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The 149th Open Royal St George's
The Maiden
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Royal St George's iconic sixth hole
An aerial view of Royal St George

On any occasion when Royal St George’s stages The Open Championship, there is one picturesque short hole always sure to command plenty of attention.

Known as the Maiden, the sixth at Sandwich is an iconic par-3 that ranks among the most scenic on The Open rota.

Its name is derived from the huge greenside dune that rises high above its surroundings to provide a premium vantage point.

The founder of Royal St George’s, Dr William Laidlaw Purves, likened the shape of the dune to the ‘Jungfrau’ summit in the Swiss Alps, and so ‘the Maiden’ was born.

In the club’s early years, the hole presented the fiercest of challenges due to a tee position that meant players had to hit a blind shot over the peak.

The original tee location did not last for long, however, and the modern-day sixth hole provides a more conventional challenge, with the signature dune now positioned to the left of the green when viewed from the tee.

Fans cheer Phil Mickelson at Royal St George's sixth hole

Now it is no longer between the tee and the putting surface, the dune serves as one of the most popular viewing spots for spectators, who can look down upon a target guarded by four bunkers.

And the last time The Open was held at Royal St George’s in 2011, the fans who gathered around the sixth on Friday afternoon were treated to a magical moment from one of golf’s greats.

Five-time Champion Golfer of the Year Tom Watson recorded a hole-in-one from 178 yards, the only ace at the Maiden in the last five Championships at Sandwich dating back to 1981.

Regardless of whether another hole-in-one occurs at the Maiden in July, Royal St George's short sixth is sure to be one to watch.