The Most Dramatic Opening Holes in Golf
You step up to the tee box and look out over the first fairway. Anticipation for an exhilarating 18 holes of golf is high. Your best round ever might await. You imagine the ball, sweetly struck, arcing through the air toward the middle of the fairway. But even if you shank it, hook it or duff it, nothing can spoil the view from one of these spectacular first tees. Here are Teeofftimes’s pick of The Most Dramatic Opening Holes in Golf…
The Manor House, Chippenham
Situated on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, the Manor House is set magnificently in 365 acres of rolling Wiltshire countryside and was designed by commentating legend Peter Alliss and Clive Clark. The inviting par-4 opening hole is set on the edge of the ‘motte and bailey’ fortification of the original castle and your opening drive needs to carry over part of ancient moat to reach the fairway.
Cavendish Golf Club, Buxton
Cavendish is regarded as the ‘Inspiration for Augusta’ and was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie seven years before he went on to engineer Augusta National. Both parcels of land were remarkably similar in their topography incorporating raised plateaus, deep ravines, valleys, hollows, incised rivers and challenging side slopes. The first is difficult opener, a 354-yard par-4 with a blind drive over the ‘Cresta Run’ and stunning views over the Buxton countryside.
Championship Course, Burnham & Berrow Golf Club, Burnham-on-Sea
Consistently ranked among the best courses in England, Burnham & Berrow Golf Club is quite simply a must-play. The Championship Course offers 18 quality links holes, set among towering sand dunes on the Bristol Channel Coast. The first hole, a 383-yard par-4, is no exception. It’s a testing opening shot into the prevailing wind and the approach shot too needs care as the green has a narrow entrance.
King’s Course, Gleneagles, Auchterarder
“If heaven is anything like this, I hope they save me a tee time,” were the famous words of Lee Trevino describing the King’s Course at Gleneagles as he stood on the first tee. A fine example of ‘Inland Links’, the King’s Course is regarded as one of James Braid’s masterpieces. Standing on the first tee, surveying the beauty of this 362-yard par-4, the sense of anticipation is overwhelming.
Championship Course, Machrihanish Golf Club, Mull of Kintyre
When you arrive on the first tee at Machrihanish Championship Course it isn’t hard to see why it features on so many peoples’ bucket lists. The views from The Battery’s tee box are spectacular, and your first drive of the day is required to carry across part of the Atlantic to the fairway of this 424-yard par-4. Machrihanish Golf Club lays claim to the best opening hole in Scottish golf and, as you work your way through the following 17 holes, the layout continues to delight.
Ardglass Golf Club, County Down
All of Ireland is to your right, so don’t hit left! It’s a favourite saying of staff and members at County Down’s spectacular Ardglass Golf Club. Surely one of the most unique opening holes in golf, your tee shot requires a carry over part of the Irish Sea shoreline to find the fairway beyond. The 335-yard par-4 is named Lamb’s Lough and is the perfect start to 18-holes which offer some of the best views and play in all of golf.
Scrabo Golf Club, County Down
Another County Down course that consistently ranks among Ireland’s best but is still something of a hidden gem. The wind can wreak havoc to the course’s elevated position, but you’ll also have many sensational tee shots and views along Strangford Lough and across to Scotland. The new clubhouse makes the most of those stunning vistas too. And then there’s Scrabo Tower, standing tall above the 1st green and visible for much of the round. The par-4 opener is surely one of the most iconic tee shots in Irish golf.
Machynys Peninsula Golf Club
Machynys is a Nicklaus designed, 7121-yard modern links golf course which takes full advantage of its picturesque peninsula setting, jutting out into the water. Though a young course (est. 2005) Machynys is already recognised as an Open qualifier venue and has hosted 11 championships. The opener here is a beautiful 383-yard par-4 which plays across and alongside the water for an extra challenge. There are also several strategically placed bunkers guarding the green.