GolfPass - The Approach | GolfPass Grass Guru - Royal Portrush
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Royal Portrush Hole 7 at the Open Championship.

Royal Portrush – GolfPass Grass Guru

The Open Championship • Hole 7 • Curran Point • Par 5 • 592 yds

The final major is here, the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. The greatest test of golf in my opinion. The US Open can be daunting but the Open Championship presents golf’s most unique challenge. The history, the prestige, the LINKS. C’mon man, give me those links!

The British Open, as us Americans incorrectly call it, is venturing to Northern Ireland and Royal Portrush. It’s not Scotland, but at least it’s not England, amiright? Last played in 1951, Royal Portrush should be a great venue for the Open. However, bunker-wise, it falls behind when compared to others in the Open rota. Does that make it a worse course? Absolutely not. I love bunkers, but sometimes less is more. This is reflected perfectly at Royal Portrush.

In prepping for the Open, two holes had to be replaced.

Which brings us to this week’s BOTW – Hole 7. The 7th hasn’t been around very long, but the looming bunker nearest the tee takes the cake. It’s named “Big Nellie”, which was the name of the former 17th hole giant bunker. How can you make a brand new hole and rename the bunker the same thing? That’s like calling Le’Veon Bell the “Bus.” Sure it’s a nice homage but now we’re diluting the brand. I recommend renaming it Big Mellie, or Big Jelly, something that fits but has its own lane.

With the coastal wind ripping and this bunker close to the tee box, it likely won’t see play, but it’s still noteworthy. Its massive flashing makes it seem almost like a wave, and it smacks the player in the face. I appreciate the attention to detail and the fact that, when they renovated the club, they kept the bunker design true to its links’ bones. Links golf owes it to the game to maintain all the architectural elements of courses past.

I’m very excited to watch Royal Portrush re-bloom its Open Championship flower right in front of us. The world’s best, playing golf’s final major of the year, the way golf’s been played for centuries. What could be better? Plus, I don’t even have to wait to watch. It’s on right when I wake up. Nothing but the Open Championship can get me out of bed this early.

Cover Photo: Royal Portrush / theopen.com

Eric MacPherson knows a lot about golf, but even more about grass (hello Huggy Bear). Having worked in golf for what seems like forever, and going on to graduate school in turfgrass, he’s able to walk mow a green, and change the shaft in your favorite driver. He’s worked on some of the east coast’s primer golf clubs doing everything from washing carts to building brand new putting greens. He’s also volunteered at several high profile Tour events including a major and the President’s Cup. The only thing he likes more than pushing a walk mower on a crisp morning, would be teeing it off. Shoot Eric a message at eric@golfpass.co or check out his other blogs here.