BRITISH OPEN ’21: A hole-by-hole look at Royal St. George’s
SANDWICH, England (AP) — A hole-by-hole look at Royal St. George’s, site of the 149th British Open to be played July 15-18:
No. 1, 445 yards, par 4: One of several holes on the course that has kept its original design from 1887. It starts with a drive over a deep swale known as “The Kitchen.” A trio of bunkers stretch across the front of the green. The green slopes from front to back. Jerry Kelly started the 2003 Open with an 11.
No. 2, 421 yards, par 4: The hole moves from right to left with two bunkers on the corner of the dog leg. The undulating green is a difficult target, falling away to grassy hollows on both sides.
No. 3, 239 yards, par 3: This long par 3 features a large, two-tiered green. It joins No. 6 at Royal Portrush as the only par 3s in the British Open rotation without a bunker. The hole has the only tree at Royal St. George’s, a stunted blackthorn right of the green.
No. 4, 491 yards, par 4: One of the top features on the course is the “Himalaya” bunker off the tee. Clearing the large dune leaves a flat area of the fairway. The green is at an angle and has out-of-bounds posts running close to the back edges. The average score on this hole in 1985 was 4.6.
No. 5, 422 yards, par 5: This offers the first good view of the sea and players have to decide which part of the split fairway they want to go. The bold play takes on a 300-yard carry over the bunkers, dunes and rough, leaving a wedge to an unprotected green. The conservative has a small area of flat fairway.
No. 6, 174 yards, par 3: Four bunkers surround a long, two-tiered green. The hole is called “Maiden” because of the towering dune left of the green, and it creates a natural amphitheater and wonderful viewing for the 32,000 fans. Tom Watson made an ace in the second round in 2011.
No. 7, 566 yards, par 5: This should be one of the better scoring chances. The crest of a hill hides the fairway from view off the tee, and the green is guarded by three bunkers with steep sides.
No. 8, 450 yards, par 4: This traditionally is the toughest hole on the course with the name “Hades.” It originally was a par 3 until being rebuilt ahead of the 1981 British Open. Tee shots should be left of two bunkers, and the approach is over a patch of rough to a contoured green between the dunes with two front bunkers.
No. 9, 412 yards, par 4: Tee shot must avoid the bunkers in the valley. Even with a deep green, should be nothing more than a wedge for the approach, allowing for another good birdie opportunity if players can avoid two deep bunkers to the left.
No. 10, 415 yards, par 4: This goes the opposite direction of the ninth and plays uphill to an elevated green. Anything short is likely to roll back, though it can be even more perilous to go over the back. Two bunkers are down on the left and another on the right.
No. 11, 238 yards, par 3: Five bunkers surround the green, with the three on the left getting most of the action because of the right-to-left slope.
No. 12, 379 yards, par 4: Five bunkers are in front of the green. This is the shortest par 4 on the course, and players are likely to hit iron off the tee and still have a wedge into the green.
No. 13, 456 yards, par 4: This starts the tough closing stretch, a long par 4 that runs to a green beside the old clubhouse at neighboring Prince’s Golf Club. The fairway is narrow with four bunkers, one of them created by a jettisoned bomb in World War II. The green features a 40-yard ridge running the length of the surface. Anything that goes too long risks being out-of-bounds.
No. 14, 547 yards, par 14: This should not be viewed as a place to easily pick up a birdie. This hole has registered three of the eighth highest scoring average for a par 5 in the British Open dating to 1982. Out-of-bounds is down the right and “Suez Canal” crosses the fairway at about 330 yards. This is where Dustin Johnson went OB with a 2-iron in the final round of 2011. The green falls to the right toward the out-of-bounds.
No. 15, 496 yards, par 4: Five bunkers pinch the landing area off the tee. Even more troublesome are three bunkers in front of the green. The putting surface falls away on both sides.
No. 16, 162 yards, par 3: Seven bunkers are scattered around the green, and one of them determined the outcome in 2003. This is where Thomas Bjorn took three shots to get out of a bunker, costing him the claret jug. The 16th is where Tony Jacklin had the first televised hole-in-one in 1967 at the Dunlop Masters.
No. 17, 426 yards, par 4: This gentle dogleg from right-to-left features a fairway of swales and humps. Distance control is crucial with the second shot. Shots that come up short will fall victim to a false front. Anyone over the back leaves a challenging up-and-down. Bunkers lurk to the left and right of the green.
No. 18, 450 yards, par 4: The fairway was moved to the right for 2011 to provide a better landing area, though it brought more bunkers into play off the tee. There are two cross bunkers, and the approach must be threaded between the bunker short and right of the green and “Duncan’s Hollow” to the left.