Even the members know that discretion is the better part of valour when it comes to Royal Lytham and St Anne’s 206 cavernous bunkers.
“Sometimes in the early spring when the rough is up and the wind is blowing, the members will say, ‘I’ll just let this one go and play next week,’” the club professional, Eddie Birchenough, told the New York Times during the 2012 Open Championship.
Sadly for the Walker Cup teams preparing to do battle this weekend, that’s not an option.
But that’s okay by Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan, the only player on the GB&I team with Walker Cup experience following his excellent performance at the National Golf Links of America two years ago, where he won two points out of four.
“The venue is huge for us because it is so difficult,” said links specialist Moynihan, who became a two-time Irish Amateur Open Strokeplay winner at Royal Dublin in May and is joined in a record-breaking Irish presence by Paul Dunne, Gary Hurley, Cormac Sharvin and Jack Hume.
“You could shoot four or five over around Lytham and win your match handy on the day," added Moynihan, who will partner Hume in the anchor foursomes in partnership with Hume before taking on Jordan Niebrugge in the anchor singles. "You have to play very well to shoot under par. Put it this way, it’s the hardest links course I have ever played.”
The man from The Island, 20, won the Scottish Amateur Open at Panmure last year and he’s determined to say goodbye to the amateur ranks with a Walker Cup win as he prepares to make his professional debut in next week’s Italian Open as part of Chubby Chandler’s ISM stable.
Beating the Americans is never easy but Moynihan knows that if the GB&I squad have one thing on their side, it’s their knowledge of the venue where they play the Lytham trophy every May.
“I think it will be a huge advantage against the Americans, who are aren’t used to playing that kind of golf and are used to shooting under par all the time,” he said.
“They will be struggling for pars a lot of the time and our mindset will be a bit better for that type of golf. It’s an advantage… if we play well, obviously.
“Mentally it’s a battle. It’s unreal. You are going to miss around six or seven greens because you are going to hit a bad drive or get a bad bounce somewhere. Your short game has to be good, especially your bunker play because there is not much rough, it’s all bunkers.
“It will be an advantage in a pressure situation, I feel. You will know where to miss and that can only be a help when the pressure is on.”
GB&I’s other big advantage could be the ready made foursomes partnerships that the five Irish, two English and three Scots have built up in recent years.
Moynihan regularly pairs up with Jack Hume while Gary Hurley and Paul Dunne are unbeaten in nine games together and Cormac Sharvin can play with a host of players, including his University of Stirling team mate Jack McDonald.
Winning foursomes points is always crucial but Moynihan knows that Nigel Edwards’ team has to do better in singles to have a chance going into Sunday.
In 2013, Nigel Edwards’ team lost the first singles session 6.5-1.5 to go into Sunday 8-4 down, eventually falling 17-9.
“The last time we never really had a chance to win, it was more or less over on the first day so just to have a chance on Sunday is what we want,” Moynihan said.
“Obviously we’d like to be leading but the Americans, you are not going to hammer them, so it is just about keeping in touch and making sure we are around all square — one ahead, one behind — going into Sunday.
“There are 14 points on Sunday so anything can happen there. To have a chance to win is what we want and hopefully we can take that chance.”
Moynihan knows that Great Britain and Ireland has a strong, compact unit capable of grinding out great scores on tough links courses.
All 10 have great short games and while driving is key at Royal Lytham and St Annes, their mental games will be up to the task against another stellar USA squad.
Despite lasting just over a year at the University of Alabama before returning home complaining of home sickness, Moynihan learned he has nothing to fear from the top Americans having shared a room with Robbie Shelton and played against many of the US side in college golf.
“I shared a room with Robbie Shelton so I hope I’m playing him in singles,” chuckled Moynihan, who went 1-1 against Patrick Rogers in their two singles in 2013 and believes that his familiarity with the US college players can only help.
"They have a good team with Robbie, Beau Hossler, Bryson DeChambeau. They are all good players and good lads as well but we’ve played them in college golf and done well, so it’s just a question of how it goes on the day.
“All we want is to win back that trophy. I don’t care if I lose all four matches as long as we win that trophy. It’s our last time together as a team and it would be nice to go out on a high, especially against the Americans.”
Apart from home advantage and the great core partnerships among the Irish, England and Scots, GB&I’s other edge could be non-playing captain Nigel Edwards, who is going for his second win in three matches.
“Nigel is a great captain,” Moynihan said. “If he isn’t asked to do the job again, he will be hard to replace.
“He’s played four in a row not long ago and holed the winning putt. He knows what goes on and what the players want because he was still playing just a few years ago.
“I personally think he is a great captain. Okay, we lost last time but he is great at the speeches and getting us pumped up, getting messages from guys like Paul McGinley and Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose. We’re up for this."
11 September 2015, Royal Lytham & St. Annes, England: The 45th Walker Cup match gets underway on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 September 2015. Details of the foursomes and singles matches for Saturday are provided below.
45th Walker Cup, Royal Lytham and St Annes
United States of America v Great Britain & Ireland
- 09:00 Maverick McNealy / Hunter Stewart v Ashley Chesters / Jimmy Mullen
- 09:10 Beau Hossler / Denny McCarthy v Paul Dunne / Gary Hurley
- 09:20 Jordan Niebrugge / Robby Shelton v Cormac Sharvin / Jack McDonald
- 09:30 Lee McCoy / Mike McCoy v Jack Hume / Gavin Moynihan
- 13:45 Bryson DeChambeau v Ashley Chesters
- 13:55 Hunter Stewart v Paul Dunne
- 14:05 Scott Harvey v Grant Forrest
- 14:15 Denny McCarthy v Jimmy Mullen
- 14:25 Maverick McNealy v Ewen Ferguson
- 14:35 Robby Shelton v Gary Hurley
- 14:45 Beau Hossler v Jack Hume
- 14:55 Jordan Niebrugge v Gavin Moynihan