St Andrews course guide: Hole-by-hole lowdown for The Open plus Gary Player's key holes including 'absolute monster' | The Sun

St Andrews course guide: Hole-by-hole lowdown for The Open plus Gary Player's key holes including 'absolute monster' | The Sun


THE Open is back at St Andrews for a record 30th time on the famous Old Course.

It is one of the most evocative and familiar sights in golf – but could be a dream or nightmare for the competitors in this year's tournament.

Here, SunSport gives you our guide to the 18 holes standing between Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, defending champ Collin Morikawa & Co and the Claret Jug.

We also have Gary Player's four killer holes…

Hole 1 – Burn

Par 4 – 375 yards


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The fairway measures 129 yards wide, one of the widest anywhere in the world.

Hole 2 – Dyke

Par 4 – 425 yards

This hole is named after the stone wall — or dyke — that forms the boundary between the Old Course Hotel and the 17th fairway.

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Hole 3 – Cartgate (out)

Par 4 – 398 yards

Since 1984, this hole has seen just one eagle — by Robert Gamez in 1990.

Hole 4 – Ginger Beer – Gary Player's killer hole

Par 4 – 480 yards

This was the third hardest green to hit in regulation in 2015 (66.5%).

GARY PLAYER: It is a pity modern equipment allows most of the players to take their ball over the dunes down the left of the hole, because it was never designed to be played that way.

But it may not be quite so easy, because what wind there is in the forecast is expected to be in the players’ faces here on the opening holes.

You’re also faced with a longer second shot if you bail out left, and it brings the deep green-side bunker into play.

The aggressive line is to go down the right. You are aiming at a tiny strip of fairway but it offers a shorter and much simpler approach.

I’ve been told the hole gets its name because there was a stall here selling ginger beer around 200 years ago. I’d like to believe that is right!

Hole 5 – Hole O'Cross (out)

Par 5 – 570 yards

Woods birdied this hole in every round when he won in 2005.

Hole 6 – Heathery (out)

Par 4 – 414 yards

Hole six has seen a score of seven on five occasions. Jerry Kelly was the last in 2010.

Hole 7 – High (out)

Par 4 – 371 yards

The shell bunker is the second largest bunker on the course.

Hole 8 – Short

Par 3 – 187 yards

American Ben Crenshaw hit the last hole in one on eight in 1984.

Hole 9 – End

Par 4 – 352 yards

The last five Open champions were bogey-free on the ninth.

Hole 10 – Bobby Jones

Par 4 – 386 yards

The double green shared with the eighth measures more than 30,000 square feet.

Hole 11 – High (In) – Gary Player's killer hole

Par 3 – 174 yards

Two aces here since 1984 — Tim Simpson (1990) and Daniel Brooks (2015).

GARY PLAYER: This is an absolute monster of a hole if there is any sort of wind — and it is easy to see why the locals refer to it as “the shortest par five in golf!”.

It can be anything from a nine iron to a fairway wood, and the green is so narrow that only a really precise shot will stay on the putting surface, which slopes sharply to the front.

The bunkers in front of the hole are exactly what you want on a links course — steep, scary, and so punishing that you may have no option other than to play out backwards.

Going long is no picnic either, as that is one of the toughest up and downs in golf, especially to a back pin. How do you stop your ball from back there?

There are two holes called High, one on each nine, because they are on slightly elevated parts of the course. But you’ll also see a few lows here!

Hole 12 – Heathery (In)

Par 4 – 351 yards

Woods’ only three-putt in 2005 came at the 12th.

Hole 13 – Hole O'Cross (In)

Par 4 – 465 yards

This was the hardest fairway to hit in 2005 and 2010.

Hole 14 – Long

Par 5 – 614 yards

Jack Nicklaus made a TEN here in 1995 after going into the Hell bunker.

Hole 15 – Cartgate (In)

Par 4 – 455 yards

This was one of only three holes that 2015 champ Zach Johnson finished over par on for the week (also 17th and 11th).

Hole 16 – Corner of the Dyke – Gary Player's Killer hole

Par 4 – 418 yards

Jordan Spieth made a 50-foot birdie putt here in 2015.

GARY PLAYER: The out-of-bounds fence runs the full length of this hole, and is very much in play for both the tee shot and the approach to the green.

You have to be pretty courageous to hit driver, so most of the field will probably take an iron off the tee, and lay well back — unless you are chasing the lead and need to make birdies.

Conventional wisdom says you can avoid trouble at St Andrews by hitting to the left on almost every hole but that policy brings three nasty bunkers into play here.

They are known as the Principal’s Nose and if you end up in any of the three traps, playing out sideways is often the only way to stop the bleeding!

The green is very undulating, so it is hard to hit it close from a long way out.

So if you want to give yourself a good chance of making a three, you need to take on the OB.

17 – Road – Gary Player's Killer hole

Par 4 – 495 yards

Tommy Nakajima made a nine here in the third round back in 1978.

GARY PLAYER: This is probably the toughest par four I have ever played — and I am sure there are countless golfers who would nod their heads in agreement.

To hit the fairway you have to drive over the corner of the Old Course Hotel — picking a letter from the big sign that suits your shot shape to fly your ball over.

With out of bounds down the right many players will bail out left, leaving a longer second shot with the infamous Road Hole bunker staring you right in the face.

On the other side of the green is a gravel road and a brick wall and there is no free relief if you end up on, or close to, either of them.

So don’t go long with your second shot.

And once you find the green, there are more subtle slopes and borrows than on any other hole on the course.

No wonder 18 is a pretty easy hole — you deserve it after this!

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Hole 18 – Tom Morris

Par 4 – 356 yards

The Swilcan Bridge that crosses the fairway is thought to be 700 to 800 years old.

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