After playing Northwick Park, where each hole is based on key holes from Major Championship venues, I started to think what my Fantasy 18 Holes of golf would be? Some of the holes I have played, some I have only visited, others I have only read about but would love to play. The only stipulation is that the holes must fill the actual position they do on the courses.
In my view this is among the best starting holes in golf, the view of the beach and massive dunes from the tee is breathtaking. Pitching your drive onto the downhill fairway you then need to avoid a small pot bunker with your second, leaving an approach to a green protected on three sides by an enormous dune.
Hitting the perfect tee-shot is important for giving a clear view to the green on this hole. The first pro at Walton Heath, five-time Open Champion James Braid, was said to be so accurate on this hole that a shelf located 250 yards off the tee is named the “James Braid Shelf”. The approach shot leaves little room for error with heather right and left and an elevated green which is exposed to the elements.
This hole requires a drive down the left side of the fairway to try and reach the green in two, if not you will have to lay up short of the lake leaving an approach shot that requires the correct club selection, anything near the front of the green will come back off it.
This hole gives you the first glimpses of the ocean in the background although take care with your tee shot since pot bunkers await any stray drives to the left-hand side right of the fairway. A raised green runs deep into the Dunes inviting you to pitch on softly and run up to the main part of the hole.
This is a tough par 4, the downhill tee shot is played to a fairway that sits at a slight left-to-right diagonal. Large overhanging oaks will block your approach to the green if you stray too far left so you need to hug the right-side cross bunker with your drive. The approach is to a relatively small green that slopes from back to front.
Officially renamed in 2003 as Hogan’s Alley to commemorate Ben Hogan’s Open Championship win in 1953, this hole is where Carnoustie starts to turn up the heat. Bunkers and out of bounds await the miss-cued drive and it requires a brave player to drive to that narrow piece of fairway. Care must also be taken with your second shot as once again Jockey’s burn bites deeply into the right side of the fairway.
Playing from an elevated tee, you have to hit straight out towards the Pacific into the ocean winds coming straight back at you. Miss the green and you are either in one of the pit-like bunkers or on the rocks amongst the crashing waves.
The hole, originally called “Ailsa” because of the perfect view of the rocky islet of that name from the tee, was changed when Willie Park said of the tiny green, “A pitching surface skimmed down to the size of a Postage Stamp“. There is no safe way to play this hole, the ball must find the green, two bunkers protect the left side of the green while a large crater bunker shields the approach, any mistake on the right will find one of the two deep bunkers with near vertical faces.
This long par 4 is perhaps one of the most photographed holes in world golf. A blind tee shot is played down the left to a sweeping fairway some eighty feet below to set up the best approach to the green. Too far left and you will find a dense gorse covered dune, more room is available on the right for the shorter hitter, although not providing the best approach.
Dinna Fouter ‘Don’t Mess About’ is a fantastic hole that rewards a brave tee shot down the left to shorten the hole, stray too far left however and the Firth of Clyde awaits. More trouble can be found in the middle of the fairway in the shape of two pot bunkers, while the famous island bunker protects the approach to the green.
Perched high on the cliffs and flanked by an impressive half-moon bay it’s no wonder Tom Watson once described this as one of the toughest holes in golf. Anything going right will disappear into the crashing waves of the Atlantic while anything left will find a terrain of brown and purple dunes.
This long par 5 hugs the coast line with its dogleg right to left shape, tempting many shortcut shots, although the ever changing wind makes it very risky to put your ball out over the sea. Set up an approach from the right to provide a good angle for the third shot down to the middle of the long narrow green, taking the large greenside bunker out of play.
Regularly playing into the wind this hole often plays longer than its yardage suggests. Aim right with your tee shot as there is much more room than is visible from the tee. The very deep and slightly elevated green is mostly hidden for your approach so it will be difficult to tell where the hole is located.
Named ‘Foxy’ this is the only hole on the course without a bunker. The left side of the fairway is full of mounds, while the right side has many grassy peninsulas protruding out towards the fairway and defending the right of the elevated green, which has a steep rise of about 5ft at the front with a 10ft drop left and right.
Make sure you stay on the fairway with your drive as there is a 140-metre cliff on the left and a 20-metre drop on the right. The key to this hole is to keep it simple, three or four straight shots and you are safely on the green.
The bunker with the green monkey inside it makes this one of the most unique and grandest holes in golf. The long right to left green is nestled into a large quarry lake at the foot of a colossal quarry wall.
What can be said about this hole? Get it on the land, accomplish that and you may just manage to two putt, assuming you get it on the right level.
This is a tough uphill finishing hole with bunkers in the fairway waiting to swallow an errant tee-shot. You are left with a short iron approach towards a green that is back dropped with the clubhouse and a stunning old oak tree, mishit your approach and a less than welcoming bunker awaits.
So what holes would make up your round from heaven?