Ryder Cup hole-by-hole
A hole-by-hole guide to the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, venue for the Ryder Cup.
Hole No. 1: Par 4, 426 yards
“Bracken Brae” (Fern Hill) sets the tone for the rest of the holes to follow quite nicely in terms of the views on offer. It requires a lay-up to around 260 yards to avoid the danger of the narrow fairway ahead. The green is protected front right by a moderate bunker. Miss it left, and you’re faced with a tough recovery shot.
Hole No. 2: Par 5, 516 yards
“Wester Greenwells”, named after a ruined croft that once stood here, offers a very makeable birdie opportunity, particularly after you’ve avoided a reachable bunker 289 yards out. The real challenge is negotiating the two-tier green situated above a pond on the left and the three bunkers on the pond’s side of the green.
Hole No. 3: Par 4, 431 yards
“Schiehallion” (Hill of Scotts) is a twisty hole that can flummox even the best in the world. The fairway turns right uphill even as the landscape tilts to the left, naturally taking the ball away from the ideal line. Fly it 300 yards and you can clear the triple bunker formation on the inside of the dogleg, but miss it right and you’ll have to hack it out of the rough. The raised-tier putting surface is tucked way right, behind two bunkers.
Hole No. 4: Par 3, 211 yards
“Cowden Beastie” (Golden Bear) is a slightly uphill par 3, with the tee box offering a perfect view of the green. If the weather plays up, this hole is often played into a head wind or a strong crosswind, making par a very good score.
Hole No. 5: Par 4, 461 yards
“Crookit Cratur” (twisted and undulating) is one of the toughest holes on the course. The tee shot is semi-blind, usually into the prevailing westerly/northwesterly wind, and you need to make your way through a narrow chute of trees. The green is protected by a marsh pond which covers the entire front right side.
Hole No. 6: Par 3, 201 yards
“Mickle Skelp” (Small Hit) is a picturesque downhill par 3 with an exposed tee and a green just beyond a creek which forms a natural amphitheater. The creek is easy enough to avoid, but placing the shot perfectly so the sloping putting surface doesn’t take it down and over the green to some nasty rough at the back is the real challenge.
Hole No. 7: Par 4, 468 yards
“Larch Gait” (Larch Walk) allows players to finally cut loose and bomb a drive down the fairway. There are fairway bunkers to carry, but do that and you have a short iron into an unbunkered green. The putting surface is the trickiest aspect of the hole, with three distinct levels but no obvious slopes with which to judge the elevation. The green is also more exposed to the wind than most, adding to the difficulty level.
Hole No. 8: Par 4, 419 yards
“Sidlin Brows” refers to a series of hilly outcroppings that form the hole’s central feature. It’s a dogleg right par 4 with four steep bunkers at the elbow that requires a 300-yard drive to clear, though most players will opt to lay up ahead of them due to the extremely heavy rough on the far side. That still only leaves only 120-140 yards into the green.
Hole No. 9: Par 5, 618 yards
“Crook O’Moss” is named for the three ponds along this long, uphill par 5. There are fairway bunkers on both sides – rare for the Centenary course – and the tees could be moved up to make the hole reachable in two. At its longest, however, it requires three shots to reach the perched green, taking care to avoid the water hazards along the way.
Hole No. 10: Par 3, 208 yards
“Sleekit Howe,” or Tricky Hollow, isn’t really all that tricky from tee to green. It plays straight down the prevailing westward wind, which makes for shorter shots than the yardage suggests. There’s a prime back-left hole location, tucked behind a big greenside bunker and bringing a steep fall-off into consideration, which will almost certainly come into play at some point.
Hole No. 11: Par 4, 350 yards
“Laich Burn,” refers to the stream that forms a water hazard 30 yards in front of the green, necessitating an easy lay up with no obvious danger about. The green sits atop a plateau protected short right and far left with very steep bunkers. There should be several birdies being made here.
Hole No. 12: Par 4, 445 yards
“Carn Mairg,” (Hill of Sorrow) goes uphill to a fairway that narrows and is marked by three bunkers right and tricky rough left. The second shot goes slightly uphill to a partially unsighted green protected by a large front bunker.
Hole No. 13: Par 4, 481 yards
“Wimplin’ Wyne,” (Meandering Turn) is a long dogleg left that presents players with a tough tee shot. The sloping landing area can easily carry your ball off the fairway and into a bunker on the right, or in the rough and behind trees if you come up short. The iron into the green needs to be accurate – carry it or land it too far on the sloping green and you end up in the thick stuff behind the hole.
Hole No. 14: Par 4, 320 yards
“Nebit Knowe” (Pointed Hillock) is one of the more unremarkable holes on the course, but what should be of interest here is when players go for the small, heavily contoured green from the tee.
Hole No. 15: Par 4, 463 yards
“Ochil Sicht” (View of the Ochil Hills) is the Centenary course’s most demanding par 4 – a double dogleg that steers players to the right when the ideal position is on the more dangerous left side. Prevailing crosswinds tend to push balls off the fairway. Even if you’ve negotiated all that, a tough second shot into a putting surface sitting 20 feet below the fairway awaits. The rolling green is quite long but narrow and protected by bunkers. You need to be in the ideal position to find the sweet spot.
Hole No. 16: Par 5, 518 yards
“Lochan Loup” (Leap Over the Small Loch) features a rare central bunker in the fairway, though it’s too close to the tee to bother most elite golfers. The pond 80 yards short of the green probably won’t come into play either, provided you don’t need to lay up out of the rough or from the bunkers to the right of the fairway. When the hole plays into a strong head wind, however, things could get interesting.
Hole No. 17: Par 3, 194 yards
“Ca Canny” (Be Careful) is a somewhat misleading name for this fairly straightforward short hole. Ideal for spectating, most of the trouble here is if your tee shot ends up long. A slightly raised green falls off steeply back right and back left into deep bunkers.
Hole No. 18: Par 5, 513 yards
“Dun Roamin'” is a short par five that should bring a variety of options into play, making for a potentially exciting finish to matches. Negotiating the fairway is a simple enough task for the world’s best, but the real challenge here is the putting surface. Elevated, 40 yards deep and just 14 yards across and flanked by steep declines on both sides, the sweet spot can seem awfully small. Should a match go as far as the 18th, expect plenty of drama.
Click Here to see the official hole-by-hole course guide and fly-overs for the PGA Centenary Course on the Gleneagles website.
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