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Shane Bacon

Sizing up St. Andrews' Swing Holes: Hole #5, Hole O'Cross Out

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The British Open is this week, at the home of golf. Luckily, I used to caddie at the Old Course, and will be breaking down a few of the important holes throughout the week. We already tackled No. 1. Now we take a look at No. 5, the 568-yard par-5.

While St. Andrews gives players plenty of opportunities for eagle, with a handful of drivable par-4s depending on the wind, no hole can be had like No. 5. If the wind is down, players are basically hitting drives out to the fat part of the fairway, and bringing in a second shot to the biggest green in the world, ranging nearly 92 yards from the front to the back. (It is one of the double-greens with No. 13. An easy way to remember which greens share with which other hole, just remember that it always adds up to 18. So, No. 2 shares with No. 16, No. 3 shares with no. 15, and so on.)

From the championship tees, the player must hit a tee shot between 270 and 320 yards to avoid the seven nasty pot bunkers on the right. If the pin is up front, it is nearly impossible to keep your second shot close to the hole, but anytime they put the pin on the green more than about 20 paces, players will be able to fire with a fairly aggressive line.

Missing long on this green is essential, and if you find yourself in a position where you have to lay up, the biggest concern is missing the two Spectacle bunkers that are about 60 yards short of the green. Any player that finds his second shot left of the green will be kicking himself, and a birdie here is a must if you want to keep up with the field.

Interesting enough, Tiger Woods birdied the fifth only once in 2000 on his way to a record-breaking 19-under score, but made four on it all four rounds in 2005 when he defended his St. Andrews title.

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