Name That Course: Can you ID where we are?

July 20, 2012

Think you know Carnoustie from Kingsbarns? Royal Lytham from Royal Birkdale? Every Monday-Friday we'll post a new course photo with some clues. Leave your best guess in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page, and then check back the next day to see if you're correct. Good luck!


Mark Newcombe

You could say I'm like a stern, English parent: tough, fair, and liable to swat you on the backside. The hole you're looking at is my par-4 third, but my most dastardly challenges come on the inward nine. (Just ask Sergio Garcia.) Many champions have been crowned on my relatively flat fairways. Padraig Harrington, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer all won the Claret Jug here. I've hosted nine Open Championships since 1954. Still, my most iconic moment came during the Ryder Cup, when that great sportsman Jack Nicklaus made his famous concession to my countryman Tony Jacklin on No. 18. After a round, my art-nouveau clubhouse is a sublime arena for watching the action play out on my famed finishing hole, the site of so much Open and Ryder Cup drama over the decades.

ANSWER: Check back on Saturday.


Eric Hepworth

Age is a relative thing. I'm long in the tooth – well over 100, actually. But I'm a lad compared to my towering sand dunes, which date back 5,000 years. Also "Old" is my designer, Tom Morris, who created me amid the glorious backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne. The Claret Jug has never been awarded here, but I have hosted the Walker Cup and Curtis Cup. While I've never seen a major, I've seen major talent: My fellow Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy sings my praises, and Tiger Woods holds the unofficial record on my Championship links, with a 65 in a recreational round. Golfers from all over the world love the challenge of hitting my ribbon-like fairways lined with purple heather and golden gorse. Though they try to avoid my famously "bearded" bunkers, so named for their overhanging lips of marram and red fescue.

ANSWER: Royal County Down, Northern Ireland.


Eric Hepworth

Like many of my countrymen, I'm overshadowed by a higher-profile neighbor. Unlike that multi-Open venue, I'm a true out-and-back layout with better views of the sea, if I do say so myself. Offering a full 18 holes since 1877, I'm most famous for a handful of quirky characteristics, including a par-3 green duplicated the world over, and a structure that must be dealt with near the green on one of my shorter par 4s. And please, don't airmail your approach on my 18th, or you might end up in the front door of my 132-year-old clubhouse.

ANSWER: North Berwick Golf Club, East Lothian, Scotland.


Evan Schiller

Other links are more renowned than me, but none have more character. Located in a cozy village on the west coast, Herbert Warren Wind called me "The St. Andrews of Ireland." Indeed, I share a design DNA with the Old Course; my original links were laid out by Old Tom Morris, and updated by Alister MacKenzie in 1927. My nestled-in-the-dunes par-3 11th bears witness to MacKenzie's risk-reward design genius. Beyond golf — one enticing, delightful hole after another — I have other charms. Look for a pair of goats roaming my fairways as mascots. These beasts were the original superintendents and meteorologists a century ago. It's said that if they're hoofing it, the weather will be fair; but if they're hunkered down in the grass, rain is coming. That's why in my clubhouse, an old, broken barometer on the wall bears a simple message painted on its face: "See goats."

ANSWER: Lahinch Golf Club, County Clare, Ireland.


David Cannon/Getty Images

Like my more famous namesake at St. Andrews, I also answer to “the Old Course.” I was born in 1878, and when I came kicking and screaming into this world, I had a mere five holes. How I’ve grown! I’ve hosted the Open Championship eight times, the last in 2004, when someone called Todd Hamilton won, whoever that is. In fact, the last three players to earn the title “champion golfer of the year” proved to be one-major wonders—all Americans, I might add. In a golf world dominated by distance, my most famous hole is short but treacherous: a 123-yard par-3, which you must negotiate skillfully if you want a “stamp” of approval from this great Scot.

ANSWER: Royal Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland