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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Hole 1, Royal
Hole 1
Mark Gorton
By Mark Gorton
Royal Liverpool, handicap 12

Hoylake has been re-numbered for the Open so the 1st is the hole we used to know as the 17th.

When the wind blows you tend to be hitting right into it and even a solid drive leaves a long second shot.

Miss the fairway and you're probably in punishing rough - it grips the club head tight so if you try for distance the chances are you won't achieve any or you'll just squirt the ball sharp left. So just chip out and hope your third hits the green.

Not so long ago the green was right beside the road making it possible to hit an eight-iron 250 yards by landing your ball on the tarmac and watching it take great bounces towards the sea.

The new green that has added length is not so ominously placed but much harder to read than its predecessor and guarded by an array of tricky bunkers.

For the likes of me a par on the first is a major achievement. To the pros it will seem a more straightforward proposition - though even they aren't immune to first tee jitters.


YOUR HOYLAKE EXPERIENCES AND COMMENTS:

I'm unhappy to find the old 1st hole changed, as normally it would be two good long irons for most of the pros. And, with the out of bounds on the right, it is a really risky first hole. But now it has been changed the first will be a easy starter for Tiger and co which is dissapointing as this is the open championship.
Jamie, Barrow-In-Furness

The 1st used to be the 17th with OB tight to the green. I remember playing there with my brother Andrew, and John and Mark Salmon, as juniors. John played off five and was a great golfer.

He was having a fantastic round, playing his second to the 17th, but pushed it OB. It landed on the pavement, shot high in the air to land on the manicured lawn of one of the houses on Stanley Road. He never flinched, never said a word - just climbed the fence, walked into the garden and proceeded to chip the ball back onto the green.

Nothing unusual there, except the look on the two old dears' faces who were having tee in their dining room to see a foot long divot taken out of the lawn was priceless. John never said a word.
Neil Dodgson, West Kirby

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