What are the best 18 holes you’ve ever played? If you could put together a composite round, of your most memorable moments, how would it look and which of your favourite courses would feature?
Serious questions and I jogged back through drawers full of scorecards and yardage books to find the holes that have resonated most from the rounds I’ve played and the places I’ve visited.
You’re going to notice some omissions – I’ve unbelievably yet to tee it up on any of the St Andrews courses – but perhaps you’ll find some inspiration in here that could send you on your way to a distant corner of the UK when lockdown is finally eased.
If you want to play along with your own 18, here are the rules:
- You must have played the hole
- It has to correspond with the number on your virtual card – so your 1st has to be an opening hole and so on
- You can only use a course once
- I took the white tees but play off whatever yardage suits best – just keep it uniform throughout
All clear? Right, this is my list…
1st: Prestwick, Par 4, 345 yards
Somehow we’d managed to get a dawn start on a Saturday at the birthplace of the Open – our incredulity at that met only by the disbelief of an employee who, when asked what we tees we should play off, barked ‘the members’.
He was even more dumbstruck when I pulled the driver out of the bag and, if I ever return, I will play this fabulous opener completely differently.
The railway line that hugs tight to the right all the way down makes even the steadiest of hands shake and it is an eclectic, and brilliant, start to what’s going to be an unconventional list.
- Related: My favourite Open venues
2nd: Montrose, Par 4, 391 yards
Play this while you can because climate change is driving a dagger right through the heart of the hole. The slightly raised tee, looking out across the sea and out of bounds, provides a memorable view and the drive is tighter than you think.
Overcook it, which I’ve done more than once, and some heavy gorse, or a couple of nasty bunkers in the firing line, will make par very difficult.
3rd: Royal Porthcawl, Par 4, 388 yards
You’ve got a view of the sea from every hole at Royal Porthcawl and it’s particularly close here. You might start to notice a theme as, again, we’ve got the beach running alongside the hole and out of bounds all the way along.
What I really like about this is the green, which is set so close to the fence that any misjudgement means disaster. That and the fact I hit a tricky chip over a bunker and pinged the flag for a par…
Has that whetted the appetite? Find out which holes follow on Steve’s list on the next page…
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?