A tough par 3 calls for one great shot, a tough par 5 allows a lay-up, but a tough par 4 takes no prisoners…
Five Of The Best Tough Par 4s
Royal Birkdale – 1st – 450 yards (Pictured above)
The 1st tee of one of the toughest courses in the country and this year’s Open Championship venue will always be intimidating, but at Royal Birkdale it leads to one of the stiffest opening tests you will find anywhere.
The hole works its way gently to the left and a solitary bunker at the corner is generally the line but demands a long carry. The green is protected by sand at the front and attractive humps and bumps at the back and sides.
Royal Porthcawl – 2nd – 425 yards
Any hole that skirts a beach will be subject to the wind, and this wonderful example draws you ever closer to the trouble all the way.
If the wind is from the west, there is every chance that you will need to direct a long approach shot over the fence in the hope that the elements will return it to safety, and a deep greenside bunker will catch anything that leaks to the right.
K Club (Palmer Ryder Cup – 7th – 430 yards
An aerial view of this lovely hole will strike fear into the heart of any amateur.
Played into the prevailing wind, a creek will catch a drive short and right, and the fun continues with a lake that joins in from the left and guards the green.
In 2016’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, it was the week’s toughest hole averaging 4.36 with Andy Sullivan running up consecutive double bogeys.
We take a look at an eclectic collection…
One way to avoid the sand is to…
St Andrews (Old) – 17th – 455 yards
The Road Hole is iconic and memorable in every respect, starting with a blind drive as you take on the fabled railway sheds on the corner.
The approach is guarded by the scariest bunker in golf and a road at the back from which there is no relief.
In the 1978 Open, Tommy Nakajima took four to escape the sand, and in the opening round last year, it was the hardest hole in recorded Open history averaging 4.83 with not a single birdie.
The Belfry (Brabazon) – 18th – 441 yards
If ever there was a fitting finale for a contest like the Ryder Cup, this is it.
To shorten the second the drive must carry trees on the left while the safer line is the wide bunker at the end of the fairway.
The approach has to fly Moxhull Pond to a massive three-tier green, which, depending on pin position, can mean a four- or even five-club difference.
This is a classic finishing hole where anything can happen, and frequently does.
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