St Andrews /Open

Greens were apparently stimping around 9.5, but still balls were moving after being replaced on the green. The 7th/11th green was the problem one.


Heard one of the commentators say yesterday that Nicklaus never hit enough club on his second shot at 17 to reach the bunker or the road. On purpose.

Imagine, of all people, Nicklaus was probably in the BEST shape off the tee on 17, and as Trevino said, Jack could hit a 1 iron so high and land it like a butterfly with sore feet…but arguably the best tactitian in the game figured it wasn’t worth the risk of the penalty that the bunker and the road could impose.

Pelz, in one of his books, relates that he spent a day one year at 17, observing and logging(NASA scientist in him) the results of players who chose to run it up to the front vs trying to carry a shot to the flag. He found that on that day, the results favored playing the safe run up, with the goal being to run up to the front. Misses still left a reasonable chance for par, with bogey likely the worst.

I’ve also seen members, playing the Road Hole at around 435 - 450 yards, not the 500 or so they are set up for now, play a solid tee shot and then well to the left and long of the Road bunker, short of the burn and the famous bridge, and then pitch back to the hole. Saw a few 4s made that way. I don’t think Nicklaus was a very confident bunker player - certainly don’t recall him being in too many of them! I also don’t recall him hitting very many great pitches or bunker shots, whereas Trevino became famous at Troon for inventive short shots, saving strokes everywhere, holing out one week from the most unlikely places to win the tournament - never remember Nicklaus doing things like that.

That’s neat about the rerouting …playing backwards. We used to do some of that when I was a kid, that and criss-cross holes. Seems we should schedule a weekend a year to do that now. It’d be harder to do on my present course, but it’d be fun. Like the old "invert " principle. …

[b]Charles Munger, in 'Poor Charlie’s Almanack’, highlights the point:

The great algebraist, Jacobi… was known for his constant repetition of one phrase: ‘Invert, always invert.’ It is in the nature of things, as Jacobi knew, that many hard problems are best solved only when they are addressed backward.
Likewise, some advocate walking the course backwards, to help plan strategy. Playing it backwards might be even better.

I didn’t watch much of it, but what I did see felt like what I imagine watching an execution would feel like. Gone are the days when the little trick bunkers that make that course magical are of any consequence. It was a sad uneventful march to the finish line by the person who drove it past the trouble and holed putts. Maybe this is progress, but it doesn’t feel like it for some reason.

@Bom - yes, I lost faith with the R&A when Tiger played all 4 days some years back, winning of course, at the Old Course, without once being in a bunker. Sutherland, Coffin, Cartgate, the Beardies, Principal’s Nose, Road - all avoided for 72 holes - the bunkers ARE the Old Course, and to avoid them, one used to have to play short and have 15 footers for pars all day. No more.

I enjoyed watching Jin Jeong’s putting display the most… And I don’t like watching putting all that much really :confused:


A couple of things I saw and wondered about:

1 How poorly the American golfers performed.
2 How far Oosthuizen hit it for his size.

I didn’t recall all those condos or apartments right on 17… are those new? They seemed like more modern architecture. Or is it that they were there before but they just moved the tees so far back you now see them?

Seems it is playing like a completely different hole?

The Old Course Hotel and the old (ancient) railroad “Sheds” are to the golf-course side and a little short of the hotel, both hard along the right side of 17 - it’s a sharp dogleg to the right and the hotel is in the first third of the hole - but it’s not played as a dogleg, as the tee shot is directly over the 18-foot tall Sheds (I was always told to play over the “H” in the Hotel signage - longer players played over the “o” or the “t” - essentially, the shot is over the OB right and you have to carry it - the Hotel itself was updated, maybe 10-12 years ago, so that might give it the look of condos, but it is the only thing there along the hole itself.

The Road Bunker was made wider, catching more shots, but also made less severe, compared to the 80s and before - Nakajima, after getting out on his 5th attempt was asked if he had lost his concentration - his answer? “No, I lost count.”

A fable, perhaps true (I never did get around to fact-checking it), has it that a Scottish magistrate in the 1800s found a man not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon (a niblick (9-ish iron)) by reason of extenuation - the man who suffered the assault was deemed to have brought it on himself, by standing over his opponent in a deep bunker, at Prestwick GC, counting aloud his opponent’s strokes taken, trying to escape.

Most Scottish club golf is match-play - as awful as some of the hazards are, the option to concede is always available - it’s comical when both players in a match are in great trouble - score need not be kept - one is only required to remember and state if he is playing “the like” or “the odd” - or “two to the like”, if, for example, your opponent lies 5 and you lie 3, you have 2 to become “like”. Once you lie 5, if you’re still away (!!), then you are playing the odd. If you actually need to play again, then you’re playng the “second odd” - You get used to it. Gets to be real fun when playing alternate shot (a “foursome”, 2 balls in play, called a Scottish Foursome in most parts of the US) - if you want to have a great game of golf in less than 3 hours, (sometimes a lot less!), then play a Foursome. Alternate the player at each tee. Great stuff.

probably belongs in the Golf Architecture thread, but Prestwick was on my mind - you don’t see bunkers like these much in the USA! Plank retaining walls, copied by Pete Dye, but with none of the effect found in Sahara or Cardinal - Prestwick is the quirkiest most enjoyable golf course I was ever privileged to have set foot upon.



That’s too funny not to be true :slight_smile:

yes, as we used to say in the newspaper business - “that story is too good to check”

Road Hole - here is a pretty good view from the member’s tee area - the pros probably played from 60 yard further back, nearly 500 yards, measured down the centerline I presume, so it plays 80 yards shorter than that if a good line is achieved on a good tee shot


then from the fairway, maybe 170 (for the bombers) to a center pin - the play is just to stay away from that bunker, short and right, then chip and putt


the bunker is not more difficult than many others on the same golf course - if it was on the 4th hole it would be of little fame, I think - that championships were lost there (1984, where Ballesteros, in the next to last group, made his only par of four rounds on Sunday, hitting the green from the left rough, over 190 yards - a magnificent approach shot - Watson, in the last group, at 200 yards, in the fairway ,kept pulling 3 iron then 2 iron, very oddly for him, then chose 2 iron from 200 yards - one of the worst strikes he ever made, a near-shank that skidded right of the green up against the wall on the far side of the road - avoid that bunker!) in dealing with it - and always knowing that there is only one hole left to recover the shot or two dropped here - - is what makes (well, made …) it so consequential.


it is a nasty bunker!


Great pics ! Nice to have a reporter on the scene at the home of golf. Also, I like the pics and comments about Prestwick…“quirky”…

that shot of the Road Hole bunker from the fairway…you get a sense that there is a negative energy in it, sucking balls towards it!

The course I learned on was a goat track, but had a quirkiness that I grew to love. I’m sure it was a combination of a lot of ingredients…the course , the experiences,etc…but I have great memories of it nonetheless.