Hole by Hole Guide to the North Inch – Front 9
Here’s a quick guide on what to look out for on the first 9 holes of the North Inch golf course. We’ll be uploading the back 9 soon!
1st hole – Inch Royal
The opening hole at the North Inch is a seemingly innocuous par 4 but with out of bounds lurking down the left side and several large trees to avoid on the right you can’t take your opening tee shot too lightly! At 372 yards from the Yellow tees, the hole requires a driver for most players. Add in some first tee nerves and any shot landing on the fairway should be seen as a success!
The ideal line from the tee is the left side of the fairway to take advantage of the slight right to left slope which can kick your ball forward and onto a flat lie. Any shot up the right side can result in a hanging or downhill lie and a longer approach shot to the green.
There are no bunkers to worry about on the first hole but that can make judging your approach shot difficult – top tip; it’s further than it looks so take an extra club!
2nd hole – Kinnoull Hill
From the 2nd tee take a moment to admire the view of Kinnoull Hill before trying to keep your tee shot down the left side avoiding the large tree to the right of the fairway. This gives you the best angle in for your second shot to the two tiered green. The green has a narrow opening and a bunker gathers anything short or left, so beware of any flags tucked away on the left side of the green! Aim for the middle/right of the green and give yourself a chance of a birdie putt!
3rd hole – The Witches
A par on the 3rd hole feels like a birdie!
At 445 yards from the yellow tees, for all but the longer hitters the 3rd will likely be a 3 shot hole – especially playing into the prevailing left to right wind. A slight dogleg right to left makes what looks like a forgiving fairway actually quite tight. Even for longer hitters, anything up the left side of the fairway and you will have to move the ball right to left to have a chance of making the green – stray too far right however and you might be playing your second shot from under some low hanging branches!
Having negotiated the tee shot you then have a long second shot slightly downhill to a large, slightly raised green which slopes from front to back. A large tree overhangs the front right of the green so bear this in mind if choosing to lay up as it obstructs any approach from the right of the fairway. The safe play here is to aim to the left of the green and take your two putts or more likely a chip and a putt for your par!
4th hole – Jimmy Thomson
Named after the former greenkeeper at the North Inch, the 4th hole is a short but tricky par 3 with deep greenside bunkers waiting to punish any errant shots. At 118 yards from a raised tee to a fairly flat green, the trick is to pick the right club to carry the bunkers but still hold the putting surface. Better to be long than short here though!
5th hole – Pond
If played from the yellow tees then this is a fairly short par 4 with a generous fairway to aim for. Two fairway bunkers around 50 yards short of the green are the main obstacles to avoid so aim to be short of these and you should have a straightforward pitch to the green.
From the medal tee the drive is a bit more demanding! With the tee tucked away up on the left it brings into play a bank of trees on the left of the fairway. The ideal shape of shot on this hole is right to left but don’t overdo it or you could find yourself in amongst the trees or worse – in the pond! There’s also out of bounds along the left of the hole so it’s not always the best idea to go with driver unless you are feeling confident!
The green is flat with a bunker to the right and another lurking out of sight behind the green but avoid these and you‘ve a good chance of a par or better!
6th hole – Cottars
Another short par 3 but this one is definitely not as easy as it looks!
From the tee you hit over a valley towards a plateau green surrounded by steep bankings and trees. Anything short of the green gets swept down into the rough leaving a blind pitch back up to the raised green. Any ball missing the green long or to the right will skip off down the banking – possibly never to be seen again!
Best to ignore the flag here and be content with the middle of the green!
7th hole – Annie’s Well
A real risk and reward hole this one!
The only blind tee shot on the North Inch, the adventurous players out there might reach for the driver, take a line to the right of the tall fir trees and crash a drive down to the narrow part of the fairway for a shorter approach shot in. The percentage shot here though is to go with a shorter club from the tee and take advantage of the steep left to right slope in the fairway to kick your ball onto the flat and wide section of fairway. This gives you an approach of around 130-140 yards to a tricky green which slopes from left to right and is guarded on both sides by bunkers.
Keep an eye out for the original well that the hole gets its name from, oh and don’t forget to ring the bell on the left to let the group behind know it’s safe to play!
8th hole – Palace
Not really a driver hole this one, play for position up to the corner of the dogleg left and you’ll leave yourself a short iron to the green. There’s trouble up the left in the shape of trees and an out of bounds line further up so favour the right side from the tee as the fairway opens up slightly.
The green normally plays firm and fast and slopes sharply from back to front so you have the choice of running the ball in low and using the slopes or taking the aerial route but beware of the three small bunkers to the right of the green and the run off area to the left which gathers any shot that’s slightly pulled.
9th hole – Wee Dunt
One of the iconic par 3’s at the North Inch, don’t let its short length lull you into thinking this is an easy one – many a promising front 9 has been ruined by the “Wee Dunt”!
A raised tee makes club selection tricky and the narrow green with slopes all around means that if you miss the putting surface a bogey four is the most likely outcome. The narrow front portion of the green brings the cavernous greenside bunkers into play if your preferred shot is the low runner, while those who choose to fly it high into the 9th need to be accurate as the small green can lead to some treacherous pin positions! Leaving the ball short of the flag should guarantee you an uphill putt – hopefully for a birdie not a bogey!