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2023 BMW Championship PGA Course Preview – Olympia Fields

2023 BMW Championship

Olympia Fields

PGA Tour players Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler greet each other before teeing off on the first hole during the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn., on Friday, August 11, 2023.

Hello, DFS Army! Josh Thomas aka DFSUpNorth, coming at you with a deep dive into the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields. It’s the second event of the FedEx Cup playoffs with only the top 50 teeing it up, and the field being cut down to 30 for the Tour Championship at East Lake next week!

The Course:

Nestled in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, Olympia Fields Country Club’s North Course stands as a monument to golf’s rich tradition and a challenging test for the modern golfer. Founded in 1915, the club has been at the epicenter of American golf for over a century, hosting major championships, Western Opens, and PGA Tour events.

The North Course, designed by the legendary Willie Park Jr., is a par-70 layout that stretches over 7,300 yards. Park’s philosophy of integrating the course into the natural landscape and emphasizing strategic play is evident throughout the 18 holes. The narrow fairways, thick rough, artful bunkering, and fast, undulating greens present a puzzle that even the world’s best players find demanding.

History echoes through the corridors of Olympia Fields. From the iconic clubhouse, one of the largest in the world, to the course’s time-honored layout, every aspect of the club exudes class and tradition. The champions who have emerged here include legends like Jack Nicklaus, Jim Furyk, and Johnny Farrell, and the battles fought on these fairways and greens have been etched into the annals of golf history.

But beyond the illustrious past, Olympia Fields remains relevant in contemporary golf. It’s a course that doesn’t shy away from challenging today’s golfers with its U.S. Open-style setup. Its tree-lined avenues and intricate green complexes demand precision, while its length requires power. It’s a delicate balance that makes Olympia Fields a course respected and admired by pros and amateurs alike.

In short, Olympia Fields North Course is more than just a golf course; it’s a living piece of golf history, a stern examination of a golfer’s skill, and a beautiful walk through a meticulously crafted landscape. It’s a place where the past meets the present, where legends have been made, and where future champions are waiting to emerge.

Willie Park Jr., Course Designer

The North Course at Olympia Fields was designed by the renowned Willie Park Jr., and it’s a classic example of his design philosophy.

  • Background: Willie Park Jr. was a Scottish golfer and golf course architect. He won The Open Championship twice, in 1887 and 1889. But beyond his playing career, he became one of the most influential golf course designers of his time.
  • Design Philosophy: Park believed in blending the golf course with the natural landscape. He emphasized strategic play, requiring golfers to think their way around the course. His bunkering was artful, and he was a master at creating challenging but fair golf holes.
  • Other Notable Courses: Besides Olympia Fields, Park designed or redesigned over 170 courses, including Maidstone Club in New York, and the Old Course at Sunningdale in England.

The North Course at Olympia Fields is a testament to Park’s genius as a designer. It remains a challenging and beautiful course, more than a century after it was first laid out. The combination of long, demanding par 4s, intricate par 3s, and challenging green complexes make it a timeless test of golf.


PGA Course Preview DFS


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Tournament Set-up: 

Olympia Fields CC (North Course)

Par: 35-35–70
Yardage: 7,366
Stimpmeter: 12.5

Average Green Size: 5,238 sq. ft.
Acres of Fairway: 20.7
Acres of Rough: 65
Number of Sand Bunkers: 91
Number of Water Hazards: 2
Number of Holes Water is in Play: 8

Greens: Bentgrass / Poa annua .095”
Collars: Bentgrass / Poa annua .400”
Approaches: Bentgrass / Poa annua .400”
Tees: Bentgrass / Poa annua .400”
Fairways: Bentgrass / Poa annua .400”
Rough: Kentucky bluegrass 4” plus

Links to DFS Army Tools

2020 BMW Championship

The 2020 BMW Championship was held here at Olympia Fields and brought together the top 70 players in the FedEx Cup standings. So, we were looking at a loaded field with all the big guns, similar to this week.

Course Conditions: Olympia Fields was playing tough, man. Really tough. The greens were super firm and fast, and the rough was thick. It was a U.S. Open-style test, and the players had to bring their A-game. The average score for this week was +1.82 and players hit only 48% of fairways in regulation. Marc Leishman shot +30 for the week!!!

Jon Rahm’s Performance: Rahm was just a beast that week. He opened with a 75, which sounds rough, but on that course, it wasn’t a disaster. He followed that up with a 71, 66, and 64. That final-round 64? Unreal, man.

The Duel with Dustin Johnson: Going into the final round, Dustin Johnson had a lead, but Rahm chased him down. The two ended up tied after 72 holes, setting up a playoff. Johnson had actually sunk a crazy long putt on the 18th to force the playoff. People were losing their minds!

The Playoff Hole: The playoff was where things got legendary. They replayed the 18th hole, a challenging par 4. Rahm’s tee shot went into the rough, but he managed to get on the green with his approach. Then he lined up a 66-foot putt for birdie. Man, I remember watching that, thinking there’s no way it goes in. But Rahm’s putt took this wild path, breaking left, then right, and then it dropped into the hole. It was one of the most memorable putts in recent PGA Tour history.

Impact of the Win: This win was Rahm’s second of the 2020 season and propelled him to No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings going into the Tour Championship. It was a statement victory, showing that he could win on the toughest of courses against the best in the world.

Final Thoughts: The 2020 BMW Championship at Olympia Fields was a classic, and Rahm’s win will be remembered for a long time. The course chewed up some of the best players in the world, but Rahm’s combination of power, precision, and putting touch got him the victory. And that playoff putt? Man, that’s the kind of moment that defines a career. What an event! If golf at Olympia Fields in the future is anything like that, we’re in for a treat, brother.


Major Championships:

Olympia Fields has hosted its share of major championships. It’s one of those courses that’s up to the task of challenging the best golfers in the world. Here’s a rundown of the major championships held at this iconic venue:

  1. 1928 U.S. Open: The first major championship hosted by Olympia Fields was the U.S. Open in 1928. Johnny Farrell won in a playoff against Bobby Jones, and it was a hard-fought battle. This event solidified Olympia Fields as a venue capable of hosting the world’s best.
  2. 1961 PGA Championship: Olympia Fields hosted the PGA Championship, and it was a young Jerry Barber who claimed the Wanamaker Trophy that year. He defeated Don January in a playoff, coming from behind in thrilling fashion.
  3. 2003 U.S. Open: In the modern era, Olympia Fields hosted the U.S. Open again in 2003. Jim Furyk won his first and only major championship there, and he did it in convincing fashion. The course was set up tough, but Furyk’s steady play and precise ball-striking were the keys to his victory. That win defined his career.
  4. 2015 U.S. Amateur: While not a professional major, the U.S. Amateur is one of the most prestigious amateur competitions in golf. In 2015, Bryson DeChambeau won at Olympia Fields, displaying the talent that would eventually make him a star on the PGA Tour.
  5. Other Notable Events: While not majors, Olympia Fields has also hosted the Women’s PGA Championship and various other professional and amateur tournaments, showcasing its ability to provide a stern test for all levels of competitive golf.

Olympia Fields, with its challenging layout and classic design by Willie Park Jr., continues to be a venue that can host the most significant events in golf. Its combination of history, challenge, and beauty makes it a favorite among both players and fans.

The majors held at Olympia Fields have produced memorable moments and legendary champions. It’s one of those courses that brings out the best in golfers and provides a true test of their skills. I mean, just looking at the names who have won there, and the battles they fought – it’s something special, brother!

Golfers who played well in 2020 event: 

Jon Rahm: 1st place -4 (playoff victory)

Hideki Matsuyama: T3 -2
Tony Finau: 5th -1
Matt Fitzpatrick: 6th E
Brendon Todd: 8th +1

Golfers coming in 🔥🔥🔥

Lucas Glover: 40 SGT 

JT Poston: 34.44 SGT
Rory McIlroy: 34.41 SGT
Byeong Hun An: 29.97 SGT
Tommy Fleetwood: 26.41 SGT

Winning Player Profile:

1. Accurate Drivers: First and foremost, accuracy off the tee is paramount at Olympia Fields. With narrow fairways, thick rough, and strategically placed bunkers, players who can find the fairways consistently will set themselves up for success. Length is helpful, but precision is key.

2. Strong Iron Players: The approach shots at Olympia Fields can be incredibly demanding. Tight pin placements, undulating greens, and guarded bunkers require players to be dialed in with their irons. Ball-strikers who excel in their mid and long iron game have a real edge here.

3. Solid Short Game Specialists: The greens are fast, and the rough around them can be brutal. Players who have a deft touch around the greens and can get up-and-down will save valuable strokes. Creative chipping and confident putting are must-haves.

4. Strategic Thinkers: Olympia Fields is not a course where you can just bomb away and hope for the best. It requires strategic thinking, planning shots, and knowing when to take risks or play conservatively. Golfers who have a strong course management strategy can thrive here.

5. Mental Toughness: With its U.S. Open-style setup, this course can grind players down. Bogies can come quickly, and a bad hole can derail a round. Golfers who stay mentally strong, keep their composure, and grind out pars will be in the mix.

6. Adaptable to Conditions: Depending on the weather, the course can play differently from day to day. Golfers who can adapt to changing wind conditions or a wet or dry course will have an advantage.

Examples: Players like Jon Rahm, who won here in 2020, or someone like Collin Morikawa, who’s known for his precision iron play, would fit the bill. Think about golfers who play a thinking man’s game, who can dissect a course and execute.

In summary, Olympia Fields is for the complete golfer. It’s for players who bring a combination of precision, strategy, mental toughness, and adaptability. If a golfer’s lacking in one of these areas, Olympia Fields will find it and expose it. It’s a classic test of golf and one of those courses that players and fans love because it truly identifies the best of the best. You’ve got to bring your A-game here, man! It’s as simple as that.



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With only 50 players in the field, and no cut the weather advantage typically won’t be very big with all players teeing off within an hour or two of each other. That being said, the wind at this point on Thursday morning looks to be pretty gusty and combined with the difficulty of the course we could see some big scores. We’re still aways out so that could change, be sure to check in in our VIP Discord for weather updates! Here’s the closest Windfinder station if you want to keep an eye on it yourself!

Final Thoughts:

Olympia Fields stands as a testament to the rich history and tradition of golf. Its century-old legacy is interwoven with the stories of legends and champions. From the Western Opens of the early 20th century to the memorable battles in recent PGA Tour events, the course has been a stage for some of the most thrilling moments in golf. It’s a course that resonates with both the past and the present, embodying the timeless essence of the game.

Willie Park Jr.’s masterful design has withstood the test of time, continuing to challenge the best players in the world. Olympia Fields’ narrow fairways, strategic bunkering, and complex greens demand a blend of precision, power, and intellect. It’s a thinking person’s course that requires more than just physical skill; it calls for strategic mastery and mental resilience. In an era where technology often dominates, Olympia Fields remains a true examination of all aspects of the game.

As we reflect on Olympia Fields, it’s clear that it’s more than just 18 holes of golf; it’s a living, breathing entity that represents the best of what golf can be. From its historic design to its championship pedigree, Olympia Fields captures the imagination and challenges the skill of all who play it. It’s a course that has seen legends rise and fall, witnessed epic duels, and continues to inspire the next generation of golfers.

Stay locked in to DFSArmy.com as we continue to break down the player field, key statistics, and all the elements that can lead you to DFS success. It’s shaping up to be another exciting week at the BMW Championship, and I’m thrilled to be guiding you through it. I will break it all down for our VIPs with my weekly PGA Cheatsheets! Until next time, DFS Army, keep driving for show and putting for dough!


Featured Image:

PGA Tour players Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler greet each other before teeing off on the first hole during the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn., on Friday, August 11, 2023.