GM has created a fantasy golf course comprising the very best holes from the UK and Ireland Top 100 Courses
The UK&I’s Best Golf Holes – Dream 18 – Back Nine
10 – 6th at Sunningdale New – Par 5 – 510 yards
The view from the elevated tee on this wonderful par 5 is inspiring, offering expansive vistas of the surrounding heathland and the distant flag, a fluttering speck across a sea of heather.
The downhill tee shot to a fairway turning left to right is extremely enticing, but danger lurks with water hazards on the corner of the dogleg.
The hole then climbs to a superb green with run-off areas, including a heather-filled pit to the left.
This is reachable with two powerful blows, but an attempt to force the issue can quickly turn into a nightmare.
11 – 2nd at Royal Porthcawl – Par 4 – 425 yards
This stunning hole plays right out to the shoreline, with the beach and the rocks providing a beautiful backdrop. On top of these obvious aesthetic qualities, this is also a brilliantly challenging par 4.
The tee shot must be long and straight and carry some 200 yards. The beach and out of bounds waits left and it becomes more of a factor all the way down the hole.
When it comes to the approach, anything catching the breeze and flying left will be in trouble.
Finding the right side of the fairway from the tee offers the best angle to approach the green.
The second shot requires supreme nerve and precision and, with the safe option being to err right, a perfectly placed bunker awaits.
12 – 16th at Royal Portrush – Par 3 – 202 yards
‘Calamity Corner’ on the Dunluce course is one of Harry Colt’s very best par 3s. There are no bunkers to contend with and there doesn’t need to be to make this an extremely challenging short hole – testament to Colt’s skilled use of the natural terrain.
The tee is exposed and the green is raised so the wind is almost always a factor. The tee shot must carry all the way over a rough-filled chasm to a raised green. Anything short or right will leave a difficult shot at best, a lost ball at worst.
During the 1951 Open, Bobby Locke missed the green here in all four rounds, finding the small swale to the short left of the green – known now as Bobby Locke’s hollow. But he was purposefully aiming at it – the lesser of the evils around this green. He got up and down from it each time.
13 – 12th at Old Head of Kinsale – Par 5 – 537 yards
One of the most striking holes in the world, this is a sprawling par 5, played along a narrow spit of land out towards the most northerly point of the course.
From the back tees, the drive must carry more than 220 yards just to reach the fairway. Anything left of the aiming point will tumble downwards to the cliffs and the Celtic Sea.
With the hole turning to the left, though, the bolder you are, the shorter the second and third shots will be.
The fairway becomes increasingly narrow on the approach to the green and the cliffs on the left side loom ever larger.
It’s a hugely memorable hole but a very obvious potential card-wrecker – one that should be played with suitable deference, as well as an appreciation for its sheer beauty and spectacle.
14 – 14th at Royal Dornoch – Par 4 – 445 yards
This cracking par 4 demonstrates how natural terrain can provide all the defence a hole requires. There are no bunkers on ‘Foxy’, but it ranks as stroke index one on the Championship course at Dornoch.
From the tee, the fairway is protected by rolling dunes on both sides.
The hole turns to the left and you must decide how much of the corner to cut off.
Finding the fairway from the tee is just a small part of the test, however.
The green is raised and slanted, with a deeper section to the right and a narrow plateau jutting out to the left.
Only the most precise approach will find the putting surface and if you don’t, you’ll face a testing touch shot that, whether putted, chipped or pitched, must be judged to perfection.
15 – 11th at Woodhall Spa – Par 4 – 437 yards
A wonderful heathland hole on the Hotchkin course that looks ostensibly straightforward but the challenge it poses is, in fact, both technical and subtle.
The fairway is generous, but the drive is intimidating as you must fire over heather and there’s no bail-out option.
The hole is straightaway and the second shot is a deceptive one. There are cross bunkers some 70 yards short of the putting surface, but the raised green appears closer beyond them.
Club selection is of paramount importance and many seemingly good shots come up short.
The green is relatively flat and there are no bunkers.
The test of this hole is sufficiently complex and clever there’s no need for them.
16 – 11th at Hoylake – Par 3 – 194 yards
The views of the Dee Estuary are spectacular on this par 3, but it’s not a tee shot where you can afford to become distracted.
‘The Alps’ is a challenging hole with the prevailing wind in your face.
For most, it will require a precisely struck long-iron or hybrid to carry all the way to the putting surface.
Although the green is reasonably generous, it doesn’t look it from the tee.
With a variety of possible pin positions and variable winds, you’re asked to produce a slightly different shot almost every time you play.
The bunker and slope to the front right of the green are frequently a factor, as missing there is preferable to erring short and left, where the rough-covered slope swallows balls.
Rory found trouble here in the final round of the 2014 Open and made bogey, opening the door slightly for the chasing pack.
17 – 17th at St Andrews – Par 4 – 455 yards
The Road Hole is one of golf’s most iconic and as testing a par 4 as you’ll find.
Long hitters must be bold with the tee shot and hug the side of the hotel to find the fairway, but anything fading right will be lost.
The approach must be perfect as the dreaded Road Hole bunker lurks, waiting to gather anything short left. Through the green is a footpath and that road before rough and a wall.
18 – 18th at Carnoustie – Par 4 – 444 yards
This is arguably the most difficult finishing hole in golf. It has certainly been one of the most dramatic in the recent Open Championships contested over the testing Angus links.
It witnessed Jean Van de Velde’s meltdown and paddle in the Barry Burn in 1999 and then, in 2007, Padraig’s double visit to the water but eventual play-off win.
The drive is intimidating with the burn snaking across the fairway.
Bunkers, including the one that cost Johnny Miller the 1975 Open, lurk at driving distance to the right and out-of-bounds looms left.
The burn arcs back across the hole again just in front of the green, ready to catch any mis-struck approach.
Out-of-bounds continues round the left of the green with a gaping bunker to the right.
This is a brilliant beast of a closing hole and a fitting way to close our Dream 18.
How many of these holes have you played? Which holes have we missed out? Let us know your thoughts on our dream 18 on our social channels