The world of golf will be focused on St. Andrews, Scotland this week as the 144th edition of the Open Championship, golf’s oldest major and third of the season, will crown a winner Sunday, July 19.
However, before any winner is crowned, he will have to navigate and survive the infamous 17th hole, fondly known as “the Road Hole” and called by some the hardest par-4 in all of golf.
Watch the fly-over here:
The Old Course Hotel is aimed at when teeing off at the Road Hole. The tee shot can be unnerving the first time, as you hit the ball over the edge of a building. Golfers must clear the building, otherwise, players find deep rough or the streets of St. Andrews.
Sir Nick Faldo has said the tee that was installed back in 2010 calls for shot to be more acute over the sheds. For Faldo, the ideal tee shot is a fade, whether it is the new tee or old. He said he looks off in the distance, picks a steeple from downtown and fades it off that. The shot for golfers here depends upon their preferred shot and the direction of the wind.
If the ball finds the fairway–which is tougher in today’s game since the hole has been lengthened–then it is pin location. The matter is whether or not the pin will be located behind the bunker on the green, or not.
A few options exist at that point.
The ball can be played to the front part of the green, just past the ridge. But the green does not have much depth and if the ball does not kick to the left, it could run onto the road. If it is too long, the ball nestles up against the wall, which is very much in play. This is where we’ve seen the ricochet shots.
Watch, as “Dave” hits the shot on the road hole:
Jordan Spieth was seen practicing on Wednesday hitting shots off the wall trying to bounce them back onto the green. Doubtful it was in preparation, he was probably only having some fun, although, you never know. Professional golfers are known for their extensive preparation.
Another option is playing intentionally to the left of the Road Bunker towards the tee at 18. To do that the ball must reach pin high for a good angle for a chip up onto the surface of the green.
The second shot is a difficult one, especially now since the Road Bunker was remodeled so it collects more approaches, but the idea is being close to the 18th tee.
The Road Hole has history. Simon Owen, an Aussie, was battling for the Open title in 1978 against Jack Nicklaus. On that day, the Road Hole beat Owen. Owen bogeyed No. 17 in that final round and Nicklaus recorded a par and went on to win the Claret Jug by just one stroke.
The Road Hole should provide golf fans with some more drama in 2015.