What are your favorite golf holes? We all have a selection that sticks in our minds, but imagine if you could combine them all into one course! Providing a touch of inspiration to consider, having first shared his nightmarish holes, Golfshake’s Derek Clements set about describing those in his dreams – the places where unforgettable magic happened.
IF YOU are anything like me, you will stay in bed at night and relive the round of golf you played that day. Golfers are a special breed. We can all remember in minute detail almost every trick and every shot we have ever played.
It got me thinking about what my dream round would be, picking out the best holes I’ve played and others that stick in my mind because of the special memories created when I played them.
So, without further ado, here is my personal message dream tower. It has 17 holes that I’ve actually played and one that’s on my bucket list – and probably will remain there.
1st West Course, Wentworth, 464 yards, par-4
A brutal opening hole. Find the fairway and you will almost certainly still be faced with a fairway wood across a huge valley to an elevated green that slopes back and forth. Come in short and your ball could run all the way down the hill. Hit your approach past the hole and you’re looking at three putts. One of my fondest golf memories came from this hole when I hit a drive that split the fairway, a five wood through the heart of the green and two putts for a memorable par. My best score? 4.
(Image credit: Kevin Diss Photography)
2nd Sudbury, 421 yards, par-4
A challenging downhill par four with an old ditch around the green and a rolling green that will test even the best golfer. There is a false zone in front of the green, so precision is essential. My best score? 3.
3rd Thorpeness GC, Suffolk, 404 yards, par-4
If you’ve never played this course, you’ve missed a diamond. The third is a difficult par four. Hit one of your best Sundays and you’ll reach the top of the slope, leaving an approach to a sloping green surrounded by bunkers and all sorts of other trash. Par is your friend here – and mine. My best score? 4.
4th Purdis Heath, Ipswich, 429 yards, par-4
As the name suggests, this is a moorland course, and it is a good test. The fourth is my favorite. It’s tempting to try to cut the corner with your drive, but resist it and find the fairway. Your approach is blind, up a hill to a green that sits in a valley. It’s on this list because once I landed my second shot. We spent hours looking for the ball before I realized the only place it could have ended up was in the hole. My best score? 2.
5th Aldeburgh, 442 yards, par-4
A magnificent par four offering spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from the tee. As with many holes on this exceptional course, there is plenty of gorse on both sides of the fairway. A fairway bunker awaits 280 yards away, with an approach played to a green that swings away from you. Don’t go long! My best score? 4.
6th Kirkhill Golf Club, Cambuslang, Glasgow 180 meters
It’s a par three played from an elevated tee and it’s on this list for one reason and one reason only – it was where I recorded my first hole-in-one. I actually thought the ball ended up inches from the hole, but was thrilled when I got to the green to find the ball in the cup. I was 14 years old. Easy old game this. My best score? 1.
7th Hill Course, Barnham Broom, Norfolk, 143 meters
Sorry to include another par three but this might be my all time favorite. You start from an elevated tee, hitting your ball over tall trees, so you don’t see the ball land – you have to move to the far left or right of the tee to choose your spot. The first time I played the hole, I hit a perfect eight iron on the line I had chosen. When we got to the green the ball was nowhere to be found – there was a stream behind the putting surface and we assumed my ball had ended up there. I was about to declare a loose ball when one of my playing partners suggested I look down the hole. And guess what? It was there. My best score? 1.
8th Secret Harbour, Perth, Australia, 139 yards, par-3
Yes, I know it’s another par three, and third on the rebound, but it’s on this list for a special reason. My wife’s uncle and his wife emigrated to Australia many years ago. He was an avid golfer and popular member of Secret Harbor who died after a massive heart attack on the eighth tee. There is a plaque on the tee to commemorate his memory and in 2017 we traveled to Secret Harbor and my wife, who had only recently taken up the game, parried the holeshot. It was as if her uncle Max was looking down on her. My best score? 4.
9th Rushmere Golf Club, Ipswich, 502 yards, par-5
A beautiful par five that requires extreme precision from the tee, with bunkers right and left and out of bounds all the way down to the right. In summer, it is possible to hit the green in two. I eagled this hole twice during four years as a member. My best score? 3.
10th Ufford Park, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 172 yards, par-3
This is one of my favorite par threes of all time. The tee shot is played over water to a very narrow green with a bunker behind. Go long and you’re faced with a treacherous bunker shot on a putting surface that’s heading away from you, with the water waiting to get your ball back. But hit the surface and you’ll almost certainly have a birdie opportunity. My best score? 3.
11th Constable Course, Stoke-by-Nayland, 546 yards, par-5
A memorable downhill par that goes gently from right to left with the fairway surrounded by huge trees. It is possible to reach this green in two. A good birdie chance. My best score? 4.
12th Augusta National, Golden Bell, 155 yards, par-3
It’s the only hole in my dream round that I’ve never played, but how not to include what is probably golf’s most famous par three? It should be a straightforward hole but, as Jordan Spieth, Tom Weiskopf and Francesco Molinari will testify, the swirling wind makes it a unique test. The green is narrow, with short water and all sorts of long problems. A big hole! My highest rating – I give myself a 3.
13th Pollok Golf Club, Glasgow, 352 yards, par-4
Pollok is a superb course in a park on the outskirts of Glasgow. It features fabulous greens and beautifully maintained fairways. 13 is typical of the challenges you will face here. A straight drive is essential, avoiding two fairway bunkers before approaching a narrow green protected by two other bunkers, with a lot of trouble if you go long. My best score? 3.
14th Longcliffe Golf Club, Lougborough, 318 yards, par-4
It’s only 318 yards from the back tee, but it’s a classic risk and reward hole. It is possible to drive the green but trees and a pond await nothing but a perfectly hit drive. My best score? 3.
15th Felixstowe Ferry GC, 379 yards, par-4
Proof that the best fours don’t have to measure 470 yards. When the wind blows in your face, you’ll need a pure-blooded driver and fairway wood to make the green. The drive should be threaded through the fairway bunkers on either side of the fairway before an approach to a green with a bunker to the right and a grassy trough to the left. A classic link hole. My best score? 4.
16th K Club, Ryder Cup course, 554 yards, par-5
A truly magnificent par five calling for a drive that simply has to find the fairway. For mere mortals, it’s a real three shot. When you hit your second you have to keep in mind that you will be facing an approach over a river to a relatively narrow green. A magnificent golf hole. My best score? 5.
17th hole from the road, Old Course, St Andrews, 470 yards, par 4
Is there a more famous hole anywhere on the planet? I have played the Old Course several times. I even recorded some decent scores. But it’s a par four where you’ll gladly accept a bogey any day of the week. It is a difficult fairway to find and the second shot is even more demanding. Finish in the bunker in front of the green and you can make a cricket score. My best score? 5.
18th Torrey Pines, South Course, 570 yards, par 5
One of the best finishing holes in golf. If you watch the Farmers Insurance Open, you know it. Find the fairway and you have a decision to make. From the front tees it is just about possible to touch the putting surface in half. From the back tee, it’s a non-runner. Anyway, to find the green, you have to clear a pond. The green is huge and slopes back and forth. My claim to fame is to hit a driver, five irons, wedge over the water six feet out and putt for a birdie. And the crowd went wild (in my head). My best score? 4.
Counting those scores, that’s (Out) 26 and (In) 34 for a dream lap of 60!
So, there you have Derek’s most special holes to complete his ultimate fantasy lesson. Think of the holes that are personal to you that would come together to create your own dream 18!
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