The 250 Word Project: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Old Course

I thought I would take one of my more recent posts and squeeze it down to appetizer size.  I have decided that 250 words just aren’t enough for anything other than a simple list.  A few months back I was trying to squeeze into 500 words and I’ve decided to ease off the 250 word limit.

The original clocked in at 2,008 words.  The following is a neat and tidy 501 words.  Any feedback on the quality of this post vs. the original would be greatly appreciated.

Every golfer is familiar with  The Old Course in St. Andrews.  I thought I would share a few things that fascinated me after attending the 2010 Open.

The Layout

What struck me was how straight ‘out’ and then ‘in’ the course layout is.  Most of the course fits inside of 150- 300 yards of space in terms of width. I always seem to forget that there are only two par 3’s and two par 5’s on the course.

The Origin of Bunkers

The course is famous for its strong winds, which were a prominent feature of Friday’s play at this year’s Open.  In its early days, the course also doubled as a place for grazing sheep.  As it turns out, sheep aren’t big fans of big winds and would join forces to burrow into the ground and create holes to hide in when it was really windy out. 

The Location of The Old Course

Surprise, surprise, The Old Course isn’t up against the sea!  Hole 12 and hole 13 tee are quite close to the water, but holes 8 and 12 on the course layout map above are a good 200-400 yards from the water.  Beyond those holes are some of the holes from The New Course.

The Road Hole

The road hole is the most famous golf hole in the game.   The television coverage does not do justice to just how silly and hard the road hole actually is. 

You will see in the above picture the player’s view from the tee on 17.  There is absolutely no view of the fairway or the green.  The name of the game is to aim at the ‘o’ in hotel.

You’ll notice that the fairway runs at a diagonal to the tee.  Any tee shot not hit perfectly and on line will end up in the rough. 

To make matters worse, the green runs at a diagonal the opposite direction of the fairway, protected by a deep pot bunker just right of the green.  Immediately to the right of the green is a three of four foot drop onto the road.  The only place you can hit the ball is the little bulb at the front of the green, but even that is elevated from the fairway. 

The Wind

The wind is what makes links golf such a challenge and makes St. Andrews a course to be feared.

On Thursday morning, the players were met with a bit of drizzle and not a breath of wind.   John Daly was eight under after 11 holes on his way to shooting 66 which was a slightly better than average round in the morning.  Rory McIlroy cruised around the course in a nine under 63. 

These same players played on Friday afternoon when the winds roared.   Rory’s 63 was followed by an 80 on Friday.  Below are the individual hole averages on Thursday and Friday.  Overall, the average score went up about three and a half shots.

My advice to Tiger Woods video game players is play The Old Course and set the wind to ‘insane’.  Your perception of the course will change big time.


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