Challenging Courses
Challenging Courses - Detail

Read on for an overview of the hazards at this year’s major golf tournament venues.

Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA The golf course at Southern Hills is without a doubt challenging. From the back tees at Southern Hills, a player with a five index would have a course handicap of 13, according to golf statistics specialist Lou Stagner, and that’s without taking major championship conditions into account. The greens are tricky, and approach shots that miss the target are penalised as they settle in a variety of collection zones. Reports suggest that the majority of the fairways on the course are sloped, and level lays are uncommon. Moreover, the length of the course is 7,556 yards to be exact. All of these add up to a significant test. The bunkers surrounding the greens, though, may turn out to be the most challenging task players have recently encountered. The sand is a little darker than what elite players are used to. Instead of pearly white silt, these bunkers are dark in colour, which poses a distinct difficulty for golfers. As English professional golfer, Ian Poulter noted on social media, the “coarse fine gravel type sand” makes controlling spin while coming out of the bunker extremely tough.


Challenging Courses - Detail

Old Course, St Andrews in Scotland One of the most notorious golfing hazards in the world can be found on the long 14th hole of the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, the world’s oldest golf course where the first documented rounds of golf here date back to 1552! Dubbed “Hell”, this expansive bunker may be found lurking in a depression approximately 100 yards before the putting area. The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) once said of the course, “No other golf course has as many famous landmarks as (the Old Course) St. Andrews, its 112 bunkers and endless hills and hollows have been cursed for centuries, and many have their own names and legends.” Reports say that the bunkers at St Andrews are one of the course’s most important defences, but they also serve as landmarks to be noted and avoided for successful Old Course navigation. Apparently, Tiger Woods did not find a single bunker during the four days of competition in 2000 and went on to win by eight, with a record total of 19-under-par. It was a notable achievement, as avoiding the 112 sand hazards surrounding St. Andrews needs a combination of clear thinking, strategy, and accurate hitting. Throughout the years, the Old Course bunkers at St. Andrews have determined the outcome of numerous tournaments. Players have won Opens by dodging them as well as falling victim to their sandy grasp.


Challenging Courses - Detail

The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA The US Open this year was held at The Country Club in Brookline for the first time in 34 years. The course at this historic location presented several obstacles to all of the golfers participating in the tournament. The Country Club golf course has narrow landing spots and thick, lush rough surrounding the greens, according to a report, but there is one area that presents the greatest challenge. “It’s the small, tilty greens. I mean, they are tiny,” said well-known American golf architect, Gil Hanse during an interview with The Fried Egg podcast when he was asked what makes The Country Club challenging. The 122nd US Open, held in June and won by Matt Fitzpatrick, was unlike prior events held at The Country Club, as Gil spearheaded the restoration effort beginning in 2009, just as he did at Southern Hills. The Championship Course has had hundreds of trees chopped down, the greens have been enlarged, and the short, par-3 12th that is notoriously difficult has been added.


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