Bunker mentality: Site of this week’s British Open features a jaw-dropping hazard

Royal St. George’s has one of largest bunkers in the world

General view of the massive bunker on the 4th hole at Royal St Georges Golf, pictured in 2003. The bunker has since had its wood plank walls removed, but it's size remains the same. (Photo by David Cannon) (Getty Images)

It’s nicknamed “The Himalayas,” and for good reason.

The average golfer might rather try and hit a ball over the actual Himalayas than attempt any sort of shot out of this.

Casual golf fans probably don’t know much about the site of this week’s British Open -- also known as “The Open” because it’s golf’s oldest major and the most prestigious to international golfers -- which is Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England.

We could spout on about how it’s actually a historic site that has hosted 14 previous British Opens and might be one of the toughest of all the courses in the tournament’s rotation due to it’s slanted fairways and undulated greens, but let’s not digress, because there is one feature that really sets Royal St. George’s apart.

On the fourth hole, there’s a fairway bunker that is seemingly bigger than the entire United Kingdom itself. It’s quite possibly the biggest bunker in the entire world, although there is nothing official about that.

Regardless, let’s just say it won’t be fun for any of the players in the field this week to hit their ball into a bunker that’s 40 feet deep and 25 feet wide.

Until 2017, the bunker was surrounded by wood-planked walls in order to keep it upright, but those were taken out in favor of a more traditional look.

So, what are the odds anybody hits their ball into the bunker during the tournament?

It all depends on which way the wind is blowing off the nearby North Sea.

If the wind is not blowing hard or if it’s to the backs of the players, the professionals should easily clear the bunker with their tee shots.

But if the wind is blowing into the faces of players, it could mean an adventure similar to what Australian golfer Mike Harwood had during a round in the 1993 Open at Royal St. George’s.

After hitting his ball into the top left-corner of the mammoth bunker, Harwood had to putt the ball toward the bottom of it just to get another opportunity to hit the ball out of the bunker with a normal swing. He took a triple-bogey on the hole.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.