Is there anything more enticing for the golfer than the lure of a thrilling 1st hole?


5 Of The Best Opening Holes In The UK And Ireland

Trump Doonbeg (Main image)

The dreamy Greg Norman links at Doonbeg only opened for play in 2002 but has already benefited from some redesign work by Martin Hawtree.

One thing that really didn’t need to change was the imperious opening hole; a magnificent three-shotter played in a north-easterly direction to a green surrounded on three sides by towering dunes.

From the championship tee at more than 550 yards, everything is clearly in view, a sight that will leave any golfer champing at the bit.

The 1st at Doonbeg is a thrilling hole that will send a tingle down the spine of even the most cynical golfer. It involves just the right amount of drama to set the pulse racing and to raise expectations for what’s to come.

GF: €200-€230 Par: 72, 6,427 yards

Royal Birkdale

The leading English course in the GM Top 100 has hosted The Open no fewer than ten times.

This peerless links is blessed with some of the finest dunes in the country, and starts with an extremely tough right-to-left dogleg with a magnetic bunker at the corner.

More sand protects the entrance to the green, making a par a theoretical birdie for most.

GF: £235wd, £265 we Par: 72, 6381 yards

St Andrews – Old

The atmosphere and audience on the 1st tee at the world’s most famous course is sure to unnerve.

In front of you, however, is pretty much the widest fairway in golf.

So while the tee shot is not the problem, the serpentine Swilken Burn that borders the front of the green very much is.

Anything short and right, or short and left, is likely to end in a splash.

Go long, and you’re struggling to get down in par.

GF: £190 Par: 72, 6387 yards


Everything is visible from the tee at this mid-length par-3 on Alister MacKenzie’s 1907 heathland design in West Yorkshire.

The left side is flanked by rough, tress and out of bounds, while attractive and beautifully restored bunkering awaits on the right and around the green.

The tempting 2nd hole is also in view, with the gorse and hazards setting the scene for the tough but fair golfing examination to follow.

GF: £105-£130 Par: 72, 6668 yards

The Berkshire – Blue

Not too many courses open with a thrilling, beautiful and tough short hole, but Herbert Fowler’s creation at The Berkshire is an immaculate exception.

At over 200 yards, it’s probably a par-3-and-a-half, with a fabulous forest of heather covering the carry. Avoid this and there are bunkers left and right to protect the green.

The safe option for most is a bail out short and left, followed by a chip and run.

GF: £155-£205 Par: 71, 6260 yards

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