My Favorite Hole
One of golf's most distinctive voices, Peter Kessler, sounds off on the original Eden
The famous eleventh at the Old Course At St. Andrews—High Hole (In)—has had its concept and character copied more than any other par three. Its design is called an Eden, named for the Eden estuary forty yards behind the green. This type of hole is usually about 170 yards long, with a green that slopes dramatically from back to front and from left to right. At the Old Course, in addition to the challenge of swirling winds at this exposed and remote corner of the property, three bunkers add to the excitement (a fourth, the huge Shell bunker, doesn't come into play). The very deep pot at the front right is called Strath, named after the famous Strath brothers of St. Andrews—most notably Davie, one of Young Tom Morris's chief rivals. There is also a pot to the left of the green called Hill. This is the bunker from which Bobby Jones took three shots to extricate himself during the 1921 Open Championship. Facing a short putt for a triple-bogey six, he picked up his ball—an act that got him disqualified.
A final diabolical bunker, the Eden, lurks just behind the putting surface, which is typically the fastest on the course. Three putts are more common than two from anywhere on this green, and the flagstick is usually positioned just over the Strath bunker. Even the shortest putts break dramatically, and none are ever conceded here. A par at the eleventh puts one in the best frame of mind for the journey back in toward the Auld Grey Toon and the breathtaking and maddening holes that lead you there.
"Making the Turn with Peter Kessler" can be heard weekly on XM Radio. For more on the Old Course, visit standrews.org.uk.