- Steve Baker
ROYAL BIRKDALE - A PERFECT PLACE FOR GOLF
A true test of golf, Royal Birkdale was founded in 1889 and on eight occasions has played host to the most famous championship of them all, The Open.
Measuring 6817 yards from the white championship tees, the links demands far more than simply distance, although this is a particular challenge when the wind comes in off the sea, and seems to gather strength as it funnels through the valleys of giant sandhills.
A perfect place for golf.
Royal Birkdale located in Southport, on the golf coast of the United Kingdom. The area is blessed with terrain that was put on earth to build golf courses on and Birkdale does not disappoint.
As a visitor to Royal Birkldale you must ensure that you pre reserve your tee time in advance and although societies are more than welcome, tee times are restricted to Wednesday and Thursday.
As all golf aficionados will be aware, Royal Birkdale is steeped in history, having hosted the British Open Championship 8 times, the Ryder Cup, Ladies British Open, Walker and Curtis Cup matches, not to mention the Amateur Championship.
For those that have strolled the hallowed turf of Royal Birkdale it is not difficult to see why the course has been awarded so many tournaments. It offers a test to all golfers, and if the wind blows it can feel as the golfing gods are wishing you to enter into golfing hell.
The dress code is strict, with a “jacket” rule required for guests attending the clubhouse after 6pm, golfing tradition at its best in my opinion.
Royal Birkdale does not only boast a fantastic course, but is a recognised sanctuary for endangered wildlife and the fauna and flora that is present on and around the golf course is abundant. A particular delight is the Baltic Rush, the only known population within the UK.
The course is tough, and you get thrown in at the deep end on the first, a par 4 with out of bounds flanking the right of the hole. An accurate drive is required to give you a chance of hitting the green protected at the front by bunkers. It has to be one of the best opening holes that I have played. A par is a brilliant score.
Throughout the 18 holes, golfers are required to hit fairways, which at times are narrow and blind. The course drainage is superb, resulting in hard fairways which lend a helping hand to the golfer. Miss the fairway and you are going to be hunting for your ball, and when you find it, getting it out is not a straightforward task even for the better player.
The greens, are as you may expect from an Open Rota golf course, are exceptional, true and quick. The various pot bunkers dotted around the course will test even the most confident of bunker player.
The par 3’s are varied in length keeping the golfer interested and testing all their skills with both the mid and long irons. A particular favourite of mine is the short par 3 7th. An upturned saucer style green is protected by 7 bunkers, so accuracy is key.
The 18th is a spectacular finishing hole, a par 5 for the amateurs. The drive over a heath land to a fairway protected by out of bounds to the right and various pot bunkers means that an accurate and long drive is essential. The green is well protected by a number of bunkers making the approach to the green in front of the imposing club house a little bit more difficult.
Overall the course is well worth a visit, and although more expensive than some Open courses, the atmosphere and history makes Royal Birkdale an absolute must.
You will not be disappointed.