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Hole by Hole Guide to The Old Course

By: | Mon 11 Jul 2022 | Comments


THE Old Course at St Andrews is one of the most iconic venues in sport. Unusually, it features just two par threes and two par fives.

Seven of the greens are shared by two holes each, with hole numbers adding up to 18. Only the 1st, 9th, 17th and 18th holes have their own greens. 

Hole 1 - Burn - 376 yards, par 4

Tee shot played from in front of the R&A Clubhouse to a fairway that is 130 yards wide on a hole that has no bunkers. The Swilcan Burn runs across the front of the green which has a few undulations and if the flag is at the front, getting your second shot close can be difficult and risks spinning into the burn. 

Hole 2 - Dyke - 453 yards, par 4

A blind tee with the ideal line to the right but not too far or the gorse will come into play. To the left side of the fairway is Cheape’s Bunker which is to be avoided at all costs. The front of the green slopes downwards causing the approach shot to veer right. This is the first of the shared greens on the golf course.

Hole 3 - Cartgate (out) - 397 yards, par 4

This hole has an undulating fairway with numerous bunkers down the right side. The fairway is wide with room to the left. The hole is quite short but birdies are not easy to come by as pin positions are usually made difficult to get the ball close. 

Hole 4 - Ginger Beer - 480 yards, par 4

The focal point is the scrub in the middle of the fairway. Players must decide whether to go for a carry or go to either side of it. The wind is predominantly against. Shots from the left are made even tougher as the green slopes from left to right and the pin can be cut up against a deep bunker. 

Old Course St Andrews

Hole 5 - Hole O’Cross (out) - 568 yards, par 5

This long hole is heavily bunkered with 11 fairway bunkers, seven of them down the right hand. Short of the green are two further bunkers, The Spectacles. The green is massive - and acre and a half and just short of 100 yards deep. 

Hole 6 - Heathery (out) - 412 yards, par 4

This fairway is undulating which can cause drives to bounce in any direction. The fairway is bunkered on both sides with the infamous Coffin Bunkers on the left. The green is reached over a five-foot high incline.

Hole 7 - High (out) - 371 yards, par 4

An undulating fairway with a long carry to clear the gorse up the right. The green is guarded by a rampart and has a slope at the front which makes the ball kick right. 

Hole 8 - Short (out) - 175 yards, par 3

The Old Course only has two par threes and this is the first of them. The green, which is one of the flatter surfaces, cannot be seen due to the front guarding bunker. The tee is quite sheltered so it is difficult to judge the wind. 

Hole 9 - End (out) - 352 yards, par 4

A reachable par four if players avoid Boase’s and End Hole bunkers in the centre of the fairway. The green is flat and circular. The easiest hole on the course. 

Hole 10 - Bobby Jones - 386 yards, par 4

This is the turning point in the loop, running in the opposite direction to the ninth. The hole is driveable but the green has lots of bumps and hollows. It is 50 yards deep and is one of the shared greens on the course. This hole shares the green with the eighth. 

Hole 11 - High (in) - 174 yards, par 3

This is the shortest hole on the golf course, elevated and guarded by Strath Bunker which is the deepest bunker on the course. Holding the green can be very difficult as it slopes from back to front and anything short will feed into the Strath Bunker. 

Hole 12 - Heathery (in) - 348 yards, par 4

Another hole where big hitters can have a go for the green. However anything short may be caught by the pot bunkers which litter the fairway. The green is like an upturned saucer.

Hole 13 - Hole O.Cross (in) - 465 yards, par 4

Players must avoid the Coffin Bunkers down the left hand side. There is also out of bounds on the right. The sixth fairway is the place to go. The huge double green is shared with the fifth.

Hole 14 - Long - 618 yards, par 5

The longest hole in Open Championship history. The hole has out of bounds all the way down the right and the Beardies Bunkers down the left. Your second shot needs to clear the infamous Hell Bunker. The from of the green has an upslope, similar to others on the course, making pitching difficult. 

Hole 15 - Cartgate (in) - 455 yards, par 4

A straightforward hole where the second shot is played to a double green. The fairway is quite narrow with undulations on both sides. The green is shared with the third and slopes away from the approach shot. 

Hole 16 - Corner of the Dyke - 424 yards, par 4

The Principals Nose Bunkers are in the middle of this fairway with out of bounds all the way down the right hand side. Another green with a rampart or bank at the front but this has also got a ridge at the back. A very tricky green to negotiate. The green is tucked into the corner of the dyke.

Hole 17 - Road Hole - 495 yards, par 4

One of the most famous difficult holes in golf, a drive over the old train sheds (now part of the Old Course Hotel) to a fairway which cannot be seen and dog-legs sharp to the right. Opting out of driving over the hotel and going to the left can land you in thick rough making it impossible to reach the green in two. The green is only around 13 yards wide with the Road Hole Bunker at the front making it extremely difficult to hit. Go too far and you will end up on the road.

Old Course Hole by Hole

Hole 18 - Tom Morris - 357 yards, par 4

Out of bounds down the right hand side of the 130-yard wide fairway. The line for the tee shot is the clock on the R&A Clubhouse which takes you slightly to the left. The fairway is relatively flat until you come to the Valley of Sin which sits in front of the green. Expect to see several players driving this green.


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