From Merion to St. Andrews: The five best opening tee shots in golf

April 28, 2019

1. Old Course at St. Andrews
St. Andrews, Scotland
“Knees knocking, everyone watching.”
“So wide yet so scary.”
“The hair stands up on any normal neck.”
“It’s so wide…and yet the OB stakes on the right are so white.”
“100+ yards wide never looked so narrow. Did I mention the burn?”

The first hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Courtesy of Today's Golfer

2. Merion GC (East)
Ardmore, Pa.
“From lunch to the first tee in less than 10 seconds!”
“Quiet please, on table four.”
“Why did the glassware and silverware suddenly stop clinking when I took my stance?”
“You do not want to hook one here.”
“Would everyone please stop looking at me?”
“At lunch time, it is the scariest opening tee shot.”
“Great anticipation versus fear and exposure!”

The first hole at Merion Golf Club is a good one.
Getty Images

3. Machrihanish GC
Argyll, Scotland
“All of Scotland to the right.”
“That drive over the Atlantic!”
“How much do I take off the first shot of the day?”
“Entire rounds have been mentally surrendered here.”
“Better hope the wind is not directly into your face.”
“It’s the ultimate in risk/reward in a dramatic setting.”
“Scary and unique…think of the permissions needed to build this today.”

The opening tee shot at Machrihanish in Scotland.
Getty Images

4. Portstewart (Strand)
Portstewart, Northern Ireland
“How steep is that drop?”
“Nothing prepares you for the stunning view down the 1st.”

The opening tee at Portstewart in Northern Ireland.
The New York Times

5. Old Prestwick GC
Prestwick, Scotland
“Hope my tee ball doesn’t start heading south in the adjacent coal train.”
“A trip back in time with the railroad!”

The opening tee shot at Old Prestwick is one of golf's most iconic.
Courtesy of Old Prestwick