And finally, the finishing holes which figure to provide more interest than most Open rota conclusions. At least, based on architecture and setup.
The 408-yard 17th plays from an elevated tee to a crowned landing area before the fairway falls down to the green abutted by the 13th green. With any helping wind, the firm ground and and open green front, there will be a temptation to drive it.
At 345 yards of the tee a new bunker has been added by Martin Ebert to add some zest to the decision should the conditions allow.
The finishing hole is a beautiful piece of work and where the influence of H.S. Colt is felt more than most links finishers, with classic strategy incorporated and a sense that features were used with an intelligent purpose in mind. A new tee to offset driving distances changes the angle a bit, with players driving toward an out of bounds line detailed here for Golfweek that could prove problematic (though historically consistent with the 1951 Open).
The players now drive directly out the out of bounds line. A sizeable carry is required to actually cross the stakes line, but downwind it’s very doable. To get a good look at the 42-pace deep green, players will want to see it and can only do so from the left side of the fairway.
Lay up right and the view is poor or completely obstructed. At 474 yards it’s a beast into the wind, but a case could be made that down wind breezes from the north make it play almost as tough.
As for the OB, it almost assuredly takes away aggressiveness unless a left-to-right wind is blowing. Expect to see plenty of three-woods here and irons with any helping wind. In other words, the risk/reward qualities may be nullified.
One final note: Luke Kerr-Dineen points out for Golf.com how we might see some intentional plays off of the grandstands. Grandstanding!