Friday, April 28, 2017

Scotland's Best Golf Holes - The Poll Results

The famous Postage Stamp at Royal Troon
It was smart work on the part of VisitScotland, Scotland’s tourism body… by appreciating what a sensational golf product they have, they decided to give golfers everywhere the opportunity to vote for their best golf holes. We all love to have an opinion about the best golf courses and golf holes so VisitScotland decided to put it to the test. Over 3,000 people responded, choosing holes in seven categories:

1 Best Golf Hole
2 Best Opening Hole
3 Best Closing Hole
4 Best Par 3
5 Best Par 4
6 Best Par 5
7 Best View

Each category came with a list of the usual shortlisted suspects, plus the option to
select your own should you so choose… or know better! It was all part of #ScotSpirit – a feature of the national tourism organisation’s Spirit of Scotland campaign.

Here are the results:

Best HoleTom Morris, 18th at the Old Course, St Andrews (799 votes, 27% share).

Best Opening HoleThe Battery, 1st at Machrihanish Golf Club (1025 votes, 30% share).
The club confirmed its status as the owners of the best opening hole in the world – it already boasts a plaque claiming as such.

Best Closing Hole - Tom Morris, 18th at the Old Course, St Andrews (825 votes, 24% share).
As well as winning the title of Best Hole in Scotland, the 18th at St Andrews’ Old Course was also voted the Best Closing Hole with almost a quarter of votes. This is a tricky closing hole and home to the iconic Valley of Sin. Moray Golf Club’s closing hole, overlooking the Moray Firth, came second, beating both the esteemed 18th at Carnoustie and Turnberry.  

Best Par 3The Postage Stamp, 8th at Royal Troon (891 votes, 26% share).
Originally called ‘Ailsa’ due to the stunning views across to rocky Ailsa Craig, this hole was renamed when William Park writing in Golf Illustrated described the putting surface as “the size of a Postage Stamp”. The shortest hole in Open Championship golf, this one is not for the faint-hearted with many of the world’s top golfers coming to misery here.
The 8th at Royal Dornoch - a stunning par four... that
didn't quite make top spot.
Best Par 4Road, 17th at the Old Course, St Andrews (1176 votes, 36% share).
If you have played this hole you will know that shots that veer to the right are liable to end up on the road. Other pitfalls include the devilish ‘Sands of Nakajima’ bunker nicknamed after Japanese golfer Tsuneyuki Nakajima, who took four shots to get out while leading in the third round of the 1978 Open. Other contenders in this category included Royal Dornoch (8th) and Carnoustie (18th).

Best Par 5Orrdeal, 12th at Kingsbarns Golf Club (654 votes, 19% share).
The neighbour of St Andrews finished ahead of holes from Castle Stuart (18th), 2014 Ryder Cup venue Gleneagles (16th) and the recently redesigned Ailsa course at Turnberry (10th).
Best Views... that'll be from the 9th tee at Cruden Bay
Best View – 9th at Championship Course, Cruden Bay Golf Club (662 votes, 20% share).
The course, which boasts stirring views across the Bay of Cruden and Slains Castle, beat out competition from the Castle Course at St Andrews, Machrihanish Dunes and Gullane Golf Club. The category included nominations for more than 300 individual holes, testament to the wealth of stunning views across Scotland’s courses. The 12th hole at neighbouring Hopeman Golf Club, received more than 120 votes for the best view, despite not being shortlisted.

Of those listed above, I have played (winners) Machrihanish, Royal Troon and Cruden Bay, and (honourable mentions) Turnberry, Carnoustie, Castle Stuart and Royal Dornoch. Not a bad state of affairs at all and I know I listed Carnoustie as the Best Closing Hole and Royal Dornoch's 8th as the Best Par 4.

Another of the views from Cruden Bay's 9th hole.
That's Slains Castle under the rainbow.
No doubt there will be arguments – I’ve already seen several dismissing St Andrews 18th as the Best Hole AND Best Closing Hole – but with 3,000 votes cast everyone had an opportunity to have their say. I guess it’s not that surprising that the big-name courses attracted so many votes – they are the ones most visitors play after all. Whatever - if gives all golfers food for thought when considering their next Scottish trip.

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