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British Open Course Preview

Muirfield, where the British Open will kick off Thursday, isn't just one of the greatest golf courses in Scotland or even the entire United Kingdom.

It's consistently ranked in the Top 10 courses of the world, with Golf Digest hailing it as the third-best course outside the United States.

Golfers with a psychological fear of bunkers would be advised to stay well away from Muirfield as its the home of 150 of them. The most famous of the bunkers resides on the 18th hole, in which the green itself is located on an "island" in the middle of a larger bunker.

Overall, the course is 7,192 yards long and a par-71. Here are a few of the other highlights of the pride of Gullane, which will host the British Open for a 16th time this week.
No. 1 - Par 4, 447 yards - Muirfield doesn't beat around the bush, but shows golfers just what they can expect from the get-go. Feel like being a big man and hitting the long drive? Be forewarned of the deep bunker on the left at 306 yards just waiting for inaccurate drives.
No. 6, Par 4, 461 yards - Sitting on the course's northeast corner, there's a blind spot where the landing area would be with a dogleg left. Hit it too far and you risk coming into contact with an old stone wall that is as cantankerous as the men who built it likely were.
No. 9, Par 5, 554 yards - Another wall guards the left barrier, and anything past it is strictly out of bounds. There's a hotel overlooking this hole as well, so try not to feel the pressure of a few extra hundred pairs of eyes on you. Not to be outdone by No. 6, there's two doglegs in place here.
No. 11, Par 4, 397 yards - You might want to just close your eyes when you swing your driver - it'll be about as friendly a view. The hole starts off with a 20-foot hill that makes the landing area impossible to see. Did we mention the bunkers flanking both sides of the fairways?
No. 18, Par 4, 470 yards - The aforementioned bunker island aside, there are stands set up for an astonishing 20,000 spectators, meaning that to truly take this tournament title, you'll need to be able to pretend like the population of a fairly large city isn't all staring at you at the same time.

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