This club is famous for... one of the world's hardest holesMarch 7, 2017
There are plenty of challenging holes in the UK - and then there is the par 3 ninth at Brancepeth Castle...
The 12th at Augusta National, the eighth at Oakmont, the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon: All of which would feature on any list of formidable par 3s.
But there’s one short hole that might have passed you by.
It’s more than a match for any of its illustrious contemporaries – and it’s found in County Durham.
Not much fazes me on a golf course, but the ninth at Brancepeth Castle sends a chill through my heart. The hole is brilliant, and pure evil.
At 207 yards off the blue tees, it’s the signature at the Harry Colt-designed track.
The ninth occupies part of the Castle gardens and you can still see the gateway to the grounds among the shrubbery.
It really is a perilous shot, forcing players to hit across a ravine to a green that’s angled, narrow, and cut out of the bankside.
Dodge the cedar tree in front of the tee, said to have been planted to commemorate a visit by Queen Mary to the castle, and cross the bridge. Pray you have cleared that ravine.
Let’s say you’re lucky and your ball finds the putting surface. Your worries are not yet over.
Fail to hit the correct spot and a tricky downhill putt – one that gets very fast in the summer – is what you’ll have to negotiate.
Once judged the hardest ninth hole in the world, Peter Alliss said if he had to choose his best 18, Brancepeth Castle’s contribution would certainly be among them.
The 10th isn’t a whole lot easier, with a shot back over the beck.
If you’ve got through the final hole of the front nine unscathed, you can start to think about putting together a good score.