This article courtesy of the Golf Architecture Magazine
The 3rd Hole at Kingston Heath Golf Club
Par 4, 271 metres
Hole Architects – Dan Soutar / Dr Alister Mackenzie
ABOVE - The famous Kingston Heath par 3 15th - a great example of great bunkering
Designed and built in the 1920’s by Australian Dan Souter, and bunkered by the inimitable Dr Alister Mackenzie, Kingston Heath is one of the great Australian golf courses with arguably the finest bunkering in the world.
At first glance, the short par four 3rd hole hardly seems worthy of our respect. Just a few short agonising minutes, 271 metres and six or seven strokes later, the feeling of ease and optimism felt on the tee is all but destroyed. The "look easy and play hard" character typified by this hole and others like it, is what makes great short par fours such interesting design studies. Peter Thomson says "holes like this simply are not built anymore".
From the tee, the fairway seems wide and relatively open, tempting the golfer to blaze away with the driver and possibly drive the green. The green however is small, very narrow, and angled from left to right making for a very difficult target. The prudent player will elect for placement rather then brute distance, and will seek out the left side of the fairway to open up the approach. Don’t venture too far left though as recovery from the fairway bunker that strategically guards the left side will be a difficult task.. Any drive pushed right leaves an extremely dangerous half wedge shot over a nest of bunkers to the narrow green. The ultimate disaster may be to find sand for only the best exponents of bunker play will be able to stop the ball on a slick, firm green barely fourteen metres wide.
Even for those players who position their tee shot well, the green possesses some additional defenses to complicate the approach shot including a sharply sloped swale at the front of the green which has an uncanny ability to pull approach shots up short. The green is slightly raised and slopes strongly from back to front and left to right and only the very best pitches will be rewarded with a realistic chance at birdie.
The third hole at Kingston Heath is surely one of Australian golf’s many great holes.