The Road Hole at St Andrews. Golf Digest
The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland rests on sand, not rock, but it might as well have been chiselled from rock, as little as the layout has changed in the course of the past 150 years. That would seem especially true of its 17th hole, the Road Hole, the long par 4 with a blind tee shot over buildings and an awkward approach to a diagonal perched green guarded by a piece of Tarmac and a wall on one side and a black-hole-looking bunker on the other.
Visually, there’s virtually no change between the hole as it existed in 1910 and as it exists today. But as we point out, subtle but significant changes to the Road Hole have occurred in the past century. Par dropped from 5 to 4 while its length increased. The blind tee shot was eliminated, then restored. Out of bounds stakes were established, but none anywhere near the road.
Watch the video below for all the facts.
Keep in mind a curious fact not mentioned. In 1948, the St Andrews Town Council passed a resolution to plant a row of Douglas firs along the 17th hole to obscure what they felt was an unsightly entrance to the railway yards. After a vigorous protest from local golfers, the idea was dropped, but just imagine how different the Road Hole would look today with a row of pine trees along its perimeter.