Course Rater Confidential: After the famed Road Hole, what’s the best hole at the Old Course?

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The Old Course is full of memorable holes.

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GOLF’s Top 100 course panelists are among the most respected and well-traveled course evaluators in the game. They’re also keen to share their opinions. In this series, we’ll unlock their unvarnished views on all questions related to the Old Course, host of this week’s Open Championship. The goal is not only to entertain you but also to give you a better understanding of how to understand and appreciate the architecture of the home of golf.

Even casual golfers have heard of the Road Hole, but what’s another hole you love, and why? 

Philip Gawith: I would go for 18 at risk of being accused of having “airport thriller” taste. It is a near matchless experience to tee it up with what seems like the whole world to aim at out to your left, the feeling that maybe you can make birdie, the Swilcan Bridge ahead and the Valley of Sin upfront, and likely a few members of the public watching curiously as you approach the green. It is pure fun, huge anticipation, informed by history, laced with some nervousness (don’t slice it!) and seasoned with anticipation.

Tim Gallant: Which hole to choose from! I adore 16, maybe even more than 17. The line right of the Principal’s Nose bunkers is so narrow, but playing left leaves an almost diabolical approach shot. The humps and bumps in the fairway need to be seen, and running a shot into the green along the ground is as fun as golf gets. 

Will Davenport: I am very partial to the par-3 11th. The permutations of pinable locations and wind are nearly endless, and I have always appreciated a hole that puts a premium on weight as much as line.

Christian Faergemann: I’m with Will. I think the 11th is one of the best par-3s in the world. Trying to hit the crucial yardage to avoid flying the green and being sucked into the Strath or Hill bunker. That’s where I would find a seat to watch players come through at The Open. 

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