The Open Championship kicks off Thursday at St. Andrews, and as has been our tradition this year, we present a hole-by-hole preview of the course.
Here is part one, featuring the front nine.
1. Burn, par-4, 376 yards – The fairway here is as wide (100 yards) as an American football field is long, so there’s not much of an excuse for a bad shot. The second shot is less inviting, with stones bordering the titular burn, making shots hitting in front of the green apt to go almost anywhere.
2. Dyke, par-4, 453 yards. R&A CEO Peter Dawson commissioned the addition of two new bunkers in front of the main drop zone this year, which pundits are thinking will actually help golfers as it gives them a more well-defined target area.
3. Cartgate-out, par-4, 397 yards. Another change here, an additional bunker sits almost 300 yards from the tee, meaning the game’s big drivers could be in trouble if they don’t hit it just right.
4. Ginger Beer, par-4, 480 yards. A nasty hump int he front of the course can obscure the pin, and the wide left bunker isn’t much to write home on either.
5. Hole O’Cross-out, par-5, 568 yards. There are only two par-5s nt eh course, and this is actually the easiest of all 18. There are seven bunkers spread throughout, but hitting takes away all your troubles.
6.Heatherly-out, par-4, 412 yards. The bunkers are obvious problems, but it’s the hidden dip straight across the front of the green that will trip the aggressive ones up. If you think you’re going to roll your ball up on the green, you’re in for a surprise here.
7. High-out, par-4, 371 yards. The lone dog leg on the Old Course, what a difference from here to Augusta! But the green has three bunkers around it to make it extra tough.
8. Short, par-3, 175 yards. True to its name, it’s the shortest hole on the course, but the green is out of sight by way of a ridge at parts.
9. End, par-4, 352 yards. The front nine winds up with a hole made for the big hitters, while the rest of the field hopes for a big wind from the west.