The no­to­ri­ous tee shot on Carnoustie’s 6th hole looks in­nocu­ous off the tee but the devil is all in the de­tails, as Nick Wright and Rob Jer­ram dis­cov­ered when they re­cently took on this epic par 5 from the tips.

Golf World (UK) - - CARNOUSTIE GUIDE -

As we walked up the 5th fair­way dur­ing our twi­light round in late May, we glanced across at the sixth hole to get an early per­spec­tive of what awaited us on the next tee. We’d heard the tales of how Ben Ho­gan, in the 1953 Open, had threaded his tee shots on this hole be­tween the out-of­bounds and the fair­way bunker, and how his tee shots on the fi­nal day were so ac­cu­rate, his drive in the af­ter­noon is said to have landed in the divot made by his sec­ond shot on the hole in the morn­ing.

While the lat­ter tale has likely been highly em­bel­lished, so much has been made of Ho­gan’s ac­cu­racy on this hole over the years we ex­pected to see a slither of short grass be­tween the white posts and the sand. In­stead we were sur­prised at the gen­eros­ity of the land­ing area.

Even star­ing down the fair­way from the tee, we were con­fused as to what the fuss was all about. Granted, it was a still, clear day with no ma­jor on the line, but it all seemed rather in­nocu­ous. We pulled driver out the bag with­out hes­i­ta­tion.

Nick’s drive split the gap per­fectly while Rob pushed his tee shot to­wards the clus­ter of fair­way bunkers. It wasn’t un­til we reached our balls that the nar­row­ness of the fair­way hit home. We paced out the gap at 25 yards. The other fac­tor we hadn’t con­sid­ered was how crum­pled the fair­way was. Nick’s drive had looked per­fect off the tee yet his ball had rolled to within 10 feet of the out-of-bounds. An un­for­tu­nate kick could eas­ily have sent the ball out of play. In re­al­ity, you’re aim­ing at a 15-yard strip of grass be­cause you can’t risk hit­ting left of cen­tre of the fair­way.

We re­turned to the tee to take an­other look at the hole. This time we re­alised the wide open vista was a lit­tle bit of an il­lu­sion. With no trees to frame the hole, the fair­way looks much wider than it re­ally is.

All the above should be moot points for the top play­ers who these days – in sim­i­larly be­nign con­di­tions – are pow­er­ful enough to drive over the bunkers with­out a care. For us mere mor­tals, how­ever, it’s a drive that de­mands your full at­ten­tion.

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