Is this the hardest hole in Golf?

The Road Hole can make or break your round – and win or lose you The Open.

“It’s a dog of a hole, no matter what the wind is doing,” says Bruce Sorley. “There are just so many dangers, so many things that can cause you to rack up a big number. It’s the hardest hole in the world.” Here, we look at what makes the 495-yard 17th at St Andrews so challenging…

Very narrow green
The green is only 13 yards wide, which is a small target when you’re coming in from distance. Finding the fairway so you can control the spin is critical.

The Road Hole bunker
Tommy Nakajima took nine after getting stuck in here in 1984, while David Duval took an eight in 2000. Learn how to escape it on page 20. 

The boundary wall
Go long – so easy on this hole – and you could be faced with the same shot Miguel Angel Jimenez had in 2010. With his ball up against the wall and no backswing, he hit it off the stonework… and onto the green. 

The length
At 495 yards, depending on the wind it can play like a par 5. Even for the likes of Rory and Bubba it’s likely to be a driver and a 4 or 5-iron. 

The tight fairway
You’ve got out of bounds all down the right, in the hotel’s front garden, and they let the rough on the left grow really long, so you’ve only got a 25-yard wide landing area in the driving zone.

The tee shot
It’s a blind tee shot, playing over the corner of the Old Course Hotel. There’s a reason they have extra-resistant glass in the hotel windows!



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