good putters and then there are good U.S. Open putters: ones who get a feel for the speed of the greens early and don’t let the mess with their heads. “The greens are quicker,” Henderson said. Don’t get upset. Accept it and figure them out.

Beyond speed, players noted how U.S. Women’s Opens are often played on courses that have greens with a lot more “character” … with humps, bumps and hollows to maneuver.

“The greens are really undulated,” Corpuz said. “So just a lot of break on the longer putts.”

It’s not unlike tests that many of these players face in other tournaments, but there’s usually no let up on all 18 holes. So it’s staying patient and focused throughout a round, which becomes a mental test more so than a physical one.

The vibe is just different

If you the U.S. Women’s Open, your life isn’t the same. Partly because of the money: At $12 million, it’s the largest purse in women’s golf. But also because winning this championship means you’re part of history.

Allisen Corpuz, who is the defending champion after winning at Pebble Beach in 2023, was asked if her life has changed since that win. “Yeah, a lot. A lot more than I expected,” Corpuz said. “All in good ways. It feels like I have a little more of a platform and the opportunities and the people that I've met, I know for sure there's a lot of things that wouldn't have happened if I didn't win.”


Allisen Corpuz celebrates with the Harton S. Semple Trophy after winning the U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach last year.

Harry How

The latent knowledge of what could come with a victory creates a pressure for many players. But if you can embrace the pressure the right way, it can make the championship that more enjoyable.

“It's just a lot of fun. It's a great challenge. If you go into the week knowing it's going to be tough, you kind of look forward to those moments when things aren't going well. You kind of try to rise to the challenge,” Henderson said. “Just the atmosphere when you walk into a major championship or the U.S. Women's Open, it's different than every other week. It's a little bit more exciting, a little bit more adrenaline, and it's just really fun.”