Replica of the Road Hole at St Andrews introduced at Thaxted Park GC

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    Sand was been placed on the green, surrounds and in the bunkers before turfing

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    A view of the sixth green from the back of the new seventh tees

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    The view from behind the sixth green looking back up the fairway

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    An aerial shot from March 2017 taken just after turfing was completed. The old sixth green in the lower right of the shot will be removed once the new green is brought into play.

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Crafter and Mogford Golf Strategies are close to completing work on an interesting project at Thaxted Park Golf Club near Adelaide, Australia.

Architect Neil Crafter has created a replica of the famous Road Hole green on the 17th at the Old Course at St Andrews on the course’s sixth hole.

Crafter was discussing a potential new green location with Gary Jackson, chairman of greens at Thaxted Park, and considering how best to screen the roadway that runs that runs to the maintenance facility next to the hole.

“It was at that this point that the idea of not screening the road but having it as an integral part of the play of the hole came up and naturally the Road Hole at the Old Course was discussed,” Crafter told GCA. “It didn’t take us long to see the benefit of making a Road Hole green with the road behind.”

The new green location was fairly low and was therefore built up, as was the level of the road beyond the green.

“Given they the green location was low and the Road Hole green is a table-top type affair, we needed to ensure good drainage for run-off coming down the fairway,” Crafter explained. “So we shaped in a broad swale before the green to take any run-off around the green and into sumps.”

Though the new green at Thaxted Park is a certain homage to its cousin at St Andrews, one distinct difference does prevail. 

“Our Road Hole green is quite similar in size and outline to the original, but one important difference was that we wanted to the front portion of the green to be pinnable, which it isn’t at St Andrews,” Crafter said. “We achieved this by moving the step further back down the green. This way we have achieved a lower front section with a good three to four pin spots that will be a much easier hole location than further back up the green.”

“The bank at the rear of the green is slightly higher than the original, while the Road Hole bunker at the left side is not a deep and fierce as today’s hazard at St Andrews,” he added. “We have also made a new fairway bunker short left of the green, playing a similar role to the Scholars Bunker at St Andrews.”

The sixth hole green, approach fairway and new tees on the seventh hole were are completed and turfed in March 2017, and Crafter confirmed that the new Road Hole green will open on 22 April.

The recent work forms part of a larger project led by Crafter and Mogford Golf Strategies at Thaxted Park.

“We have developed a masterplan for the club for its front nine holes and to date the second, sixth and ninth holes have been completed,” Crafter added. “The rolling work programme will start next on a new par three third hole, followed by new greens for the fifth and seventh holes. We hope to have the front nine reconstruction works completed in two years in mid-2019.”

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