Skip to main content
×

An in-depth, hole-by-hole look at St. Andrews' Old Course

Getty Images

A hole-by-hole look at the Old Course at St. Andrews, site of the 150th British Open to be played July 14-17, with scouting reports, fun facts and memorable moments:

st andrews 1
Getty Images

No. 1 – Par 4, 375 yards

Nickname: Burn

2015 scoring average: 3.84 (13)

Scouting report: A short opening hole with no bunkers in the generous fairway, the only issue being the Swilcan Burn that runs down the right side of the fairway and across the face of the green. As with everything at St. Andrews, the wind dictates the ease of this hole. It can be a long iron off the tee and a lob wedge, or a driver and mid-iron. Players should avoid going after a hole location toward the front of the green.

Fun fact: Grannie Clark’s Wynd is a paved one-lane road that cuts across the 1st and 18th fairways. The road was once used to haul boats between the town of St. Andrews and the North Sea but is closed during tournament play.

Memorable moment: As Nick Faldo prepared to play his approach into the green here during the third round in 1995, a woman ran in from the gallery and gave him a rose, a hug, and a kiss. Mimsi Xinopoulos, who like Faldo hailed from Surrey, England, was a 20-year-old student at the University of St. Andrews studying marine biology. Faldo was tied for 13th at the time and shot a third-round 76.


Getty Images

No. 2 – Par 4, 452 yards

Nickname: Dyke

2015 scoring average: 4.04 (8)

Scouting report: The ideal tee shot is a drive between Cheape’s bunker on the left at just over 300 yards from the tee and the edge of the rough on the right, which features thick gorse. Championship pin positions are often found on the high left side of the green beyond a sharp ridge that can throw the ball left into a deep bunker or right toward the lower level of the green.

Fun fact: The dyke is the old wall that forms the boundary between the Old Course Hotel and the 17th fairway.

Memorable moment: In 2000, Tiger Woods made his only bogey of the week on the outward half, and first bogey of the championship, on this hole during the third round. .Woods played the front nine at 8 under par for the week on his way to an eight-shot victory and 19-under-par total score.


Getty Images

No. 3 – Par 4, 398 yards

Nickname: Cartgate Out

2015 scoring average: 3.86 (11)

Scouting report: Another good birdie opportunity in favorable conditions. The drive should be to the right side of the fairway, which is lined with pot bunkers and small gorse bushes. That leaves the best angle to avoid Cartgate Bunker, which is shaped like a crescent and cuts deeply into the left side of the green. A small, subtle ridge in front of the green can produce strange kicks.

Fun fact: Cartgate gets its name from the track which used to cross the third fairway that led to the sea.

Memorable moment: There has been one eagle on this hole in The Open since 1984, by Robert Gamez in the first round in 1990.


Getty Images

No. 4 – Par 4, 480 yards

Nickname: Ginger Beer

2015 scoring average: 4.15 (4)

Scouting report: The options off the tee are to go straight at the flag down a narrow strip of fairway hemmed by dunes and gorse or to take the drive over mounds on the left, where the fairway widens to merge with the inward 15th hole. The farther left the tee shot, the more difficult the approach, with a bunker on the left and the green sloping away to the right.

Fun fact: Ginger Beer gets its name from the refreshment stand that was set up on the hole by David “Old Daw” Anderson during the 1850s.

Memorable moment: The green is among the most difficult to hit in regulation on the course. In 2015, it was the third hardest to hit in regulation at 66.5%. In 2010, it was the second toughest green to hit at 54.3%. In 2005, just 49.1% of approach shots found the green.


Getty Images

No. 5 – Par 5, 570 yards

Nickname: Hole O’Cross Out

2015 scoring average: 4.46 (18)

Scouting report: Typically the easiest hole on the Old Course at most championships. One of only two par 5s, but easily reachable in two shots as long as the wind is not into the players’ faces. The tee shot must avoid seven bunkers on the right between 270 and 320 yards. The best place to lay up is between two spectacle bunkers. The sheer size of the green — 92 yards from front to back — can frustrate many birdie chances.

Fun fact: The double green, shared with No. 13, is the largest on the course at slightly less than 38,000 square feet (larger than the floor space at Westminster Abbey in London).

Memorable moment: 2005 champion Tiger Woods birdied this hole all four rounds, his best score in relation to par on any hole that year. In Woods’ two wins at St. Andrews, he made birdie all four rounds on three different holes: the 12th and 14th holes in 2000, and the fifth hole in 2005.


Getty Images

No. 6 – Par 4, 414 yards

Nickname: Heathery Out

2015 scoring average: 3.86 (12)

Scouting report: The tee shot is completely blind, so bunkers to the left and right are hidden as the hole drops to a lower level beyond the gorse-covered ridge. A hidden dip runs across the front of the green, making the approach shot deceptive. Still, it should be nothing more than a wedge to a relatively flat putting surface.

Fun fact: The name of the hole comes from when the green here was made up mainly of heather.

Memorable moment: The highest score on this hole in an Open since 1984 is 7, five times, most recently by Jerry Kelly in the first round in 2010.


Getty Images

No. 7 – Par 4, 371 yards

Nickname: High Out

2015 scoring average: 3.8 (15)

Scouting report: This starts the famous St. Andrews loop, a six-hole stretch of short par 4s and two par 3s. On the only true dogleg on the Old Course, most players will hit iron to a flat area beyond a large mound where the seventh and 11th holes cross. The green is guarded by Shell Bunker and slopes from left to right.

Fun fact: The Shell Bunker is the second largest bunker on the course, trailing only Hell Bunker on the 14th. Shell got its name due its shape resembling that of a cockleshell.

Memorable moment: 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen played this hole 3 under par for the week, his second-best score on a single hole, making birdie here during each of the first three rounds. Oosthuizen played Nos. 7-9 in 7 under par for the week.


Getty Images

No. 8 – Par 3, 187 yards

Nickname: Short

2015 scoring average: 3.04 (7)

Scouting report: The only par 3 on the outward nine, with the skyline of St. Andrews and its prominent towers and steeples on the horizon. Depending on the wind, this can be a short iron or a 5-iron. A large green is partly obscured by a ridge, and while relatively flat, the tough hole location is behind a vertical-faced bunker on the left side. Playing 13 yards longer than in 2015.

Fun fact: A total of 83.4% of players hit the green in regulation in 2015.

Memorable moment: There’s been just one hole-in-one on the eighth hole in The Open since 1984 – Ben Crenshaw, 1984, fourth round.


Getty Images

No. 9 – Par 4, 352 yards

Nickname: End

2015 scoring average: 3.81 (14)

Scouting report: This might play as a long par 3 for some big hitters because the green is relatively flat with only two bunkers to navigate in front it. Gorse bushes creep close to the left edge of the green, but there is a wide expanse of fairway between the gorse and two bunkers on the right.

Fun fact: The last five Open champions at St. Andrews have gone bogey-free on the ninth and played it in a combined 14 under par, including Zach Johnson, who made two birdies in 2015.

Memorable moment: After a bogey on the eighth during the final round in 2010, Louis Oosthuizen made a 50-footer for eagle on this hole to reach 16 under par for the first time, and take a four-shot lead over Paul Casey heading to the final nine.


Getty Images

No. 10 – Par 4, 386 yards

Nickname: Bobby Jones

2015 scoring average: 3.78 (16)

Scouting report: In calm conditions, this is another par 4 that can be reached off the tee. The landing area is tighter, with rough to the left and two small bunkers on the right about 290 yards away. The green slopes much more than the ninth hole, falling away from a raised front.

Fun fact: The double green here shared with the eighth green. It is the second largest double green on the course at more than 30,000 square feet.

Memorable moment: Paul Broadhurst made his sixth consecutive birdie on this hole during the third round in 1990 on his way to becoming the first player to shoot 63 in an Open at St. Andrews. Broadhurst nearly eagled the 10th after driving the green here as his attempt from 40 feet hit the back of the hole and nearly dropped in. Broadhurst settled for another birdie and, by round’s end, was solo fifth on the leaderboard through 54 holes.


Getty Images

No. 11 – Par 3, 174 yards

Nickname: High In

2015 scoring average: 3.09 (6)

Scouting report: The final par 3, and far more intimidating than the other. It could be anything from a 9-iron to a 3-iron depending on the wind. The green is guarded by bunkers so severe that Bobby Jones picked up his ball after three swings in one of them. A ball in Strath Bunker in front of the green could require players to go backward. The green slopes severely to the front.

Fun fact: Bobby Jones was inspired by this hole when creating the fourth hole at Augusta National Golf Club (Flowering Crab Apple). “Our [fourth] will be much like the eleventh at St. Andrews Remember the ample green with two big bunkers at the front and a tiny opening between, sloping up to a back with nothing but trouble beyond? Something like that,” Jones’ friend, O.B. Keeler, quoted Jones as saying.

Memorable moment: There have been two aces on the 11th hole in an Open since 1984 – Tim Simpson, 1990, fourth round; Daniel Brooks, 2015, second round (but on Saturday morning).


Getty Images

No. 12 – Par 4, 351 yards

Nickname: Heathery In

2015 scoring average: 4.01 (9)

Scouting report: This short hole is deceptive because of four bunkers that are hidden from the tee. Craig Wood first drove the green in the 1933 Open, and Sam Snead did it in 1946. The hole location dictates the line of the tee shot. The top level of a two-tiered green is only 12 paces deep and demands utmost accuracy with the wedge. Look for most players to go for the green. Playing 3 yards longer than it did in 2015.

Fun fact: The shortest par-4 on the card, but it was the second-hardest fairway to hit in 2015, with players hitting the short grass only 55% of the time.

Memorable moment: In 2005, Tiger Woods made his only three-putt of the week here during the second round on his way to victory. Despite the three-putt, Woods made par on the hole after he’d driven the green and eventually posted a bogey-free 67 and a four-shot lead through 36 holes.


st andrews 13
Getty Images

No. 13 – Par 4, 465 yards

Nickname: Hole O’Cross In

2015 scoring average: 4.19 (3)

Scouting report: A brutal stretch of holes begins with a shot that must avoid a line of Coffin bunkers down the left side. The approach could require a long iron, which must carry the entire way to a green that is slightly elevated, and should stay left of the flag. A shallow hollow filled with rough on the left, and a deep bunker on the right, guard the entrance to the green.

Fun fact: This was the most difficult fairway to hit in 2005 and 2010. Players hit the fairway just 41% of the time in 2005 and 49.6% in 2010. In 2015, it was tied for fifth in driving accuracy, with players hitting the short grass 61% of the time.

Memorable moment: Henrik Stenson eagled this hole during the third round in 2010, the only 2 made on this hole since 1984.


Getty Images

No. 14 – Par 5, 614 yards

Nickname: Long

2015 scoring average: 5.01 (10)

Scouting report: An out-of-bounds wall runs down the right side and a group of four Beardies bunkers on the left require a 250-yard carry. Into the wind, the second shot should be played toward the fifth fairway to avoid Hell Bunker. Into the wind, this is a three-shot par 5. The face of the green rises steeply before dropping away back and left.

Fun fact: The stone wall along the hole’s right side separates the Old Course from the Eden Course.

Memorable moment: Hell Bunker is the largest bunker on the course. During his opening round in 1995, Jack Nicklaus made a 10 on this hole when his ball buried in Hell Bunker and it took him four attempts to get the ball out. Nicklaus then three-putted the hole. “It was frustrating. I was just looking for a way, any way, to get out of there,” he said.


Getty Images

No. 15 – Par 4, 455 yards

Nickname: Cartgate In

2015 scoring average: 4.11 (5)

Scouting report: The Sutherland bunker in the middle of the fairway could be a factor into the wind. The fairway tightens at about 300 yards, and the drive should be aimed at the church steeple between two hillocks. The approach is open to a sloping green, but it should be a high shot to avoid the humps and bumps in front of the green.

Fun fact: The Sutherland Bunker is named after A.G. Sutherland, who became furious the bunker had been filled in during Old Tom Morris’ work on the course in 1869. Sutherland complained to the R&A several times and, eventually, two of his cousins went to the course at night and recreated the bunker before leaving a note with Sutherland’s name.

Memorable moment: 2015 winner Zach Johnson made bogey on this hole in the second round, and it was one of three holes in which he was over par for the week. Johnson was 3 over on the 17th hole and 1 over on the 11th and 15th.


Getty Images

No. 16 – Par 4, 418 yards

Nickname: Corner of the Dyke

2015 scoring average: 4.24 (2)

Scouting report: The fence that marks the route of the old railway into St. Andrews runs down the right side of the entire hole, leaving only a narrow strip of fairway between the fence and a cluster of three bunkers called the Principal’s Nose. The drive should be left of those three bunkers to set up an open shot to a green that rises sharply at the front and is guarded by a bunker front and behind.

Fun fact: In 2015, the 16th hole had the third-hardest fairway and the second-hardest green to hit on the course. Players hit the fairway 56% of the time and the green in regulation 59% of the time.

Memorable moment: In 2015, reigning Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth made a 50-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole in the final round to tie for the lead with two holes to play and keep alive his hopes of winning a third straight major. His bid ended one hole later when he made bogey on 17.


Getty Images

No. 17 – Par 4, 495 yards

Nickname: Road

2015 scoring average: 4.66 (1)

Scouting report: The Road Hole is the most famous in the Open rotation, with a reputation as the toughest par 4 in championship golf. The drive should carry 260 yards over the replica railway shed to reach the right edge of the fairway. Approach should be to the right half of the green to avoid the Road Hole Bunker. Anything long will result in a shot from the road behind the green.

Fun fact: Players must hit their tee ball over the Old Course Hotel (on the old site of the original St. Andrews rail station). The five-star facility was built in 1968 and has 175 rooms. ... Recognized as one of the top resorts in all of Europe, much of the Old Course Hotel’s interior work was done by French designer Jacques Garcia.

Memorable moment: Tommy Nakajima made a 9 here during the third round in 1978. Playing with Tom Weiskopf, Nakajima played his second to the front right of the green, but his ball eventually found the Road Bunker (leading to the nickname the Sands of Nakajima). It took Nakajima four attempts to get out of the difficult bunker and the quintuple-bogey 9 all but dropped him from contention.


Getty Images

No. 18 – Par 4, 356 yards

Nickname: Tom Morris

2015 scoring average: 3.79 (17)

Scouting report: The closing hole is short, simple and dramatic. It can be reached from the tee, but a road runs along the right side, and shots toward the green — the first or the second — must carry a swale known as the “Valley of Sin.”

Fun fact: One of the most iconic landmarks in all of golf is the Swilcan Bridge, which crosses the Swilcan Burn in the fairway on this hole. While an age is not known, it is estimated that the bridge may be anywhere from 700-800 years old and was constructed by masons so that shepherds could cross the Swilcan Burn on their way to the North Sea. The bridge has become the course’s most popular photo op, with players, celebrities, fans, posing for pictures on the historic structure, as well as townspeople and university students when the course is closed on Sundays.

Memorable moment: Costantino Rocca needed birdie on his 72nd hole to tie John Daly and force a playoff. After nearly reaching the green off the tee on the closing hole, Rocca chunked his chip into the Valley of Sin and was faced with a 65-footer for birdie to force extra holes. ... In what has become the most memorable shot from the Valley of Sin, Rocca made the long putt and forced a playoff.

–  Information from The Associated Press and Golf Channel Research Department was used in this report