As if it wasn’t dangerous enough already, the 'Road Hole' – the par-4 17th hole on the Old Course at St. Andrews – is getting a makeover that will make it even tougher.
Specifically, the 'Road Bunker' in front of the left part of the green, will be widened by about 18 inches on its right side – toward the center of the green. The green and the fringe near the bunker also will be recontoured so that more balls will roll into what has to be the most famous sand trap in the world.
The change to the Road Bunker is being done with the 2015 British Open in mind. It is but one of several alterations to the Old Course that architect Martin Hawtree will make at the direction of the R&A, which runs the Open, and the St. Andrews Links Trust, which operates the Old Course and several other prominent courses in the St. Andrews area.
"The Championship Committee felt there was an opportunity to stiffen its defenses in some places to ensure it remains as challenging as ever to the professionals," said R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson. "The proposals from Martin Hawtree should place more of a premium on accuracy and ball control while retaining the spirit and character of the Old Course."
The alterations to the Road Hole are scheduled to take place this winter in the first phase of Hawtree’s renovation, which also will include work on the second, seventh and 11th holes. The second phase will take place in the winter of 2013-14 and will include changes to the third, fourth, sixth, ninth and 15th holes. The second phase will include a new bunker on the right side of the third fairway and a new bunker on the left side of the ninth fairway about 20 yards short of the green.