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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 09:40 GMT
Players faced with marathon hole
Gerry Norquist
Gerry Norquist needed four shots to reach the green in practice
Players competing on the Asian Tour face a major obstacle at the Double A International Open in Thailand this week - a hole that measures 878 yards.

The par-six fourth at the St Andrews Hill Club is the length of 73 double decker buses or 10 football pitches.

In practice, Gerry Norquist needed a driver, a four iron, three wood and a wedge just to make it onto the green.

But not everyone is happy, with Wisut Artjanawat complaining: "I don't think it's good. It's just too long."

There are naturally several ways to play the monster hole, which has two fairways split by a lake.

The riskier option is a brave tee shot over trees and water, which would ensure a shorter route to the green.

"I've never played anything like this in my life, but I don't mind it," said England's Chris Rodgers.

"If you're playing into the wind, it's going to be really hard."

We don't believe this is against the integrity of the game as the players still have to put the ball into the hole
Louis Martin
Asian Tour chief executive

When St Andrews Hills, which was designed by Desmond Muirhead, opened for play in 2000, the 13th hole was also designed as a par six.

But for the Double A International Open, it has been reduced to a conventional par five, making this week's total yardage 7,483 yards, playing to a par 73.

"It's a great golf course and a fantastic club," said Asian Tour chief executive Louis Martin.

"The club has two par-six holes in its original design and we felt that we should be playing the tournament using the traditional accepted maximum of a par five.

"But out of respect to the club, we agreed on a compromise of keeping one par six and reducing the other hole into a par five.

"It's against the norm to have a par-six hole, but we don't believe this is against the integrity of the game as the players still have to put the ball into the hole.

"I'm a staunch traditionalist and it is very difficult for me to get my mind round having to play a drive, six iron, three wood and know that I still got a wedge to the hole."

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