The 18th is another of Harry Colt’s great short Par 4’s. Two good shots and you are looking for a birdie, but one bad shot and a bogey can be a good score. It is now a long carry for many golfers over a ditch and heathery bank on to the fairway with a lone bunker on the left. A stand of pine trees (which may not have been in there when the course was laid out, but add a significant challenge to the hole) may well block out an approach from the right hand side if you are too far up the fairway. While it is only a short shot in, the green is long and contoured and well protected by deep bunkers at the front and on both sides – anything missing the green and the bunkers will be drawn away from the green by the contours. Due to the deep bunker at the front, you can’t see the bottom of the flag from the fairway and it is at least 2 clubs difference from front to back. (A tip is to check out the pin position when on the 1st tee). Low handicappers will probably be thinking birdie on the tee, but it has brought some to tears after finishing with a 6.
My drive has landed in amongst some leaves and old divots, so the lie doesn’t look too good. These unattached (i.e. they can be moved easily) natural objects are defined as “Loose Impediments” and they do not form part of the lie of the ball – this means that I can remove them anywhere on (or off!) the course – so this is possible in a penalty area or bunker, as well as on the tee, green, or in the general area. However I must be careful as I will be penalised 1 stroke if the ball moves and must then replace it on its original spot (if I don’t do this the penalty would become 2 strokes or loss of hole for playing from the wrong place).
Some other things to be careful of:
- A divot which is roots down and more than 50% in a divot hole is considered to have been “replaced” and is therefore part of the ground and NOT a loose impediment. As it is part of the ground you may not alter its position (e.g. by tapping it down) if it may impact your lie, stance, or line of play.
- Sand, loose soil, dew, frost, and water are NOT loose impediments
- Snow and natural ice can be either a loose impediment or (when on the ground) temporary water at the player’s discretion
- Spiders webs are loose impediments, despite being attached to other objects
- Fruit is a loose impediment except when being carried by a player in which case it is part of their equipment!