European Tour star Stephen Gallacher chooses his fantasy 18 holes

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With the European Tour resuming on July 9 with the Austrian Open, Stephen Gallacher and his colleagues pros look forward to competitive action again

BBC Scotland asked Stephen Gallacher to design his fantasy golf course for every hole he played at home and abroad during his time as an amateur and the past 25 years as a professional.

During the European Tour alone, he played in 572 events and his layout is based on 16 different courses in eight different countries.

"My idea of ​​a great golf course is one where you have to use every club in the bag. This course does that," said Gallacher.

"It's a par 70 and a thinker golf course. You can't master it, you have to use a little bit of strategy and there are multiple options in how to play almost every hole. You have the potential to shoot 64, but if you muck, there is a danger of shooting 78. In my head I shoot 67, but I will have to play very well. "

1st: Muirfield

A test of 448 yard, par four to start. Tom Watson calls it "the most difficult opening in Open Championship Golf". Gallacher does not intend to disagree. & # 39; It can give you a sleepless night. Bunkers everywhere and if you find one you are in trouble. I don't start easy and work my way in here. It ties you up and let's go. I & # 39; I take a nice par and get out of there. "

2nd: Royal Dornoch

Who knows what horrors await when you shoot past the green on the second of Dornoch?

Again, we quote the great Watson who says that the second hit on this hole is the “hardest hit in golf.” Since it's a 184-yard par-four, Watson's assessment is curious He talked about what happens when you miss the green and have to chip from a place where nobody wants to be.

"It's an incredible par four," says Gallacher. large, weak green, from back to front. He can play anything from a nine iron to a five iron, and you can't miss the green. Ideally, you hit it under the hole and leave yourself an uphill well, but if you go past the hole, my god it's so fast. Just a beautiful, beautiful golf hole. "

3rd: Bathgate

" A short par four, about 300 meters, but about 240 if you cut the dogleg. I'm throwing a bit of sentiment here because this was my course as a kid. I went outside and practiced at night. I hit wedges there for hours. It is a special place for me. Bryan Shields was one of my best friends. I used to work with him at club and county level. Bryan recently passed away, so it's another reason to include this hole because it's his favorite at Bathgate. It means a lot to me for many reasons. "

4th: Valderrama

A general view of the beautiful 4th hole at Valderrama

Home of the Ryder Cup of 1997, Valderrama is described as the Augusta of Europe The 4th is a par five called La Cascada to the waterfall of water that flows along the green. "I had to get something from Valderrama because of how good the track is. There are five different ways you can play this hole and every time you have such options it's great. This is generous from the tee and it can be reached in two, but if you miss your second chance at a three-tier green, you can take all kinds of numbers. The green is small and there is water up there and it is narrow like anything. Everyone will see this hole differently. "

5th: Royal Melbourne

Like the five-time Open champion, Peter Thomson wrote of these par three:" The view from the tee is inspiring, but even for the best players, the scoring options are between one and six. Three and even four putts are common for careless or overly exuberant. An excellent piece of architecture. "

Gallacher says this is one of his favorite golf courses in the world: & # 39; It's a magical place. You will probably hit nine irons or wedges in the green. You are going to inside with loft and you can get close by being cute and using the ramps to draw it around but if you miss your shot you can take it all It's an Alister MacKenzie design the same as Augusta He's my favorite designer of all. "

6th: PGA National

" It's where they play the Honda Classic and it's another spectacular golf course There is a famous piece at the end called the Bear Trap, but I don't choose one This is an incredible par four It has water on the left, two bunkers on the right that are within reach and if you miss them both , now have a five iron in a green with water on the left and bunkers on the right there is also a crosswind. You take par again. "

7th: Crans-Montana

Golf paradise – the impossible beauty of the 7th in Crans-Montana, where every shot is a shot in the fresh air

This golf paradise is located on a hill in the Swiss Alps. & # 39; It is the most picturesque golf course I have ever played. spectacular, a steerable par four, big bunkers over, a small target Anyone in the field can reach it, short hitters, long hitters, it doesn't matter A nice risk reward hole It is a ski slope in winter. is the practice run You are watching Twitter as we go there for the European Masters – almost every player will post a photo on the seventh tee. "

8th: Troon

The famous stamp, the scene of so many stories in the The open air, from Gene Sarazen & # 39; s hole-in-one in 1973 at age 71 to a young Tiger Woods & # 39; six when things go well in the 1997 Open. "It's just a brilliant design, isn't it? I like short threes. You think you should go to the flag, but you can't, because if you have a short side yourself it's almost impossible to get on and on it's 15-20ft and it's a good shot even if you go with loft. Too aggressive is not good, not aggressive enough is not good. I don't think there is anything more terrifying for a professional golfer than a short iron par three with a side wind. The new designs are all 240 meters by three – long and boring. It is no coincidence that the best threes in the world are all short.

] 9th: Turnberry

Immortalized when Watson and Jack Nicklaus went toe to toe in the Duel in the Sun from 1977. "It's just an iconic hole. I haven't played it since the redesign, but I hear the new version is even better, which says something. I just have a picture in my head of Tom Watson on the tee in 1977 with his bowl on and the water and lighthouse in front of him and him slapping a forest over the sea. There is a lot of visual to scare you off. It is simply beautiful. I'll take a par four here and I'm right on the turn – and happy.

10th: The Belfry

The late great Seve Ballesteros rides the 10th green in The Belfry at the Ryder Cup in 1985

Memories of Seve Ballesteros. & # 39; I can't think of this famous par four above the water without thinking of Seve tearing his driver up the green in the Ryder Cup. I finished second in the Belfort in the Benson & Hedges, but I will always associate it with the Ryder Cup, my uncle was involved in a few. It was unforgettable to see Seve flash on green with a little wood on television, but to play there and see how close it is in that green was another altogether. It's not easy. It was the Ryder Cup he played, not a bounce match with his friends. Unbelievable. "

11th: Augusta

Say your prayers, you are now entering Amen Corner." I did a pretty good job at the Masters for a year and then I went wrong in Amen Corner. The 11th hole is kind of creepy because there are no fans around you, there is nothing behind the green, there is only that inky pond on the left that you can't stop looking. On the 10th in Augusta you fall about 30 meters downhill and you fall again on 11. The second shot is hard. Miss left and you're wet miss right and you need the touch of a surgeon to go up and down. Many a victim is made of it. "

12th: Augusta

& # 39; The best players in the world are not immune & # 39; the dangers of the 12th hole in Augusta, says Gallacher

All golf drama is here. "Another short par three, perhaps the most famous hole of all. I played with Jose Maria Olazabal in my first practice round and he said I just hit him over the fall in the middle of the green. Don't mind the flag. It is nervous. grueling because you don't know what the wind is doing. You could be in the middle of the water or 20 meters over your back – the best players in the world are not immune. One of the most difficult strokes in golf is to clear the flag on a par 4. You have no target. A sensational golf hole. "

13th: Augusta

" A right-to-left dogleg par five, which suits me. You can jump right up or try to crochet around the corner, like Bubba Watson or Rory McIlroy. You have a very good chance of becoming a birdie. What people don't understand is the severity of the ramp on your second shot. It's such a heavy slope from right to left. That's why you see a few in the water because they aim right. pect to go left. They are said to move the tee back to make it harder, but after holding 10, 11 and 12 they need 13 to have a chance at an eagle or birdie. I hope they leave it as it is. "

14th Loch Lomond

It's a question of risk versus reward at the 14th hole at Loch Lomond

"Another birdie chance at this great par four. It's a gorgeous design by Tom Weiskopf, an underrated designer. I had to like Loch Lomond because it is a beautiful golf course. You can hold the green with a driver or a three bush, so hitting it should stay and you have a chance of eagle. There is a burn there, so you have to be accurate. Risk and reward.

15th: Le Golf National

French home of the Ryder Cup 2018. "One of the best golf holes in Europe Tour and one of the best courses we play Just over 400 meters, a par four I could have battled most holes of Paris National I first played in the Eisenhower in 1994 Tiger Woods played for America and I loved it from day one Water all the way to the right You want to be a little bit aggressive from the tee but the more aggressive you are the more you play the water You look at the green on your second shot and it is as if the flag is in the middle of the lake It is the beginning of a very heavy closing of holes in my dream 18. "

16th: Carnoustie

Smaller talents than Danny Willett might as well Have come in with a bucket and spade, but the Englishman seems to be in full control of the 2016 Dunhill Links Championship here

Barry Burn is known as one of the terrifying par threes in Open Golf, a brute of 248 yard. & # 39; I already have three short par threes and now I put one longer that can be anything from a driver to an iron of five depending on what the wind is doing to you. All you're trying to do is compare it. Bring it to the front of the green and run it up. Take a three and thank. I could easily have chosen the last four from Carnoustie because I love it so much.

17th: St Andrews

The Road Hole, one of the most legendary pieces left in the world. & # 39; I still don't know if I like it or not. It has cost me a few bob in the past. I was six in one of the Opens. I struggle to hit the ball from side to side and I also struggle to hook myself over the top of the building so I always ended up in that left half which is not the place to be. You have to get off the fairway. You don't go for the flag, you play short, you play left, you run it up – there are so many ways to play it. If you want to fly on it, but only hit a few meters too long, you can stand against the wall or on the road. It is full of danger. "

18th: DLF New Delhi

" Here I won the Indian Open last year. I had taken a fourfold bogey earlier in the round and had to claw it back. The 18th is an outrageous hole, a par five with a massive bunker in your landing area and trouble all the way to the left. It is a great finishing hole. You want eagles, birdies, bogeys, doubles, you want drama at 18 and this gives it. It's another sentimental choice because my son Jack was my caddy and it was a special day. I hit a four iron to 12ft, one of the best shots of my life, and took two putts to win.

"I'm level par at the front and three at the bottom of the back – 67. If I took three more from this course, I would win."

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