What makes Carnoustie the toughest Open course

The 147th Open is taking place at Carnoustie which toomany is one of the toughest tests in golf. The last time the Open Championship was held here was in 2007 and it’s now heading back to the venue that was established in 1842. So what makes Carnoustie the toughest Open course? As American Jordan Spieth looks to defend his 2017 crown, the current Open golf betting odds havehim in at 18/1 behind market leader and world number one Dustin Johnson at 11/1.

(Carnoustie golf links – Home of the 2018 Open Championship)

Known as the ‘Beast of Angus’ due to its extreme level of difficulty for players, Carnoustie measures 7,402 yards with a par of 71. The lowest score to date is the 64 from both Richard Green and Steve Stricker back in 2007. It is a links course, which is the oldest style of course, and which were developed in Scotland. They are notoriously difficult due to the typical undulating surfaces and coastal sand dunes throughout. So how does each hole measure up in terms of difficulty?

1st Hole (Cup)

One of the easier holes, a par four, on the course and has a yardage of 396. The second shot is normally a blind shot so it is important to judge the distance correctly. The highest number of birdies was 85 back in 2007.

2nd Hole two (Gulley)

Another early par four with a total yardage of 461. With ten bunkers across the straight fairway it is important for players to make the correct shot or they could end up more than struggling to make par.

3rd Hole (Jockie’s Burn)

A short par four of 350 yards, again there are several bunkers for players to navigate. There arethree dangerous bunkers around the area where the players’ first ball should land and their shot must be positioned between them in order to set up a shot for the green and a possibly early birdie.

4th Hole (Hillocks)

One of the more attractive holes on the course for players as they can approach it with more aggression needing to hit the green long in order to miss the bunkers protecting it. This is also the only double green on the course. The hole is another par four with yardage of 415, but is one of the holes with a greater birdie (or better) rate than any other. The video below covers a behind the scenes look at the famous course.

5th Hole (Brae)

Another difficult par four for players with a total yardage of 412. It has a low birdie rate due to there being a narrow ditch that stretches across the entire width of the 280 yard fairway. This can be a dangerous hole for the longer hitting players.

6th Hole (Hogan’s Alley)

Named after the 1953 winner of the Open, Ben Hogan. It is the first par five and can be extremely testing depending on weather conditions. It is 580 yards with several dangerous bunkers along the way as is customary with Carnoustie.

7th Hole (Plantation)

Back to a par four and a yardage of 410 to for theplayers to cope with. This is another dangerous hole with bunkers positioned on both sides of the fairway including two just in front of the green.

8th Hole (Short)

The first par three of the course and one of the bestin the world for players. The elevated green is surrounded by four vast bunkers which have caused a neverending list of problems for some of the world’s top golfers. The hole is known as the ’Short due to it being just 187 yards. The video below gives an aerial view of the dangers for players.

9th Hole (Railway)

The final hole of the front nine is a par four with yardage of 474. There are numerous fairway bunkers, including some protecting the green,which is why the original drive is paramount to success on the hole. This is another hole with a very low birdie or better rate.

10th Hole (South America)

The 465 yard par four is one of the most challenging starters of a back nine in golf. The original drive is very important in order to achieve aposition to make a shot at the green, however there are three bunkers on the righthand side so care is needed.

11th Hole (John Philp)

With a yardage of 382, and still a par four, this hole is one that players look to get their birdies on due to it being one of the shorter par fours on the course. The green is dangerous as it slopes back and forth with bunkers positioned on both sides so caution needs to be taken on approach.

12th Hole (Southward Ho)

Considering this par four was voted the second most difficult in 2007 it goes without saying it is a big test for all players. It has a total yardage of 503 and unsurprisingly has an extremely low rate of birdies throughout history. There are two massive fairway bunkers as well as two sets of bunkers upon entering the green.

13th Hole (Whins)

Another short hole for players with the par three being just 175 yards. There are several bunkers surrounding the hole so the approach needs to be near perfect in order to get a birdie. The picture below gives you an indication of what the players are looking at when shooting for the green.

(Dangerous bunkers surround the 13th hole)

14th Hole (Spectacles)

One of the more successful holes where players can achieve a birdie. The par five has a yardage of 513 with bunkers positioned favourably if the correct approach is taken.

15th Hole (Lucky Slap)

Notoriously known as one of the most difficult par fours in golf. It is 472 yards and has always had an extremely low birdie rate. The green is very well protected which is why, year after year, players get themselves in all sorts of trouble on the approach to the hole.

16th Hole (Barry Burn)

Another difficult par three for players with a yardage of 248. This has one of the lowest birdie rates in golf as shown in 2007 with just 19 all week.

17th Hole (Island)

The penultimate hole and another very difficult onefor players. It is a par four with a total yardage of 460. It is yet another on the course that has several dangerous bunkers protecting the hole which always cause difficulty for players.

18th Hole (Home)

What a way to end with possibly the most difficult finishing hole in golf. It is a par four with yardage of 499. There is very little birdie success on the hole and it’s normally approached with caution. There are three vast bunkers on the right side of the fairway including two protecting the green upon entry.


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