01 Feb The Maiden
Royal St. George’s Golf Club
The 6th Hole at Royal St. George’s is probably it’s most famous having several reincarnations since the inception of the course in 1887.
Originally the 6th tee was positioned on the left hand side of where the current 5th fairway bunker now resides. Players in the early days would tee off over the highest sand dune on the course known as The Maiden which gave the hole its name.
Golf Writer – The Times
For safety reasons the tee was moved first of all to towards the current 5th green and play was directed over the lower dune. An extract from the great golf writer Bernard Darwin:
“There stands the Maiden, steep, sandy and terrible, with her face scarred and seamed with black timbers, but alas! we have no longer to drive over her crown: we hardly do more than skirt the fringe of her garment. In old days the tee was right beneath the highest pinnacle, and sheer terror made the shot formidable, but the tee-shots to the fifth endangered the lives of those driving to the sixth, and the tee had to be put far away to the right. The present Maiden is but a shadow of its old self, and the splendour of it has in a great measure departed.”
2nd Tee Position
Darwin wrote, much of the terror was gone. “Few bunkers have a more infamous reputation than this Maiden, but the newcomer to the Sandwich of today will think she has done little to deserve it,” he wrote in The Golf Courses of the British Isles, published in 1910.
In the 1930’s the hole was changed again to the one we play today, the tee position moved further up the shore away from the 5th hole which gives the player full view of the green set inside a crucible of sand dunes which the Maiden dune flanking the left hand side.
One of the reasons why the 6th is still a favorite for many and why it is one of the prettiest on the course is because any way you look at the green there are sand dunes as a backdrop instead open sky which is not common on a links course. This makes it especially photogenic and has provided some of my most treasured captures.
The green today is two tiered, protected by four pot bunkers all close to the putting surface.