Golf Course Architecture - Issue 70, October 2022

is no doubt that the approach shot is easier (a relative term to be sure), especially to back pins that are tightly defended by the bunker, if the player has been brave enough, or lucky enough, to lay his drive close to the OB wall on the right side of the fairway. As the drive is blind, it takes a brave, perhaps foolhardy, player actually to try to do this. But fortune is said to favour the brave. Royal Liverpool is a course famous for its use of out of bounds. The course’s traditional opening hole (now played as the third as a result of the changes made to bring back the Open) features a drive over a turf ‘cop’ which surrounds the practice ground; close to the cop is the favoured strategic line. The ninth (traditionally the seventh), known as the Dowie, is today a fairly unobtrusive par three, but it used to have out of bounds hard to the left edge of the green, meaning that, in the words of Bernard Darwin, ‘nearly everyone slices at the Dowie out of pure fright’. The old seventeenth, now the first, known as the Royal hole, was one of Harry Colt’s most famous creations, with the green set right against Stanley Road; sadly, because it was impossible to get specatators round it, the green had to go to get the Open back to Hoylake. Similarly, at Carnoustie, the famous par-five sixth, known as Hogan’s Alley, after the great American who won his only Open there in 1953, offers a definite advantage to the player bold enough to do as Hogan did in 1953 and lay his drive down the left hand side, close to the OB line and left of the centre bunkers. Or there is the famous fourth at Woking, where the course boundary, in the form of the railway line, defines the right side of the hole and the direct, open line to the green, with the centre bunkers built by John Low and Stuart Paton giving the golfer a clear choice of where to play (though the distance today’s better players carry their drives has reduced the impact of the hole a little). “The fourth at Woking has long been considered the birth of strategic golf design,” says Tim Lobb, who is consulting at the club. “Cleverly the green slopes from left to right so the golfers who take the risk of playing to the right of the bunkers will be rewarded with the easier approach to the green. A very intelligent yet simply strategic challenge for this important 47 Royal Liverpool’s dog-leg first (which plays as the third for the Open), where out of bounds looms large on both drive and approach “ Back in the day, the use of out of bounds as a strategic hazard was, if not exactly commonplace, far from unknown” Photo: Kevin Murray Photo: Jason Livy Photography