I heard a commentator mention that they have done very little to St Andrews as far as any course redesigns… apparently just a couple new tee boxes, but they are trying to keep the integrity of the course as it was… I applaud them for it.
The announcer then mentioned that most of the players are hitting 11 to 12 wedge approaches… I found that a bit startling, but maybe that is the case with the very low scoring going on.
A championship course should be 4 wedges on the 5 pars, then only 1 or 2 of the other 10 par fours… so maybe 6 or 7 at most.
These courses were designed properly so that of the 10 four pars, 3 would typically require long iron approaches, 4 mid iron, and 3 short iron to fully test a players abilities.
Hopefully we might see some high winds or other interesting weather to make it a bit more challenging for the players, and maybe more interesting for the spectators, rather than yet another wedge and putt contest.
For the Brits, is this 11 or 12 wedges an accurate figure? or might they be a bit off on that?
I’m glad you get to watch the Open. One of our (Oz) broadcasters bought the rights to the event just to stop another broadcaster getting it, and they aren’t showing it. I wouldn’t be rushing back home Two.
You probably already know this, but Veetle.com is good for watching golfchannel (and other) streams from basically everywhere around the world. (you do need to install the player)
The alternative is to watch on opengolf.com(if there are country restrictions you can always google for free proxy-software to make it seem like you are coming from another, allowed, country)
Lag, there were conservatively at least 9 holes yesterday that were a wedge or less: 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 14, 18. Could do with a bit of “weather” at some point during the 4 days just to change the test a little. As I type its started to pour down!
Many of the holes at the Old Course, absent a real breeze (25 mph is a breeze in Scotland) are simple to play (*** note below) - they’ve stretched it somehow to 7400 yards, but for those who haven’t played these courses yet, it is impossible to describe how far a nicely struck shot runs on the ground - in the clear, downwind, you will see a 3 wood tee shot carry, say, 255 and run another 80 - 100 yards, even more on some of the terrain. I paced off one of my drives, downwind and even uphill slightly, at Elie, south of St. Andrews in Fife, (a must-play (James Braid laid out the holes)), paced it off at 390 yards. My lifetime best struck driver probably carried in the air 245, prior to the frying pan age (and not too much farther since, I must admit.
But … **** it’s a wedge to much of the front nine (usually downwind) IF you avoid the pots and cavernous bunkers, like Strath and Cartgate, and of course, Hell bunker - some of the spots you can get into in these bunkers only permit a sideways or even backwards play, at least for me. i do recall watching Jack Nicklaus take 4 to even get out of Hell Bunker, and he was barely out, in the late 80s it was, I think. And at least 2 or 3 of the greens are more than 90 yards deep, so flipping a sloppy wedge into them is no guarantee of anything good.
But, even the strategic bunkers on the front nine, at 270-290 off the tee are being carried by the bombers, and that can ruin one’s appreciation of difficulties available to an odd bounce and certainly to a poorly struck shot on the Old Course.
Thanks for the insights… it certainly is a different style of golf than typically what we see.
I was a bit surprised to see play suspended due to high winds… I can think of a few events I played in where the wind… I am
sure… was every bit as strong or stronger, and we had to play through it…
I am sure Bradley was playing in the Australian Open in I think 87, when they actually had to cancel the round because it was literally blowing the golf balls off the greens. One of the guys I played with, who was a top player down there… shot 90. I shot 82 and was low in my group… I never had played in wind like that on greens so fast as this was at Royal Melbourne. I have a clipping I think from that one. Most of the field finished their rounds, but they called off the entire day when Greg Norman simply walked off the golf course without even talking to an official… he was leading the tournament, and ended up winning.
When Greg walks, people listen…
Anyway… it was nice to see the guys have to play a few different kinds of shots. Stricker shooting a near all time record last week, found golf to be a different game across the pond missing the cut, as a lot of the American’s seem to be struggling.
I haven’t played there, but it sure seems that having a lot of local knowledge and experience would be of great value.
I think you would really have to memorize the greens, and their undulations to play the correct shot into them. Just throwing the ball at the pin is not going to do you all that well most of the time. Good lag putting would be the key, and keeping the ball low.
Certainly seems more interesting than what the American version of golf has evolved into.
the wind is the reason that the greens are cut as high as they are, at Scottish links locations. If they cut and rolled the greens at the Old Course to even 8 or 8.5 on the stimpmeter, I think the place would be unplayable most of the time; not everyday, but most days. I think they are usually stimped at 6.5 thereabouts - but lots of contours, it is not boring working out how even the wind will carry your putts a few feet, across 30 feet of run(check out The Himalayas, at the commons in Saint Andrews, the fanatastic practice putting area)
I have yet to find a concise explanation for why they suspended Friday, with winds gusting to 40 MPH measured at the 8th hole loop area. 40 MPH is hardly unusual for Fife golf. Have to speculate that the R&A pressured the grounds committee to cut the greens closer than they should have, and some greens were becoming unplayable. Don’t know, though.
the few rounds I was lucky to play in Australia were in the Sandbelt area, SE of Melbourne, at Yarra Yarra and Metropolitan - they were links in that the soil and turf was “linksy”, but they were not seaside and as exposed as most UK links - both would have been playable in 40 MPH I think, maybe some Gum trees would start to tip over.
I had the chance to play there about a decade ago, and loved it.
I really liked that first par 5, #5 , that has a huge firm valley just in front of the green…the ball can catch one side of the slope just right and run up on the green , or hit into the upslope, and roll down to the bottom . If you are short of the valley in two, one option is to putt down and up onto the green.
To me things like that really add ingredients of skill, luck, and fun, that you hardly ever, if at all, see anywhere else.
@eagle, much of the fun is in having an unintelligible caddie too, who orders you around, giving you lines that you can’t believe are correct to get towards the targets, but they turn out just fine if you hit the shot he wants.
Ever see anyone stand on the first tee at the Old Course, take a practice swing, take a divot, and have the starter ask him to leave the golf course, and get his refund at the shack? I have!
Until you get to the loop it’s all common fairways too. The way they’re playing an Open is of course the traditional counter-clockwise routing - I’ve played Club events there where we route clockwise! First tee to Road Hole (17) green, then onto 18 tee to 16 green, etc. – gets confusing again at the Loop, but the members know what they’re doing as it is done at least 1 or 2 events per season. Tremendous fun, changes every angle - in fact most of the bunkers are “Designed” for the clockwise routing, and are very hard to avoid on that route.
How do you miss the first (common with 18) fairway? it’s got to be 135 yards of width! The play is way out towards the middle, for safety (OB right) - Baker-Finch one year hit such a violent hook that he flew the far left boundary (OB left!) and smashed a car window on the road, right of 18 as it’s played!
And in the counter-clockwise routing, playing the amazingly difficult par-3 11th, you are playing right across the 7th “fairway”, to the left side of that double green. The players on the 11th have the “right of way” I believe. Tremendous fun, I am makign the goal of getting back there with persimmon and blades, see if I can get it around from the members tees.
Very cool place…Golf IS the town and what it’s all about
Interesting fact about the double greens…all the holes that have double greens add up to a total of 18… 16 joins with 2…15 joins with 3…14 and 4 and so on…a good way not to get lost on the way around those bumpy links
Will send good wishes to Zane Scotland who will be playing the final round at 5:35 with Steve Striker (whom I was informed wrongly did not miss the cut). They are in 41st place going into Sunday’s round.
Zane, some of you may recognize from the private forum area, has spent some time working on ABS concepts. Hope the module #2 foot action helped out in the wind on Friday!