As golfers we’ve all had the ‘fantasy golf course’ conversation while blowing the froth off a couple of beers in the 19th hole. We would imagine world famous holes such as the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon, the 17th at Sawgrass and the Road Hole on the St Andrews Old Course would feature heavily so this got us thinking of the hundreds of world class golf holes that may have been overlooked. So steering clear of the usual suspects like Pebble Beach, Augusta and the St Andrews Old Course we have compiled a course made up of the finest signature holes in from across the UK and Ireland.
Which lesser known signature holes would you include?
1 – Ballybunion – 1st Hole – Par 5 – 540 yards
It’s always great to get off to a good start and if you get lucky with the wind direction at Doonbeg the 1st hole represents a good chance for birdie. The approach shot, whether it is your second or third, is as dramatic as they come. The green is surrounded by imposing dunes which add a great sense of drama to a fantastic opening hole.
2 – Foxhills – Longcross Course – 4th Hole – Par 3 – 169 yards
Like the 1st at Doonbeg the green at the 4th on the Longcross Course has a dramatic background. This is one of the most picturesque holes in the UK as the green is framed by age old pine forest and during the suummer months the hole is adorned with native flowers bringing a wonderful flash of colour to an already spectacular hole.
3 – Celtic Manor – Roman Road Course – 10th Hole – Par 4 – 428 yards
The 10th on the Roman Road Course is as good as par 4s get. From an elevated tee players must choose their club wisely as there is a good chance longer hitters will run out of fairway should they select driver. The second shot is played over a gaping chasm to a green some 40 feet below the level of the fairway. Two solid shots required here.
4 – Duke’s Course – 9th Hole – Par 4 – 417 yards
A superb dog leg which rises towards a long and thin green protected by punishing bunkers, a great emphasis is placed on both accuracy and distance
5 – Woodbury Park – 18th Hole – Par 3 – 139 yards
Although it is far from classical in course design to finish with a short hole this is an absolute cracker. With water surrounding the green and no doubt a packed veranda of golfers this is a true pressure cooker to finish your round with!
6 – Hanbury Manor – 9th Hole – Par 5 – 550 yards
The 9th at Hanbury Manor is a real tough cookie and yet, for the longer hitters, can represent a good birdie chance should they play the hole accordingly. The hole plays up hill so a good drive is a must but it’s the 2nd shot where the hole gets really exciting. The fairway swings round to the right and those having a pop at the green in two will have to take on a cluster of bunkers short and right of the green.
7 – Old Thorns – 5th Hole – Par 4 – 357 yards
This hole is all about risk vs. reward. The sensible golfer would play an iron to the fairway which falls drastically away from the elevated tee but let’s be honest; most of us would give it a ride and go for the green! Whatever the shot you select the hole seems totally isolated from the world and this adds a real sense of drama…especially from the tee.
8 – Turnberry – Kintyre Course – 8th Hole – Par 4 – 306 yards
The 8th on the Kintyre Course is one of the few short par 4s where the green is totally out of view from the tee. This is extremely unnerving considering the hole is played towards the sea! This is like playing golf on the edge of the world!
9 – Formby Hall – 16th Hole – Par 3 – 187 yards
There are few par 3s that can rival those played over great expanses of water and the 16th at formby Hall is one of the best. With bunkers long, short right and short left the only option is to hit the green…unless you have a bit of Seve in you!
10 – The Belfry – Brabazon Course – 10th Hole – Par 4 – 301 yards
Alright I know…I said I would steer clear of the obvius signature holes in the UK but the 10th on the Brabazon Course is just too good to pass up! Whether you play an iron from the tee or have a lash at the green this hole is choc full of excitement from start to finish.
11 – Celtic Manor – Montgomerie Course – 3rd Hole – Par 5 – 547 yards
This lengthy par 5 is reachable in two for plenty of golfers thanks to the fact that after your tee shot the hole falls away down the side of the valley that leads to the Twenty Ten Course. The second shot here is one of the most exciting in Europe.
12 – Castle Stuart – 3rd Hole – Par 4 – 305 yards
Similarly to the 8th ont he Kintyre Course this short par 4 is played straight towards the water’s edge and thus club selection is paramount. Throw in a couple of well placed pot bunkers and you have one of the finest short par 4s in the UK.
13 – Woodhall Spa – Hotchkin Course – 12th Hole – Par 3 – 172 yards
The Hotchkin is famed for its drastic bunkering and on the par 3 12th the green is particularly well protected. Thread your tee shot through the bunkers and two putt and you can walk off this hole knowing that you have bagged a well earned par.
14 – Nefyn & District – Old Course – 12th & 13th Holes
I know what you’re thinking…this is two holes and messes up the structure of this fantasy course but the two holes that are perched on this dramatic peninsula are among the most thrilling anywhere in the world.
15 – Celtic Manor – Twenty Ten Course – 15th Hole – Par 4 – 377 yards
This hole calls for a well struck tee shot straight at the green from the longer hitters. Alternatively you can follow the fairway around a copse of trees where the approach shot must be played over water to an elevated green. A classic risk vs. reward hole and the start of a great closing run of holes.
16 – Killarney Golf & Fishing Club – Mahony’s Point Course – 18th Hole – Par 3 – 179 yards
It is strange to finish with a par 3 but stand on the 18th tee at Mahony’s Point and you couldn’t think of a better way to finish off your round on this gorgeous parkland course.
17 – Fairmont St Andrews – Kittocks Course – 17th Hole – Par 4 – 443 yards
The 17th on the Kittocks Course was originally part of Sam Torrance’s course at the Fairmont St Andrews and has been affectionately nicknamed ‘Sam’s Favourite’. The hole hugs the edge of a cliff so slicers beware…anything right here is in trouble!
18 – Brocket Hall – Melbourne Course – 18th Hole – Par 5 – 531 yards
It’s not often you get to finish your round off by taking a ferry tothe 18th green but on the 18th of the Melbourne Course at Brocket Hall that is exactly what you do. Depending on your power from the tee you will be playing your second or third shot over a river and onto the green perched at the water’s edge. To get there you take the Broadwater Ferry…a truly unique experience!
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Fantastic collection of holes here and good to see an ultimate 18 without the likes of the usual suspects like the Road Hole and The Postage Stamp…great holes without doubt but we all know about them!
I will now make it a mission of mine to sample all of the holes on this list as I have only played about 10 of them…the par 4 at Old Thorns looks particularly fun; not to mention the holes at Nefyn & District…they look pretty amazing!
I would have liked to have seen a hole from Bearwood Lakes…great course but I guess there were loads to choose from!
Very nice selection of holes, wonder how much it would cost to play all of them!