Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ho hum Hoylake

Most years, the British Open is played on a course with history and impeccable credentials. This year, as the Open returns to Hoylake for the first time on four decades, the silence is deafening. John Huggan, Golf World's man in the U.K., offers this preview.

By John Huggan
Golf World July 14, 2006

Driving past the course, aloong a blandly suburban road on the Wirral Peninsula perhaps 10 miles from the city of Liverpool, you'd never know Hoylake existed. Underwhelming, unimpressive even, the initial glimpse of the links itself is but marginally more interesting.

"On first view [the holes] are not imposing," said the first great golf writer, Bernard Darwin. And he wasn't wrong. Shadowed by distant dunes whose sole scene-stealing purpose seems to be obscuring the striking blue waters of the Dee Estuary and the rolling hills of North Wales, Royal Liverpool offers gentle changes in elevation and little more than the odd bush or two to occasionally break the monotonous vista.

Later, even a closer inspection does little to immediately recommend the place; golf's supposedly sure-fire indicator of architectural inadequacy, the various internal out-of-bounds, here marked by small grassy banks known as "cops," inevitably provokes bemused smiles and the odd furrowed brow. You can almost see the questions forming in the minds of every first-time visitor.

For the rest of the story, click here.

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