Home » Uncategorized » On The Road Hole

On The Road Hole

Jim Kelly loves golf but only gets to knock the ball around three or four times a month. He plays …

Jim Kelly loves golf but only gets to knock the ball around three or four times a month. He plays mostly in the United States, but three years ago went on a golfing holiday to Scotland. And it was in the land where the game was born that the UPS chief executive played what he now calls his favorite hole, the 1 7th on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

“It’s called the ‘Road Hole’ because of its proximity to a road which runs just beyond the green,” he says. “It’s one of the most famous golf holes in the world and is certainly one of the toughest. I think of all the times I’ve watched the British Open on television and seen the pros play it. Being so close to the end of the round, the 1 7th often has a great impact on how the players will finish the tournament, and there always be something dramatic happening there. So for those reasons I found playing it to be very special. It also didn’t hurt that I parred it either, getting on the green in regulation and then getting down with two putts for my four. That did make it even more memorable.

“Just being in Scotland for anyone who loves the sport is special,” Kelly explains. “There is so much history at a place like St. Andrews, the views are spectacular, and the caddies wonderful. The weather can be dicey over there, but it was almost perfect the day we played, and I shot an 83, which is 11 over par and not bad for a 1 7-handicapper like myself.

“I enjoyed the whole experience at St. Andrews,” Kelly concludes. “But there was nothing quite like the time I parred the Road Hole.”

The Old Course



Location: St. Andrews, Scotland

Hole: 17th,par-four, 461 yards from the, championship and regular tees, though a more forward tee (about 30 yards ahead) is sometimes used for amateurs.

Hole Description: A par-five until the late 1950s, the hole requires a difficult drive cutting across property now owned by a hotel (and considered out-of-bounds) and then a long approach shot to a narrow green that slopes from left to right and is protected by the brutal “Road Bunker,” which is six feet deep and features a high, steep bank. The hole is so difficult that during the 1984 British Open it yielded only 11 birdies after four days of play by the world’s best golfers.

Course Architect: Unknown. Golf is believed to have been played on the property since the early 1400s, and the course has evolved over time. There is a map of the golf links dated 1821, and the layout today is virtually unchanged.

Resort Description: Considered the birthplace of golf, the Old Course is a must-play for anyone traveling to Scotland with his sticks. It is part of Europe‘s largest golf complex, which includes another four 18-hole courses and a nine-holer for children. All are open to the public, though players going out on the Old Course must have an official handicap. Advanced reservations are recommended. For more information, call 011.1334.466.666.

John Steinbreder is a regular contributor to Golf Digest and Golf World magazines and is the author of five books, including Golf Courses of the U.S. Open.

About john steinbreder