Royal Birkdale Golf Club is one of the most illustrious golfing associations in the world. The club was formed in 1889, and has played host to all the great golfing occasions possible, having seen two Ryder Cups, nine Open Championships and six Women’s Open Championships played out on its fairways. It is hard to think of a more prestigious golf club in the world.
Given the number of high profile competitions there, it is only natural that Royal Birkdale has seen its share of historic moments. In the 1969 Ryder Cup, Jack Nicklaus performed one of the great gestures of sportsmanship of all time, conceding Tony Jacklin’s final putt to halve their tie and end the competition as a draw. The act is still referred to as “The Concession”. In 1971, Lee Trevino won the 100th Open Championship when it was hosted by Royal Birkdale.
Royal Birkdale has a majestic layout. It boasts all of the natural features of links golf courses, with gorse, mounds of dunes and unfavourable rough all to be found along the course. The pot bunkers, which are littered around the course, are not for the faint hearted. Royal Birkdale is certainly a stern challenge, as would be expected given the great championships it has hosted, but it is far from an unmerciful slog. The course offers plenty of opportunities to make a score. Two of the par fives are less than 500 yards, and the course is not overly long at 6817 yards.
Whatever the numbers on your scorecard, the princely panoramic views and vistas on the horizon are always enjoyable. With the Open Championship returning in 2017, it is further confirmation that Royal Birkdale is the standard bearer for English golf, one that every serious player must get around to playing.