Ed Loar on Carnoustie

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Edward Loar has competed in 28 countries over a pro career that’s spanned nearly two decades. He’s played many of the world’s great golf courses. He considers Carnoustie, site of this week’s Open Championship, his favorite.


To get you ready for this week’s event, we asked Edward for some of his insight from his experiences at Carnoustie. He was runner-up at the 2006 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which is played at Carnoustie, St. Andrews and Kingsbarns. Edward finished second to Padraig Harrington, who won The Open Championship at Carnoustie the following year.


Here’s what Edward had to say about the toughest course in The Open Championship rota.


“I think it’s always just appealed to me. It’s not tricky. You just have to hit good golf shot after good golf shot. I always loved to play there. You couldn’t fake it around there.”


“I just like the simplicity of links golf. Most of the courses are pretty simple to play but difficult to play well. They’re very playable, but if you want to score you have to take some chances. You have to take on the pot bunkers or the out-of-bounds, or else you’re left with a more difficult shot. You can lay it up short of bunkers and leave yourself a lengthy shot, or you can take them on to leave yourself a shorter shot. But if you hit it in the bunkers, they’re very penal.”


“My favorite holes on Carnoustie are 6 and 17. Six is a 580-yard par-5 and 17 is a par-4 of 460 yards. The sixth hole has the mystique of being Hogan’s Alley. It’s a perfect hole. If you think you’re good enough to hit it down the left, between the bunkers and the out-of-bounds, you have the opportunity to go for the green in two. But, if you want to play safe, you can hit your tee shot to the right and lay up.”


“Seventeen is just a great second-shot hole. If you want to challenge the burn (water hazard), you can get your ball further down the fairway. Otherwise, you’re hitting a blind shot with a mid-iron or long-iron into the green. One year, I had to hit a 3-wood and 2-iron into the green. The hole isn’t that long, but the way you have to play it makes it longer. It’s another example of having to take on some risk if you want your next shot to be easier.”


“The hardest shot for me was always the par-3 eighth hole. As a left-hander, I was always looking straight at the out-of-bounds on the left. It’s not often you’re worried about hitting it OB on a par-3, especially one that’s only 187 yards. The OB fence is really close to the green, just like on 18. People don’t realize how close the out-of-bounds is on the left side of the 18th green. It’s only 10 steps off the green. Anything turning right-to-left can go out-of-bounds. Jean van de Velde hit it where you are supposed to hit it on that hole. If you’re going to miss, you have to miss right of the green.”