Not every first hole eases players into the round.
Many great golf architects from the days of Donald Ross to the modern era of Tom Doak have made statements, either in books or interviews, that the first hole shouldn't be overly difficult.
The truth is the rules of golf architecture were made to be broken. Not every first hole is a walk in the park. Last year around Halloween, Golf Advisor named golf's 18 scariest holes on public courses in America. This year, we've searched the globe to find the scariest first holes in golf.
No matter how many range balls you hit, stepping onto the first tee at these 10 courses will get the jitter juices flowing.
Old Course at St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland
You've dreamed your whole life for this moment. Can you handle the emotion of it all? The 376-yard par 4 at the Old Course at St. Andrews -- called "Burn" -- should be easy, except your mind gets in the way. Spectators. Jet lag. Nerves. They all leave some golfers gasping for air. Thankfully, even a dribbler off the tee box will find the widest fairway in golf. The burn protecting the green is probably the biggest obstacle to making par.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
If your hands aren't shaking the first time you walk onto the first tee at Pebble Beach Golf Links, you're not human. Nerves make the fairway seem a little narrower and the crowd watching a little larger. The 377-yard par 4 couldn't be gentler, however. It doglegs softly right, demanding only a 3-wood or hybrid to set up a straightforward approach shot.
Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club, Ballybunion, Ireland
The graveyard on this famous 408-yard par 4 shouldn't be scary at all. It's not like a bunch of zombies will rise up and attack. The cemetery, located just to the right of the first tee at the Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club, shouldn't be in play, although it's certainly in your head. The ideal line is a fade off of the two pot bunkers up the left side.
Machrihanish Golf Club, Machrihanish, Scotland
Holy beach, Batman! That's all your eyes can see on "The Battery," possibly the best opening hole in golf. The 436-yard par 4 at Machrihanish Golf Club runs adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, forcing players to tempt fate right out of the gate. Those who bite off more of the carry over the beach than they can handle will end up on the sand, staring at a double bogey or worse.
Spyglass Hill Golf Club, Pebble Beach, Calif.
One of the hardest holes on one of the hardest courses on the PGA Tour kicks off this bucket-list round. The 595-yard par 5 at Spyglass Hill Golf Club -- called "Treasure Island" -- starts at an elevated tee in the Del Monte Forest with distant views of the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay on a clear day. As the narrow fairway drops downhill, swinging left, the green comes into focus. So does the amazing backdrop of the sand dunes and ocean. Three mammoth bunkers frame the approach.
Tobacco Road Golf Club, Sanford, N.C.
The late Mike Strantz, who passed away from cancer, was the ultimate maverick as an architect. This par-5, 558-yard opener at Tobacco Road Golf Club introduces the madness of what might be the wildest design ever conceived. The blind tee shot must find safe passage through a narrow neck between high dunes. Up ahead, a second hourglass-shaped pinch in the fairway guards the path to the green.
Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, England
The 426-yard par 4 played as the third hole in the 2014 Open Championship. Amateurs who play Royal Liverpool Golf Club aren't lucky enough to receive a two-hole warm-up. The landing zone of this sharp dogleg right is flanked by out of bounds on one side and the clubhouse on the other. The green is protected by a swale on the safer left side away from the out of bounds close on the right.
Ardglass Golf Club, County Down, Northern Ireland
Jonathan got baptized into Links Golf on the very first hole of our round at Ardglass Golf Club. If you want a mental and physical test in a 30 mph wind with sticks and a ball, tee it up on this hidden gem in County Down, N. Ireland. Huge shout of thanks to George Lowden for hosting us. #paulclark #ardglassgolfclub #countydown #georgelowden #lowdenguitars #northernireland #linksgolf
What isn't scary about the opening 335-yard par 4 at Ardglass Golf Club? You're teeing off just steps from a haunted 13th-century castle, reported to be the oldest clubhouse in the world. The hole climbs skyward along one of the largest water hazards in golf, the Irish Sea. Hook it or tug it left and your ball might ping pong in the black rocks of the seaside cliffs before sinking like the Titanic. Bail out right, and an unsuspecting member walking down the adjacent 18th fairway could be in harm's way. Often, the approach appears blind to a narrow, elevated green surrounded by mounding and rock outcroppings. You've got plenty of excuses if things go awry -- no driving range, jet lag -- but nobody cares.
True Blue Golf Plantation, Pawleys Island, S.C.
Mike Strantz strikes again. The first is the hardest handicap hole at True Blue, a par 5 of extraordinary length (624 yards) and challenge. A waste bunker runs up the entire left side. An imposing bunker complex on the right side signals the dogleg to the left. Don't even think about going for it in two. Weak approaches sink in a small stream fronting a tricky plateau green or bury in a nasty bunker that requires stairs to reach the bottom.
White Witch Golf Course, St. James, Jamaica
Well the first hole at #whitewitchgolfcourse was just as #amazing as it was difficult, especially with 30+ mph winds in your face. Yes, those little specs in the fairway are the group ahead of me and yes, that is the green waaaayyyy off in the distance. I can't believe the contestants on @alteredcourse on the @golfchannel ran down this freakin hill! #respect #madepar #golfshot #photography @rosehall @jamaica
Pray the ghost of Annie Palmer -- the legendary White Witch who supposedly still haunts the 4,000-acre Rose Hall estate -- won't interfere with your backswing. The first hole at White Witch, a sweeping par 5 of 550 yards, is hard enough. The glorious view of the Caribbean Sea from the elevated tee might distract you from seeing the menacing bunkers and thick jungle that litters the landing area below. Even with a good poke, the climb back up toward the green is long and arduous. Palmer supposedly murdered a few husbands before slaves revolted and killed her. Don't let this hole murder your round before it starts.
Editor's Note: Have you played a scary first hole? Let us know where in the comments below.