Hole by hole guide
Muirfield, home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers was opened in 1891 and hosted the Open Championship one year later. Designed by Tom Morris, it was laid out on the site of an old horse racing track, which at the time, was part of the Archerfield Estate. Muirfield’s stature across the globe has grown ever since and is now considered to be one of the finest golf courses in the world.
Whilst Muirfield is the type of course that you will have to plot your way around, it is also very fair and playable if you study the bunkering. Every hole has at least one bunker short right or right of the green which often leaves short left or short of the green as the best angle of attack into the pins. If ever you are going for a green in regulation, a shot into the middle of the putting surface is always good regardless of where the pin is located. This will take a lot of the bunkers out of play. Finally, the greens have many subtle breaks and are not always easy to read. Employing a local caddie is the answer here and doing so is sure to shave a couple of shots from your scorecard.
A difficult opening hole into the prevailing wind. The tee shot should be kept to the left half of the narrow fairway which swings gently to the right. This leaves a clear view of the green, past bunkers short and right.
An underrated hole which does not yield as many birdies as its length would suggest. In the right conditions it can be driven by the big hitters, but out of bounds runs down the left side, coming within 15 feet of the green. The percentage play is a long iron from the tee to the left- hand side of the fairway leaving no more than a short iron to a tricky, well bunkered contoured green.
At 290 yards, the fairway virtually disappears into a narrow gully between bunkered mounds. Downwind it’s smart to lay up into the left side of the fairway to get a good view of the target. From there, a short iron into a long green will follow. The green is well bunkered at the front, so you need to be up. If the wind is coming from the east this becomes a tough second shot.
This hole is played from an elevated tee to a plateau green that is 40 yards deep. The tee shot demands accuracy of length and line in order to avoid kicking off the putting surface into the bunkers or grassy hollows that surround the green.
One of the most critical tee shots on the course, coming into the fairway at a slight angle over a row of five bunkers on the right. Play too safely and you can run out of fairway, and into more sand on the left. Down the prevailing wind, the green is in reach in two shots but the entrance is narrowed by bunkers left and right.
A most demanding hole and almost always played in a cross wind from right or left. The tee shot is over the crest of the fairway, leaving only a point on the horizon to aim at. The hole then sweeps to the left towards an elevated green. The hidden hollow short of the green makes the second shot a tough one to judge.
This hole is played uphill into the prevailing wind and nothing less than a solid tee shot will do. The four greenside bunkers are well positioned and will catch anything not on target. It’s not an easy up and down from anywhere around this green.
Place your tee shot correctly and this becomes a relatively easy par four. A good driver or 3 wood down the left side of the fairway will set up an approach shot over the cross bunkers to a green that drops away at the back and left.
The 9th hole plays straight into the prevailing wind with the tee shot landing area squeezed in between a deep bunker on the left and thick rough on the right. Often, a lay-up to a wedge distance is the best option, rather than trying to thread a low running shot past the bunkers on the right and onto the green. Out of bounds lies over the wall that runs the length of the hole on the left-hand side.
South-west prevailing winds push the tee shot towards bunkers on the right edge of a narrow ribbon of fairway. A low ridge with twin bunkers crosses the fairway 100 yards short of the green. They don’t come into play, but effectively mask the green from full view. It takes two fine shots to find this flat green between two bunkers on the right and one to the left.
This hole has a completely blind tee shot over the crest of a hill to a generous fairway but with bunkers on either side of the landing area it requires a degree of accuracy. The second shot requires great control into a small, sharply contoured, heart-shaped green which is surrounded by deep bunkers.
The bunkering on the right side of the green requires that you drive down the left side of the fairway but short of the bunker. This will guarantee the best line to the green that sits at a slightly lower level than the fairway and drops away sharply at the left and back.
At 41 yards deep, the green should be an easy target, but it is never more than 15 paces wide and angles off on the left into a hollow in the dunes. On top of that, it is severely bunkered on both sides, drops sharply from back to front and falls away on the right.
Played from an elevated tee into a stiff breeze from the prevailing south-west direction, this can prove a demanding par four. The fairway squeezes down to its narrowest point at 280 yards, just beyond restrictive bunkers left and right. It can then be as much as a long iron to a plateau green which falls away on all sides and is protected by a lone bunker just off the right edge.
This is another hole where you want to hit a driver, but the smarter play is probably a long iron short of the bunkers which protect either side of the fairway at the dog-leg. The green is known to Members at Muirfield as the Camel’s Back and there are real three-putt possibilities if the approach does not find the right section of the large putting surface.
At the 16th hole, there is only half a green to aim at as any shot down the left-hand side is in danger of rolling off the green and into a bunker or rough. Club selection can vary greatly depending on the strength of the breeze but a tee shot finishing in the middle of the green is never bad if it can be followed by two putts for a par.
A reachable par 5 for the bigger hitters but with 11 bunkers to avoid, the emphasis is on accuracy. A lay-up on the left side of the fairway will offer the best angle into the green.
One of the great finishing holes in golf. Two bunkers cut into the landing area on the left as the fairway reaches its narrowest point. The second shot played into the prevailing cross wind from the west must avoid the greenside bunkers left and right.