Note: This is part two of a three part series. Old Course caddy and friend John Boyne (Boynie) walks us through every shot on every hole at St. Andrews. What a treat! ~Tony Korologos
7th, High (Out), 371 yards, Par4
One of The Old Course’s quirky holes the 7th fairway criss-crosses with the tee shot for the par 3 11th with which it shares the green. Generally a lot of confusion abounds here with players waiting for others to putt out on the par 3 before they hit their approach shot to the same green. This can be the beginning of the reason why the round, of just 18 holes, will take close to six hours! Unbelievable.
I always like my golfers to take the line on the bunker called ‘Hill’ on the left of the 11th green, this will keep them away from an annoying small depression in the centre of the fairway that tends to gather golf balls like a magnet and which will, inevitably, get heavily divoted. If you find a patch of grass in here rather than a sand/seed divot you have been very fortunate. A club to carry the hill at 247 yards from the tee onto the fairway will leave an 80 yard chip to the ridge of the raised green which slopes delightfully to the right.
There is a teardrop shaped area of the green on the right that is rarely used during the year but which was brought into play in 2005 on the first day. It is awkward to get a yardage correct when it is ‘suddenly’ used and a lot of players and caddies have been found out here. Expect to see a lot of pacing to this ‘front edge’ if the flag is placed there.
*The beautiful architectural bunker in front of the green, Cockle Shell, was the first bunker Tiger Woods went into after 78 holes of golf around the Old Course. No bunkers encountered in 2000 then this baby popped up in 2005 after his 3 wood from the tee shot off the down slope on the fairway. He ended up in the middle of it, wedged out to 6 or 7 feet and walked of with a birdie.
8th, Short, 175 yards, Par3
This should be a straightforward par3…it is. Miss the bunker at the front of the green and you have two putts for a par. What is so difficult about that?
I suspect that three pin positions will be directly behind the bunker – 8, 15 and 18 yards on from the front of the green. The fourth pin (not always the last day) is generally up towards the rear and raised part of the green at 45 yards on. The green depth is 50 yards and a steep down slope leads to a small pot bunker for those that chase this pin and go long.
When the flag is placed behind the front bunker I prefer my golfers to land on the right side of it leaving a simple putt. Any golf balls landing to the left of this pin position have some subtle borrows to contend with.
9th, End, 352 yards, Par4
This is one of the holes that is played from our medal tee and can be described as a risk/reward hole as the drive can easily reach the green, presenting you with an eagle or at least a birdie opportunity.
The decision on the tee is whether to take the green on? There are two bunkers near enough plum centre of the fairway, the first of which sits at 263 yards. If you decide to play short then you hit 250 maximum (with roll on the hard fairway) and leave a delightful 80 yards front edge plus the flag position to the cup. Simple really and a dead cert birdie as these guys are meant to have a sublime short game from within a hundred yards! Take the driver and blast it and with the correct bounce, on what is a relatively flat fairway for a links hole, and you have an eagle putt!
It will be interesting to view which golfers have a game plan that they are going to stick to on this hole and those that have a plan but have a degree of flexibility dependent on the conditions prevailing.
10th, Bobby Jones, 386 yards, par4
A par 4 hole. Hit a three or five wood short of the bunker way right side of the fairway, a 275 yard run out, and they will have a 120 – 100 yards to the front edge of the green plus the pin yardage.
What can go wrong? Some golfers will attempt to drive this green, it is reachable but this is an Open Championship on the most famous links golf course in the World and drives go wrong. As I hope you noticed the hole is called ‘Bobby Jones’ after the legendary American amateur golfer. The hole was named such after Mr. Jones had died in 1971 and petition had come from the towns’ people of St. Andrews, who dearly loved him, to the local council to remember him by. I like to think the reason that the 10th on the Old Course was chosen was that this was the last complete hole he officially completed when he first played here in 1921. At the par three eleventh he stopped writing down his score after double bogey sixes on the 9th & 10th and then finding it difficult to extricate himself from Hill bunker on the left of the 11th green. For those curious he was out in 43 for the front nine.
11th, High (In), 174 yards, Par3
This is simply one of the great par threes in golf.
The view from the tee tends to get the golfers mind occupied by two bunkers that guard the entrance to the green rather than focusing on getting the ball into or close to the hole. ‘Hill’ bunker on the left is awfully deep and thin while ‘Strath’ bunker at the front is small and a wee bugger to get out of.
A small plateau on the rear of the green is used for one of the positions and there have been three historically used placed behind ‘Strath’ bunker. The green has a steep slope from front to back and a left to right movement. There are no easy pin positions on this green. I occasionally think of it as a three putt green after getting on in two shots…a regulation short par 5! Goodness it can be difficult when any kind of wind blows. It will be used as the template for the speed of the greens on the rest of the golf course.
12th, Heathery (In), 348 yards, Par4
A short par four, the green can be driven, what can go wrong?
I gave up trying to explain this golf hole to visitors a long time ago and have over the last few years just gave them their 150-160 yard club and asked them to hit slightly left centre of the fairway. From there we then hit the 160 yard club again. Take two putts, or one, and walk off happy after watching his golfing partners deal with in the centre of the fairway.
There are five ‘hidden’ bunkers in the middle of the fairway, four of them should not come into play for the professionals with a 256 yard carry required but the one 19 yards short of the green does catch quite a lot. The green has a wonderfully small plateau of 12 paces upon which to land your golf ball where the pin positions are. Tip Anderson said that his golfer, Arnold Palmer, was never to concerned about dropping off the back of the plateau as it was an easier putt to read than that up the steep slope at the front.
Well we have now played a third of the links and to tell you the truth it has been a pleasant preamble up to this point. The professional golfer is sitting in a good position at -5 under the par of the Old Course and he only has six more holes to go. What could possibly go awry from this point?