When you’ve finished losing your dollars at the roulette table take a trip away from the strip and stroll the Championship fairways of Royal Links.
Each of the 18 holes are inspired by courses that have held the Open Championship so you can discuss classic battles for the Claret Jug while battling to beat your playing partner.
We start at Royal Lytham’s 10th hole, find the fairway with your drive and you just have to negotiate the deep bunkers up by the raised green to give yourself an opening birdie. Royal Troon’s 7th is the inspiration for the second hole, played from an elevated tee overlooking a fairway that dog-legs sharply to the right. A slightly hooked drive will be penalised by bunkers on the left while a slight gully will gather anything that falls short of the well trapped green.
The third is a copy of the short second at Prestwick, a slightly elevated tee makes the hole play a little shorter but beware of the deep around the green. It sounds obvious but the middle of the green should be your target. The fourth is based on the monster par 5 eighth hole at Hoylake whatever you do, stay away from the bunker which protects the front right hand side of the green, it’s a deep one!
It’s off to the Old Course at St Andrews next, the twelfth to be precise, a tricky par 4 with a clutch of fairway bunkers to avoid from the tee leaving an approach to a two tier green. The seventh is based on the thirteenth at Royal St George’s, avoid the three fairway bunkers a little way back from the green at all costs.
The eighth is inspired by the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon, not a long par 3 but avoid the bunkers otherwise par may be tricky. The fifth hole at Muirfield is the final hole on the front nine, a long par 5 which turns gently right and has a lot of bunkers surrounding the green.
The famous “Road Hole” of St. Andrews serves as the inspiration for the opening hole on the back nine, clear the wall with your tee shot and avoid the threatening bunker front left of the green but don’t overshoot as the wall cuts across quite close behind. It’s off to Royal Cinque Ports for the eleventh hole, inspired by the severe dogleg fifth on the seaside course, no bunkers to worry about but the green is quite a small target.
The twelfth is the longest par 4 at Royal Links, based on the sixth at Royal Birkdale. A huge bunker at the corner of the dogleg dominates this hole, do you drive over it, play down the left to avoid it or lay up before it leaving an approach shot of over 200 yards. The fifteenth at Prestwick is the inspiration for the next hole, quite a short par 4, stay out of the deep bunkers and you will have a good chance of a birdie.
Hole fourteen has the characteristics of the fifteenth on the Ailsa course at Turnberry, avoid the steep slopes short right and the pot bunkers on the left and you have a chance of making par. We continue with the Turnberry theme as the fifteenth is similar to the fifth at the Ayrshire championship course. No bunkers to worry about on this monster par 5 until you get within 80 yards of the green.
The sixteenth is modelled on hole fifteen at Carnoustie if your drive strays right you are in trouble, even if you hit a cracking drive it will take another solid shot to reach the green. The penultimate hole is inspired by the same hole at Royal Troon, demanding both length and accuracy you will be glad to make par here. The closing hole at Royal Links is based on hole fourteen at St Andrews Old Course, a short par 5 with a choice of fairway to take but fraught with danger.