It was long awaited. The only Royal missing. And the chance of playing it with 3 Top 100 friends in a real golf match made it a perfect round of golf in maybe the best links golf course in England. Some say Birkdale, some would put Hoylake and other even Cinque Ports, but after some days of having played it y comparing to what I saw in the other I will say that RSG is correctly and fairly put in the first spot for England, it is a hell of a golf course and a great challenge.
And it gives me a better tool of analysis having played it in a "serious" match game and having striked the ball as best as ever, making just one bad contact with 18th tee shot (and penalty was big!). In my home course hitting the ball like this I would have scored 6 shots better, but not knowing the course plus the toughness of the green complexes made me lose some shots I usually do not miss. And I believe this will also happen to every golfer playing RSG for the first time.
There are many feature that make it great and challenging, but the first one is a good amount of blind shots where you need to know where to go and of course where not to miss. For example on 5th hole I hit what I though was a perfect tee shot and found it in a cross bunker with only a lay up shot as my only choice. I was not punished, it is just not being familiar with it. and the second shot here is extremely tough with 2 big mounds showing the path for the correct shot. Before this 4th hole again demands a very good tee shot, just missed the fairway by 1 yard and both lie and stand were very uncomfortable. 7th is a clear example of when greediness will collect one or two shots from you: a good tee shot made it possible to reach green in two but the incorrect club and not knowing that crossbunker was in the way made a birdie into a silly bogey. The same happened in 8th after being on the right side of the fairway where the view of the green is not possible, I hit what I thought was a good shot and missed way right the green but it is fair to say wind was supposed to bring back the ball and it did not.
The course was playing the opposite usual wind and on 10th I was close to driving the green, putting from 40yds short of the green which looked weird but gave me my birdie. With that wind and an uphill shot there was no way to hold the ball on the green.
11th played tough with cross wind and 210yds, again wind didn't behave as how it looked it was going to be. This is one of the things that once you get familiar with a course won't happen again to you.
I was really looking forward to "birdie the hole DJ doubled to lose The Open", but despite 2 good shots I bogeyd it! A thin and tight lie punished me for going too close of the green in 2, totally unnecessary as getting home was not possible.
On 15th again a great iron shot but just 1m off the correct line and missed the green just to the right, for the fifth time I was not able to two putt from 4 yds outside the green.
What I am trying to show with this? The demand of precision the course demands on every shot. That is the main and real challenge on Royal St George's.
It is fair to say that with Andy we lost to Mark and Simon 2&1, the just played better and made less mistakes, but it was a great game of golf, one of those worth to be repeated in the future at this one or any other Major Venue.
A paragraph for the greens: again, faster than Scotland and very true, but not as fast as locals say they can be. And greens design is very creative, ondulated, sloped and where you will for sure have a couple of real long putts during your round.
Lunch at the Club completed our day before I headed to Cinque Ports and just a big thank you for being part of Top 100 which usually gets us to experiences like this.
Finally, is it the best? Maybe. Pros don't like the ondulated fairways, but it is the same for all golfers so go and play, it is a great golf course.
Date: August 02, 2017