The 2017 Open Championship is on England’s thrilling Golf Coast
England’s Golf Coast
- The 40 miles of coast in North West England from just South of Liverpool, North to Fleetwood, has a series of magnificent sand dunes, ideal for links golf courses.
- Towards the centre is Southport, a smart seaside town with three highly ranked courses including England’s #1 Royal Birkdale.
- This coast has 3 current Open Championship venues Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham.
- Sharing the same coast are more highly ranked courses, Hillside, Southport & Ainsdale, Formby and West Lancashire.
The Open Championship will be played at Royal Birkdale from 20-23 July 2017, hosting The Open for the tenth time. Ireland’s Padraig Harrington won by four shots from Ian Poulter the last time the Championship was played there in 2008. Other Open Champion winners at Birkdale have been Tom Watson, Mark O’ Meara, Ian Baker-Finch, Peter Thomson won in 1954, and again in 1965, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, and Johnny Miller.
Royal Birkdale has staged many prestigious tournaments including the Ryder Cup in 1965 and 1969. The 1969 tournament has been remembered as one of the greatest sporting events of all time. The match was even and went right down to the wire with 17 of the 32 matches being decided on the last hole. On the final day at the 17th Tony Jacklin scored a majestic Eagle three, setting up a thrilling final hole. For the first time ever a Ryder Cup match was halved, Tony Jacklyn’s final tricky two foot putt on the 18th was conceded by Jack Nicklaus to half the game and the match. This was a gesture of supreme sportsmanship which has never been forgotten.
Royal Birkdale stands out as a perfect example of links golf. It is frequently ranked as the best course in England. The Birkdale Club was has always been progressive, members voted in favour of ladies using the links back in 1889. One of the first tournaments held was the 1909 Ladies’ British Open Matchplay Championship. The clubs standing was recognized in 1951 when King George V1 bestowed the Royal charter making it ‘The Royal Birkdale Golf Club’.
The Championship Course is currently 7.180 yards. Visitors normally play the yellow tees which at 6.381 yards is a real test even for the most proficient golfer. The wind often whistles down the fairways from the sea, adding to the challenge. Each hole runs through a background of high dunes, the fairways are flat and fair and a ball on the fairway rarely goes off-course. Each hole is impressive, the 18th measures 478 yards and is heavily bunkered creating some exciting finishes. On the 16th hole, a plaque commemorates Arnold Palmer’s great shot in appalling weather conditions, on the way to his Open win 1961.
This coast in North West England cannot be surpassed for quality golf in Great Britain. Furthermore you can play these outstanding courses from a single base hotel.
Royal Lytham & St Anne’s was founded in 1886 and is one of the premier links courses in the world, host to ten Open Championships, two Ryder Cups and numerous other major tournaments. Bobby Jones won the first of his three Opens here and after sailing back to the USA on the Aquitania was given a ticker tape reception in New York
Royal Liverpool known as Hoylake links can be beautiful, uplifting, awe-inspiring and, on occasion, soul-destroying. They were created to be a demanding test of golf and remain so. They lie at the very heart of the history and development of golf in Great Britain. Built in 1869, it is the oldest of all the English seaside courses with the exception of Westward Ho! In Devon. 6900 yards, Par 73.
Hillside Golf Club is alongside Royal Birkdale, amongst the same stretch of sand-hills. It is a true links course where the holes meander through majestic sand hills following the contours of the dunes and valleys. But, Hillside is more subtle than a traditional links, with tranquil pinewoods to enhance the visual impact of several holes. (6850 yards, par 72)
Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club is a championship links with a profusion of heather and gorse providing a challenging and immensely enjoyable experience. It has hosted 2 Ryder Cup matches, many prestigious championships and is a final qualifying course for The Open. All the holes are of championship standard but if one had to be singled out it would, be the sixteenth.
Formby’s links are set amongst coastal sand dunes and towering pines. The fairways are undulating and flat lies are rare. Strategically placed pot bunkers and frequent changes of wind strength and direction add to the hazards. Accuracy is required throughout since the indigenous heather forms much of the rough and great caution is required whether this be off the tee, in approach shots, or on the green. (7028 yards, par 72)
To learn more about the 2017 Open Championship visit here.