The New Course shares the same open heathland setting as the Old and is a fine Championship course in its own right. It opened for play in 1907 as a nine hole layout, and extended to eighteen in 1913. The New stretches to 7200 yards off the back tees, 6648 yards off the medals, and has been ranked in the UK and Ireland’s Top 50 courses for more than ten years. This is a serious golf course.
DESPITE ITS SETTING ALONGSIDE THE OLD, FOWLER DID NOT SEE THE COURSE AS MORE OF THE SAME, BUT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE A DIFFERENT KIND OF CHALLENGE. WHERE THERE ARE SOME THREE OR FOUR CROSS-HAZARDS ON THE OLD, THERE ARE AT LEAST NINE THAT DEMAND YOUR ATTENTION ON THE NEW.
THE CROSS-HAZARD PLACEMENT IS THOUGHTFUL, ALLOWING A LAY-UP WHEN IN THE FAIRWAY, OR SUFFICIENT ROOM BETWEEN HAZARD AND GREEN TO BE ABLE TO STOP AND HOLD THE PITCH SHOT. SO YOUR SHORT GAME HAS BOTH DEMANDS ACROSS THE COURSES: AERIAL OR GROUND-BASED STRATEGIES, OFTEN BOTH ON THE SAME HOLE.
THE NEW COURSE REALLY STARTS TO SHOW ITS METTLE FROM THE THIRD. THE HEATHER COMES INTO PLAY AND THE HOLES PROGRESSIVELY BECOME MORE CHALLENGING, WITH THE PAR 4s ON THE BACK NINE AVERAGING LONGER THAN THOSE ON THE OLD COURSE.
THE BACK NINE PROVIDES NO PAR 3s FOR ‘RELIEF’ AFTER THE TENTH HOLE, A FINE SET OF PAR 4s AND PAR 5s COMPRISING A PAR OF 37. THE FINISH – 16TH, 17TH AND 18TH – IS A TESTING MIX OF A PAR 5 AND TWO PAR 4s WITH VERY DIFFERENT CHARACTERISTICS, BUT ALL REQUIRING PRECISION DRIVING.
THIS IS A ROUND OF GOLF THAT SHOULD LEAVE YOU FEELING THAT YOUR GAME, AND YOUR CHARACTER, HAVE BEEN CLEVERLY BUT FAIRLY TESTED, AND WIN OR LOSE IN THE LATEST ROUND OF GOLF’S ENDLESS BATTLE, YOU WILL BE READIER FOR THE NEXT ONE.