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Golf Course Reviews - Europe


Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Name: Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Location: Southport, Merseyside, England
Par: 72
Length: 6305m
Holes: 18

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

It has hosted two Ryder Cups, the Walker and Curtis Cups, the men's and women's British Amateurs, the Women's British Open and, on eight occasions, the Open Championship, and indeed is second only to the Old Course at St Andrews when it comes to the numbers of Opens played on it's highly renowned 6305 metre par-70 links course which includes the standard four par-three short holes, but only two long par five holes.


The seaside destination of Southport plays host to some of England's finest links courses and the best of them all is Royal Birkdale Golf Club. You do not have to travel far to find someone who convincingly argue that Royal Birkdale - the Open was last held here in 2008 - is the finest of all the Open Championship courses. The course first hosted the Open in 1954 and since then has hosted the venerable old Championship nine times including the 1971 100th staging of the event. Brkdale has also been a venue for the Walker Cup, two Ryder Cups and much more besides: Little question of whether or not the much treasured Royal title, bestowed in 1951, is deserved. As anyone watching the 2008 Open will be aware Royal Birkdale is a stunning example of links golf at its very best - and it shares that old links trait of being a very different course depending on the weather. Like all Open venues Birkdale has an aura that the visitor will sense as soon as they set foot on the tee. A stunning course with a stunning history.

Founded by a group of eight golf enthusiasts on July 30th 1889, the original nine-hole course was extended to eighteen holes by the turn of the century. The first major reconstruction at Royal Birkdale occurred in the early 1930's when five-times Open Champion J. H. Taylor and course architect Charles Hawtree joined forces. Work aimed at fine-tuning the links has been ongoing over the years and it is to the credit of the club that all the greens were redesigned and rebuilt between the Opens of 1991 and 1998 - such is the forward-looking attitude of the club.

As for the golf course itself, Royal Birkdale is exceptionally fair, with the problems associated with each hole clearly stated. With each hole essentially running along valley-like fairways amidst towering dunes, the sound advice is to avoid sampling the punitive delights of the sand hills, buckthorn and thick scrub. It is nigh impossible to select any particular hole for special praise. It suffices to say that right from the off, having negotiated a 385 metre par four, double dogleg start, Royal Birkdale will provide the links purist with a profound golfing experience, which will linger in the memory as long as you live.

Visit the Royal Birkdale Golf Club's website: Royal Birkdale Golf Club


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