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Golf Course Reviews - Europe

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

Name: Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
Location: Lancashire, England
Par: 71
Length: 6882 yards
Holes: 18

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

The layout of Royal Lytham & St Annes has remained faithful to the original created by the clubs first professional, George Lowe, over a century ago. The only significant changes where made in 1919 when the club asked Harry Colt, the pre-eminent course designer of the time to make recommendations for improvement.

It is not a conventionally beautiful golf course, surrounded as it is by suburban housing and flanked by a railway line, but it has a charm all of its own. It is a Links course that is a long way from the sea yet close enough for the sea breeze to have an effect on one's game and was aptly described by Bernard Darwin, the leading golf writer of the thirties, as 'a beast of a course, but a just beast'. He went on to say that 'no one could fail to be impressed by its difficulties, which sets a golfer just about as ruthless as an examination as any course of my acquaintance'.

Ryder Cup Captain Mark James wrote " And Lytham was set up magnificently in 2001 (for the Open Championship), perfect for the world's premier golfing event. I do not think they could have prepared that course better. It was a perfect combination of width of fairways, length of rough and pace and quality of greens. It should be used as a model for future Opens. Everyone who knows Lytham knew that it would be the one course where Tiger Woods would not have a big advantage because of the distance he hits, as there are relatively few holes where you can carry the trouble. Tiger could not tame it".

It is renowned as a course on which is it hard to scramble a good score, after all, there are 200 bunkers peppering the fairways and surrounding the greens. It may not be the longest of courses but it is one where careful thought and accurate shots are required.

As Darwin wrote, 'hit your ball to the right place and the way to the hole is open to you, but hit your ball to the wrong place and every kind of punishment, whether immediate or ultimate, will ensue'.
Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
Royal Lytham Golf Club was founded in 1886. The course we know so well came into being some 11 years later in 1897, the Clubhouse a year later in 1898.

Royal Lytham is, arguably, the premier links course in the world. It has hosted 10 Open Championships, two Ryder Cups and countless other major tournaments including the Women's and Seniors Open Championships.

Although the course has undergone some changes over the years, the layout today is much the same as it was when the club's first professional, George Lowe, created it more than a century ago. True, there have been a few significant changes since then, but none have drastically altered its wild and beautiful character. Through the years 1919 - 1923 Harry Colt repositioned some of the greens and tees, added a lot of new of bunkers, and lengthened the course.

It's been said that Royal Lytham is not a beautiful course. I'd have to disagree. To me it has a wild and scenic beauty found only on a few other links courses of its ilk: Turnberry in Scotland is one that comes to mind.

Yes, it's a links course, but it's quite a long way from the sea, though close enough for the gulls to wheel overhead and the heady scent of the salt spray to waft across the greens.

Royal Lytham is a tough course. More than 200 bunkers guard the narrow fairways and it's rumored that unearthly beasts stalk the rough waiting to swallow every wayward ball, and even the odd wayward player.

They say it's tough to scramble a good score at Lytham. I'd say they were right. True, the yardage might lull you into thinking you can crack it, but beware. When you stand on the first tee you're looking out over 6,263 yards of some the wiliest-designed golfing terrain on the English map.

So, you'd better leave the big clubs at the hotel. Either that or buy yourself a couple of dozen spare balls. This is one tough old lady.

Visit the Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club's website:Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club


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