If you’re prone to first tee nerves, you might need something stronger than a shot of water before you take on the opener at Machrihanish.

For the Scottish course, which was founded 140 years ago, plays host to one of golf’s most challenging starting shots – a straight drive over the Atlantic Ocean.

Make sure you go through a full practice routine before you get your round under way on the Argyll & Bute layout. You do not want to duff it here.

Known as ‘The Battery’, that’s how you’ll feel if your medal dreams are ended by a lack of courage and a failure to find the fairway.

The hole is a dogleg that moves to the left and the fairway hugs the beach along the length of the first hole.

An inspiring challenge

The first shot is really an illusion. It’s a sensible carry of about 150 yards (although you can try to be bolder and take off a bit more if you are feeling confident).

On any other course, you’d simply take out your driver and crash it down the middle.

But it is the sight of the waves rolling in against the beach, and the fact that you haven’t hit a single shot in anger yet, that makes it such a formidable and inspiring challenge.

It’s no wonder Machrihanish’s opening gambit has been recognised as one of the best opening holes in world golf.

Best sellers

Machrihanish isn’t only famous for its golf, although Machrihanish Dunes right next door makes a compelling case that it should be.

The village is found in the Kintyre Peninsula and the southernmost tip, the Mull, was immortalised in a Paul McCartney song. For many years, it was the biggest selling British single of all time.

What’s your favourite opening tee shot? Let us know in the comment section below…

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