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Jason Thurman

  • Karma: +1/-0
First Hole at North Berwick
« on: August 18, 2023, 12:03:29 PM »
The general consensus seems to be that North Berwick's opener is a head-scratcher at best, and the detractors can be pretty vicious. Darius Oliver called it "Maybe the worst hole in Scotland" in Planet Golf, for example.


I liked it. Am I part of the unwashed masses now?
"There will always be haters. That’s just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

Dan_Callahan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2023, 12:43:56 PM »
I've only played it once, and I was very glad to have joined up with a couple of locals who could explain the tee shot to me. Not sure if it's a good or bad hole, but I can say I am looking forward to going back someday so I can play it again now that I know what's going on.

Brian Finn

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2023, 12:50:13 PM »
I don't believe it is a bad hole, but it is one of the lesser holes on this course, which happens to have an abundance of unique, superb golf holes.  Often, a discussion comparing holes on a single course, particularly a world class course, results in overly harsh criticism of the lesser holes. Additionally, I think this hole suffers because it is the first hole.  If this hole were somewhere in the middle of the routing, there might be more risks taken, perhaps making it feel more interesting to some.  Generally speaking, short, quirky holes on links courses are among my favorites, so on paper I should probably love this hole, but here it is really just a gateway to the rest of the course (for me). 
New for 2023:  Cheraw SP, Grandfather, Clyne, Tenby, Pennard, Langland Bay, Southerndown, Pyle & Kenfig, Royal Porthcawl, Ashburnham, Rolls of Monmouth, Old Barnwell...

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2023, 12:54:06 PM »
Last time I played - in 2008 - I almost holed in one, leaving myself with an 18” putt.


So I like it.


But then Darius is the world’s most authoritative voice on course design and architecture, according to Planet Golf USA.


So I must be wrong.

Tim Gallant

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2023, 03:47:55 PM »
I am definitely biased, but I think it's a brilliant golf hole. The green alone is worth studying, and there are so many options on how to play the hole, that I tend to think of it as a strength rather than a weakness. Even after all of these years, it's the only hole I still am not convinced I have the right strategy for.

Ira Fishman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2023, 04:37:20 PM »
I have played it twice. Opening holes should be an accurate introduction to the character of the golf course, and NB 1 certainly does that successfully: different, challenging even at a shorter length, and fun.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2023, 06:14:07 PM »
The general consensus seems to be that North Berwick's opener is a head-scratcher at best, and the detractors can be pretty vicious. Darius Oliver called it "Maybe the worst hole in Scotland" in Planet Golf, for example.

I liked it. Am I part of the unwashed masses now?

Maybe the worst hole in Scotland? Does that statement warrant a response?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jeff Schley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2023, 01:40:04 AM »
The general consensus seems to be that North Berwick's opener is a head-scratcher at best, and the detractors can be pretty vicious. Darius Oliver called it "Maybe the worst hole in Scotland" in Planet Golf, for example.


I liked it. Am I part of the unwashed masses now?
Maybe Darius forgot to take his medicine that day. ???
"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice your gifts."
- Steve Prefontaine

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2023, 06:41:23 AM »
Like a lot of holes that have existed for a long, long time it needs to be considered in relation to the clubs and balls of the era when it was laid out not in relation to modern era equipment.
Atb

Bill Gayne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2023, 07:01:50 AM »
Trying to define what a really bad first hole would be for me. Not crazy about a par three, any long forced carry, or a short par five that may gunk up the pace of play off the first tee.


I like #1 at NB and the characterization as "maybe the worst hole in Scotland" is at best hyperbole and worst idiocy. The only fault I can make is the blindness can slow the flow of getting players out and into their rounds. Although I've never seen this as a problem at NB.

Jason Thurman

  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2023, 08:13:07 AM »
I appreciated that a tee shot that hugged the beach left a fairly clear view of the green, while a chicken-shit bailout left stuck you with a blind approach to a green that mostly runs away from you. I appreciated it most because I pushed my tee shot.


I don't even see the detestable part of this hole. It's strategic and scenic, if perhaps a bit undiscerning on the tee shot.


We eventually had two touring pros join our pairing, one of whom had grown up playing the course. It was a major treat to watch those guys play a match up close on this course. I do wish I had asked the local's advice on how to approach the hole and for a recap of how they had each played it.
"There will always be haters. That’s just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

Michael Whitaker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2023, 04:42:49 PM »
I am definitely biased, but I think it's a brilliant golf hole. The green alone is worth studying, and there are so many options on how to play the hole, that I tend to think of it as a strength rather than a weakness. Even after all of these years, it's the only hole I still am not convinced I have the right strategy for.
I agree with Tim… the hole presents several options. It’s quirky, yes! But, North Berwick is a brilliant golf experience taken as a whole. Why does the course have  to be dissected like this? The holes don’t stand on their own. Accept it as it is and stop over analyzing it. Just enjoy!!!
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Mark Pearce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2023, 05:13:08 PM »
I am definitely biased, but I think it's a brilliant golf hole. The green alone is worth studying, and there are so many options on how to play the hole, that I tend to think of it as a strength rather than a weakness. Even after all of these years, it's the only hole I still am not convinced I have the right strategy for.
It's not a bad hole.  The Oliver statement this thread focuses on is simply a "look at me" piece of bullshit.  And NBWL has a bunch of brilliant holes.  But saying that 1 is a brilliant hole is hyperbole almost matching Oliver.  There's something about the tee shot that doesn't really work, and I'm not a fan of openers that force a lay-up.  It's not a bad start to a round but the brilliance follows.

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2023, 04:21:08 AM »
I like the opener - the large green is on a point which is visually appealing. It is quite tempting to use a driver here - always have chickened out all the time and played a 5 or 6 iron lay up off the tee then a testing short iron second shot. Its a nice opener which gives you options. The next two holes are long tough par 4's


I think Darius Oliver needs to get his head checked out  ;D  and wonder what he thinks of Elie's 1st hole!


Isn't Prestwick and the Old Course 1st also lay ups?

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2023, 04:23:38 AM »
Last time I played - in 2008 - I almost holed in one, leaving myself with an 18” putt.


So I like it.


But then Darius is the world’s most authoritative voice on course design and architecture, according to Planet Golf USA.


So I must be wrong.


wow thats a hell of a risk - sounds like one of the greatest drives of your life!


I doubt you are wrong

Mark Pearce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2023, 04:35:56 AM »
I think Darius Oliver needs to get his head checked out  ;D  and wonder what he thinks of Elie's 1st hole!
The 1st at Elie has a blind tee shot.  But that's it as far as quirk goes.  Other than that, it's a really solid, interesting 420 yard par 4.  Nearly everyone hits driver.  I simply don't understand the comparison, Ben?

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2023, 11:13:14 AM »
I think Darius Oliver needs to get his head checked out  ;D  and wonder what he thinks of Elie's 1st hole!
The 1st at Elie has a blind tee shot.  But that's it as far as quirk goes.  Other than that, it's a really solid, interesting 420 yard par 4.  Nearly everyone hits driver.  I simply don't understand the comparison, Ben?


My point is both 1st at NB, St Andrews, Prestwick and Elie are all unique in their regard rather than a 'bland' regular opening hole. Sometimes it makes you think twice in not using a driver due to potential risks and quirks.
 
I used to play an annual match vs the Golf House Club in the late 1990s when at University so I am quite familiar with the 1st hole - the more i played it i went with a 3 wood instead of a driver.


Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2023, 11:13:47 AM »
I think Darius Oliver needs to get his head checked out  ;D  and wonder what he thinks of Elie's 1st hole!
The 1st at Elie has a blind tee shot.  But that's it as far as quirk goes.  Other than that, it's a really solid, interesting 420 yard par 4.  Nearly everyone hits driver.  I simply don't understand the comparison, Ben?


My point is both 1st at NB, St Andrews, Prestwick and Elie are all unique in their regard rather than a 'bland' regular opening hole. Sometimes it makes you think twice in not using a driver due to potential risks and quirks. They all have them.
 
I used to play an annual match vs the Golf House Club in the late 1990s when at University so I am quite familiar with the 1st hole - the more i played it i went with a 3 wood instead of a driver.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2023, 12:47:44 PM »

I used to play an annual match vs the Golf House Club in the late 1990s when at University so I am quite familiar with the 1st hole - the more i played it i went with a 3 wood instead of a driver.


Presumably you took the 3 wood so you wouldn't be chipping back the way ?


Niall

Tim Gallant

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2023, 01:40:44 PM »
I am definitely biased, but I think it's a brilliant golf hole. The green alone is worth studying, and there are so many options on how to play the hole, that I tend to think of it as a strength rather than a weakness. Even after all of these years, it's the only hole I still am not convinced I have the right strategy for.
It's not a bad hole.  The Oliver statement this thread focuses on is simply a "look at me" piece of bullshit.  And NBWL has a bunch of brilliant holes.  But saying that 1 is a brilliant hole is hyperbole almost matching Oliver.  There's something about the tee shot that doesn't really work, and I'm not a fan of openers that force a lay-up.  It's not a bad start to a round but the brilliance follows.


Evening Mark!


I wasn't trying to be hyperbolic, and genuinely think it is a brilliant hole. What's the difference between 14, which everyone praises as one of the cornerstones of the best run on the course, and number 1?


With one, you have a fantastic greensite, with beautiful internal contours that follow the lay of the land. It's strategic, and there are a variety of ways to play both the drive, and the approach. I could understand if, after the path there was a pond forcing a layup, but that's not the case, and I always take driver to get it as far down as possible. For reference, from the middle tees, the carry to the rocks is 230, and the carry to the top of the hill is appx 250. Take into account the prevailing wind, and add 20 onto that. And even if you wanted to hit it that far, there's room up the left (or a small amount of room to the right) to do so.


Curious on your thoughts on the comparison between 14 and 1, but also, what more do you want from a first hole? And what are a few brilliant first holes? All of those that I can think of share many of the same characteristics that can be found at NB - a sense of place, lots of options, and a brilliant green.

ward peyronnin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2023, 03:47:16 PM »
I will let you know  after i play it next week but I already like it for the story about the player being harangued for teeing from the forward tee.

I seem to remember liking the view and the gentle handshake.
"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

Jerry Kluger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2023, 05:32:15 PM »
The first hole is far more important to me as it tells me which way the wind is blowing - to me, the course is much more friendly if #1 is into the wind as the  back nine plays far easier if it is downwind.


I have always played it with a member and it seems that once you are comfortable with number one the more you enjoy it so much more.

 

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2023, 04:22:13 AM »

I used to play an annual match vs the Golf House Club in the late 1990s when at University so I am quite familiar with the 1st hole - the more i played it i went with a 3 wood instead of a driver.


Presumably you took the 3 wood so you wouldn't be chipping back the way ?


Niall


I was a young lad then and the fairway narrowed where i was hitting driver, the rough was quite tough and most of my uni mates and Elie members were hitting 3 woods or even long irons then.




Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2023, 12:42:08 PM »
The first at North Berwick is a great example of how golf holes can change over time with technology.


In the early days not too many players would reach the hollow where the road goes across, and it was more of a normal opening hole with a potentially scary second shot.


Gradually, as equipment changed and players could drive it longer, the better players were forced to lay up, and they didn't like it.  Later, even more players were forced to lay up, and the hole had few admirers.


Eventually, some players got long enough to flip the script:  if you can think about trying to drive it up on the plateau, it's a great risk / reward hole for match play, although it's a bit wasted in its role as the first hole on the course.  This is what I keep trying to tell older clubs that have a "weak" par-4 they want to lengthen:  maybe they'd be better off waiting until 320 yards is interesting again.

Michael Whitaker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: First Hole at North Berwick
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2023, 02:10:58 PM »
I played NB today. Cold topped my tee shot down the right side near the railing. Hit a hybrid up over the plateau for my second, which finished just over the left side of the green. Chipped up to 8 ft and made the putt for par! 🤩 Brilliant hole. 🤣🤣🤣
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

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