Mighty Winds – Mighty Champions
Hoylake has been the venue for 11 Open Championships and the 12th is coming up in 2014. The first was played in 1897 (Harold Hilton) and the last in 2006 (Tiger Woods).
Play Hoylake and you’ll never forget it – it’s everything you wish for and more.
Just teeing off on the first hole right outside the magnificent clubhouse is an experience in itself and will test your nerves. It’s “just” a 411 yards dogleg right with out of bound to the left and right! It’ll separate the men from the boys.
You’ll have a mix of totally flat holes and holes with dunes. The starting holes and the finishing are on flat ground and “flat” may sound boring, but it’s not. The fairways are fairly narrow and the numerous brilliant bunkers are in such a position that you need to be very precise off tee. Good ball position is crucial and it’s not that easy when the might wind picks up.
The first look didn’t get me that excited, but the excitement showed up already after playing the first hole. Excitement just got bigger and bigger the more holes we played. Mid way through the course you’ll have some holes with more dunes.
I really like the variation of the holes, which can be difficult to believe we numerous holes are on “flat” ground. The hole design and bunkers makes the character on the different holes.
The final stretch starting at hole 14 is very challenging and brilliant. Long precise shots are needed and celebrate if you make a par on any of those holes.
A few holes stand out more to me then the other, but all holes are excellent so it’s hard to pick a few:
Hole 9 – 318 yards par 4 – Punch Bowl
Stop for a moment on the tee and admire the panoramic view - stunning. It’s a fairly short par 4 and put your tee shot on the left side of fairway to get the best angle for your approach shot. Slightly elevated tee is protected by two bunkers at the front. Good fairway wood off tee in position, 9 iron on green, 2 puts for a par.
Hole 11 – 178 yards par 3
Extremely and testing par 3. Make sure you have enough club to carry the mounds which guard the front left side of the green. Also make sure you’ll not get distracted by the nice lighthouse on the background. A very good 6 iron five feet short of hole, missed the birdie put for a solid par.
Hole 12 – 396 yards par 4
The best hole on the course. A dogleg left with four bunkers (two on each side) protecting the corner of the fairway. You either cut the corner and carry about 230 yards or play between the four bunkers starting at about 200 yards. Play short and you’ll not reach green on your second – tough choice. Regardless of your choice, you’ll have a long second shot and anything right on green will end up in a deep hollow which it’s hard to recover from. Fairway bunker off tee and recovery shot from the deep hollow ended up in a double bogey 6.
Hole 15 – 430 yards par 4
This is one of the more difficult long holes and in particular in the prevailing southwest wind. Not only long, but plenty of bunkers to get you in trouble. Two very accurate shots are needed and you’ll also have a well protected two tier green to battle. Great Hole. Found the rough off tee, second shot 100 yards short of green, too short pitch and a two put for a bogey 5 – it’s OK.
Once again I was joined by Anna & Niklas Åberg. The wind was kind to us and we appreciate it. Anna and I was battling to the final 18th hole and I managed to beat Anna by just a few points. Niklas had one of those hard days that we all have had on the golf course, but kept the spirit up all the way. I certainly very much enjoyed the few days together with Anna & Niklas – Thanks.
Played very well on the front nine and managed to get a 39. Back nine wasn't that good at all and shot a 44 for a total of 83 shots (gross). My short game wasn't up to standard and it reflects in the score. Need to better then this and it gives me a reason to come back and do better.
Hoylake is a very enjoyable Championship course that will test your golfing skills to it’s maximum. The Open will come back to Hoylake many times and so will I – tremendous golf course.
Royal Liverpool Golf Club - Hoylake