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Michael Moore

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2023, 03:26:12 PM »
After four times around, I have grown to love the first hole. The green is fifty or perhaps even sixty yards long, pitched steeply from left to right (or is it back to front), angled in a devious manner, and you might be coming downwind out of the rough. Four is a good score. If the wind is correct, next time I'm having a go at this one.
Metaphor is social and shares the table with the objects it intertwines and the attitudes it reconciles. Opinion, like the Michelin inspector, dines alone. - Adam Gopnik, The Table Comes First

Steve Holloway

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #26 on: August 21, 2023, 03:29:04 PM »
Its a tricky one tbf - it invites you to have a go - but the bail out left is too inviting - which when you take it leaves a tricky pitch  approach - when you get up there if you've been able to hold the green you begin to learn how tricky pitching into the greens at NB can be. One of the great courses to learn how to play links golf - such a delight to tackle this place.

Mark Pearce

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2023, 08:06:40 AM »
Hi Tim,


It's a solid hole.  But in my book the word "brilliant" should be reserved for the very, very best.  The Road Hole is brilliant.  14 at NBWL is brilliant. 


1 at NBWL isn't an engaging tee shot, the smart play is to hit something around 200 yards.  Then hit a short iron/wedge.  It needs some precision but, for me, neither shot is as engaging as the shots to be faced on 13, 14, 15, 16. 


So good, not brilliant.


Better 1st holes include Muirfield, Elie, Prestwick (more jeopardy on the tee shot), Berkshire Blue.  I wouldn't say any of them are brilliant, though.  I'm struggling to think of a brilliant opener.  But NBWL has a string of brilliant holes.


Comparing 1 and 14, I'd say that 14 has both a more engaging and demanding tee shot and a more demanding and engaging second.  And the excitement of going over the dune to see where your second is.

Jason Topp

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2023, 12:30:47 PM »
I have played it two or three times.  I love the approach and the setting of the green.


I would need much more experience to grow to enjoy the tee shot.  I remembered it being a 7 iron off the tee but if you have 200 yards it assuredly is more than that for me.  I may have played it downwind the first time.

Tim Gallant

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2023, 01:51:54 PM »
Hi Tim,


It's a solid hole.  But in my book the word "brilliant" should be reserved for the very, very best.  The Road Hole is brilliant.  14 at NBWL is brilliant. 


1 at NBWL isn't an engaging tee shot, the smart play is to hit something around 200 yards.  Then hit a short iron/wedge.  It needs some precision but, for me, neither shot is as engaging as the shots to be faced on 13, 14, 15, 16. 


So good, not brilliant.


Better 1st holes include Muirfield, Elie, Prestwick (more jeopardy on the tee shot), Berkshire Blue.  I wouldn't say any of them are brilliant, though.  I'm struggling to think of a brilliant opener.  But NBWL has a string of brilliant holes.


Comparing 1 and 14, I'd say that 14 has both a more engaging and demanding tee shot and a more demanding and engaging second.  And the excitement of going over the dune to see where your second is.


I can see all of this. I would say Prestwick is a brilliant hole - and I'd agree that although it's a short 4 with a majority laying up, it does have more demand on the tee shot than NB. I love Muirfield 1 for the green. It looks flat, but plays front to back, which I adore. NGLA has a wonderful first, as does Victoria.


I do think the demand and engagement needed for the approach into one can be quite substantial. Because the the green is so large and exposed, and because it can be blind, it makes the shot much more daunting than the yardage would suggest. I'll see if I can pull stats on the hole as I suspect that it plays much more difficult than many might think for a 320 yard hole with a 120 yard wide fairway :)

Tim Gallant

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2023, 02:01:07 PM »
Here is a scoring breakdown based on c.2000 rounds pre Nov 2021 (for all players, not just myself) in competition:





Not sure how much you can glean from this, but it shows that the 1st is no push over despite the fact that it is the second shortest par-4 on the course.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2023, 02:50:00 PM »
That actually amazes me that there werenít more eagles, Tim.


How come I managed to drive the green on the first when Iíve never been a particularly long hitter? Have the tees been changed since 2008?

Paul Rudovsky

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2023, 06:29:41 AM »
I first saw NBGL in 1981 (had never heard of it and could not find anyone I knew who had at that time---was a hidden gem).  In '81 was only able to walk about 60% of the course but was blown away.  Played it for the first time in '83 and probably have played it 10-12 times since.


One thing that I have always loved about NBGL is that it probably has more "copied" holes than any other golf course in the world (with the exception of TOC).  Obviously everyone refers to The Redan (15) in this regard...but I would point out the following other examples:


#2--Original Cape Hole?
#6--think #5 at Seminole
#9 (the par 5 that runs directly toward the beach)---think #13 at Maidstone
#10 and #11--think #18 and #18 at Seminole--even thought #11 is a par 5 and #18 a 4...the "feel" from the tees on both pairs of these holes are so so similar IMO


and to the above I would add #1 at NBGL and #1 at NGLA...although they are mirror images of each other.

Tom_Doak

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2023, 10:27:28 PM »
Tim:  I hope it wasnít you who posted a 16 at the twelfth!  :o

Tim Gallant

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #34 on: August 28, 2023, 03:12:15 AM »
That actually amazes me that there werenít more eagles, Tim.


How come I managed to drive the green on the first when Iíve never been a particularly long hitter? Have the tees been changed since 2008?


Morning Ally!


I think this was just a sample of c.2k rounds in 2021. That said, I don't know if I've heard of anyone making a 2 on 1 before. You had your chance :) I have heard of a 2 at 11, and a 1 at 18. But not in competition.

Tim Gallant

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2023, 03:14:46 AM »
Tim:  I hope it wasnít you who posted a 16 at the twelfth!  :o


Ha! It was not. But! I have made something like a 12 on the 16th in a competition before. And I believe I've also made an 11 or 12 on the eleventh :)

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2023, 01:16:23 PM »
That actually amazes me that there werenít more eagles, Tim.


How come I managed to drive the green on the first when Iíve never been a particularly long hitter? Have the tees been changed since 2008?


Morning Ally!


I think this was just a sample of c.2k rounds in 2021. That said, I don't know if I've heard of anyone making a 2 on 1 before. You had your chance :) I have heard of a 2 at 11, and a 1 at 18. But not in competition.


Actually I went back to back on a 36 hole day with a 2 on 18 in the morning and on 1 in the afternoon.


I find it amazing that you havenít heard of a 2 on the first before? Which again makes me wonder if the tees have been changed since 2008.

James Brown

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2023, 07:30:43 PM »
I like it.  A definite decision point hole.  I have played it enough times now to really appreciate watching first timers refuse to lay up with a middle iron when itís downwind and then make a sloppy double or worse and then still fuming fan one into the ocean on #2.  The first hole sets up that gorgeous tee shot on 2 in so many ways.   


Never played in a really strong headwind, but I can imagine the impact of that on oneís impression of the course. 


If this hole was somehow in the middle of the front nine at National Golf Links and the hillside were covered by bunkers or deep rough I think it would be worshipped. 

Niall C

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2023, 08:41:32 AM »
I like it.  A definite decision point hole.  I have played it enough times now to really appreciate watching first timers refuse to lay up with a middle iron when itís downwind and then make a sloppy double or worse and then still fuming fan one into the ocean on #2.  The first hole sets up that gorgeous tee shot on 2 in so many ways. 


I haven't played the hole nearly as many times as some of the members on here but I reckon my number of plays is near enough a couple of dozen over a 30 year period. Having played the hole in a number of different conditions and using different strategies I've now settled on hitting a driver and aiming at the 17th green. I've no illusions of hitting the green as per Ally's achievement a number of years ago but fairly often get over the road and sometimes into the embankment leaving a half wedge shot. Sometimes the lie/stance isn't great but I prefer that to hitting a shot from 50 yards plus back in the fairway. Yes the hole isn't conventional and could be deemed unfair with the blind green sloping away from the tee but that is what gives it its interest.   


Never played in a really strong headwind, but I can imagine the impact of that on oneís impression of the course.  You don't say if that is a good or a bad thing ? Personally I think the wind accentuates the interest irrespective of which direction it blows from.


Tim Gallant

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2023, 05:15:16 PM »
That actually amazes me that there werenít more eagles, Tim.


How come I managed to drive the green on the first when Iíve never been a particularly long hitter? Have the tees been changed since 2008?


Wowzer! I bet there aren't many that have ever achieved that (or had the chance to!) - well played. Out of curiosity, what was the wind like on the day?

The Blue tee position (where the stats are from) hasn't changed. They did extend the tee back for the white tees (extra 15 yards), but the stats above are from the Blues. I think I've only ever seen 1 player even attempt to drive the green. Usually, 302 off the blues with a wind into is too much for any player; and especially as it's the first hole of the day, it's probably too risky. I do think if it came later in the round, you would see more players take it on - for example, I've seen more try to take on the 14th green, which is more often downwind.

Tim Gallant

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2023, 05:17:23 PM »


If this hole was somehow in the middle of the front nine at National Golf Links and the hillside were covered by bunkers or deep rough I think it would be worshipped.


Like this? :)



James Brown

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2023, 08:08:34 PM »
I like it.  A definite decision point hole.  I have played it enough times now to really appreciate watching first timers refuse to lay up with a middle iron when itís downwind and then make a sloppy double or worse and then still fuming fan one into the ocean on #2.  The first hole sets up that gorgeous tee shot on 2 in so many ways. 


I haven't played the hole nearly as many times as some of the members on here but I reckon my number of plays is near enough a couple of dozen over a 30 year period. Having played the hole in a number of different conditions and using different strategies I've now settled on hitting a driver and aiming at the 17th green. I've no illusions of hitting the green as per Ally's achievement a number of years ago but fairly often get over the road and sometimes into the embankment leaving a half wedge shot. Sometimes the lie/stance isn't great but I prefer that to hitting a shot from 50 yards plus back in the fairway. Yes the hole isn't conventional and could be deemed unfair with the blind green sloping away from the tee but that is what gives it its interest.   


Never played in a really strong headwind, but I can imagine the impact of that on oneís impression of the course.  You don't say if that is a good or a bad thing ? Personally I think the wind accentuates the interest irrespective of which direction it blows from.



I count myself as a links golf aficionado in the true Hemingway sense of that word, so I love the idea of hitting driver-hybrid into this hole one day and 8 iron sand wedge the next- or maybe take my chances with 3 wood or driver at the green.  ButÖ I can see why many American first timers donít like it, or perhaps donít understand it.  Hell, even Bobby Jones ripped up his scorecard and his line about how he could take away all his experiences except those in St. Andrewís and still have a full life still makes me tear up. 

David Kelly

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #42 on: August 31, 2023, 02:58:48 PM »
It's almost not really even a hole...but I love it.
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.

James Brown

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Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #43 on: September 01, 2023, 11:33:23 AM »


If this hole was somehow in the middle of the front nine at National Golf Links and the hillside were covered by bunkers or deep rough I think it would be worshipped.


Like this? :)


When was this taken?




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