So the second major of the year is almost here and 2018 offering comes from shinnecock hills in New york and if anything in 2014 is to go by then a very stern test awaits the players !
Recent vidoes have surfaced showing how thick and deep the rough around shinnecock is and with tight fairways to hit and a few other changes will make it a tougher test and i wouldnt expect any real low total winning score for the tournament .
So we know the usga arwnt keen fans of low under par scores winning so select and set up course to prevent this .
So lets take a look at the golf course itself in this 2 part guide to shinnecock hills .
Hole1, 399 yard, par 4
A kind start to the course from a elevated tee a slight dogleg to the right with a tight fairway and thick rough either side waiting along with 2 fairway bunkers on the right for any ball played taking too much off the corner .
Still a good chance for the first birdie of the round .
Hole2 ,252yard, par 3
Lengthened by 26 yards and a uphill tee shot to a green severely
Protected by 6 bunkers ! 4 on the left and 2 on the right . A par is a good score here !
Hole3, 500yard, par 4
With a tee moved back 22 yards and more to the left and a fairway that has been narrowed to create a tighter dogleg and a green sloping from back to front a par is also a good score to take here .
Hole4 ,475 yard, par 4
Another hole that has added length to it and the tee shot and 2nd played into a right to left wind makes from a narrowed fairway makes this another hard test . But aim for the right side of a slightly elevated and sloping green .
Hole5, 589 yard, par 5
To the first par 5 at shinnecock and for the big hitters a great opportunity to reach the green in two with a prevailing wind even with 52 yards added to this hole .
Will there be eagles here ?
Hole6, 491 yards , par 4
A blind tee shot and a dogleg right but aim for the left side of the fairway to avoid the bunkers right will leave a longer and harder angled approach to a green sloping back to front .
Hole7, 189 yard , par 3
A real stern par 3 test awaits here with a precise tee shot needed to a green sloping from front right to back left . Missing the green here is not a option !
Hole8, 439 yard, par 4
Despite being lengthened by 41 yards this is still the shortest par 4 at shinnecock hills and one with a generous fairway but a cluster of bunkers wait on the left to hamper the ideal spot to be for the approach shot into a green well guarded and could catch out alot of players .
Hole9, 485 yard, par 4
The half way hole of the course is by no means easy with a blind tee shot into left to right wind and a fairway with plenty of contoursto move the ball around . Also a uneven lie may result if the bottom of the hill is reached so maybe a few dodgy shots may result ?
A good 2nd shot is key not to go long on this green or face a tricky downhill chip.
winter golf tips
so as the cold months roll in and winter takes hold how many of you actually play golf in the winter ?
Surprisingly not many do and normally the weather in the uk this time of year isn't great we do have the odd day where it's a crisp sunny cold day and a excellent chance to sample winter golf and the challenges it presents .
So a few tips to help your game in winter
1. Allow for less roll on wet or soft winter fairways compared to hard summer ones .
2. Be mindful that the golf ball doesn't fly as far in cold winter than in warm sunny days , a recent study showed that the difference being around 2 yards of carry for every 10 degrees drop ( cold air is denser than warm for science geeks ) .
3. Consider changing to a softer ' lower compression ball in winter as it's easier to compress a softer ball .
4. A random one this but to keep golf balls warm ( and last check it was legal ) put them in a pot a hot water for 30 minutes then dry them and put them into a insulated food bag ( I personally haven't tried it myself but may for research purposes ) .
5. A common tip from the tour is keep gloves dry is to put them in a sealed bag and also hang the glove on the rods under the umbrella to stay dry .
6. Simple one to keep a towel dry hang it off the umbrella but keep a spare in the bag too .
7. Rough in winter especially when wet is tough so swing a little harder to get out .
8. As beautiful as a crisp winter day can be to avoid disappointment do except that scoring won't be as good .
9. Greens will be slower when wet and soft .
So these top tips will help you enjoy winter golf more and the different challenge it poses to summer golf , course management and mental toughness will be tested as will ball striking .
Don't let all of this put you off tho from getting out on the course , even just 9 holes can be very beneficial to your winter practise programme .
Enjoy and happy golfing !
A professional golfer sharing blogs on playing the game , how to practise and views from the golf world ,