How to Play Royal Birkdale – A Rough Guide Around England’s Most Regal Links
Ranked the best course in England by Golf Monthly, Royal Birkdale has seen more than its fair share of drama over the years. The Greencard Tour is heading to Chester in in June giving our guests the chance to experience one of the truly great links courses.
As one of the most demanding courses on The Open rota it has played host to victories by Peter Thomson (twice), Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Ian Baker-Finch, Mark O’Meara and Padraig Harrington
Possibly the most dramatic victory at Birkdale was earned last year by Jordan Spieth when after 20 minutes he eventually played a 3 iron from the practice ground on his way to 3 birdies and an eagle in the last 5 holes to win by 3 shots form Matt Kuchar.
So how do us mere mortals tackle such a beast? We asked our resident PGA Professional Paul McLean to help us out with some insider pro tips – so here is our guide on how to play Royal Birkdale including some of the key holes around the famous links.
If you are either joining us on the Greencard event, or simply have a round booked independently on this iconic Open Championship links these tips will help you make the most of your day, and enjoy your golf on what has to be a bucket list course for any amateur golfer.
1st Hole – Par4/Par 5, 430 /408 yards, S.I. 11/8
Possibly one of the toughest opening shots on any course for men and ladies, with many of the professionals taking an iron for safety. It is a par 4 for men, a pa5 5 for ladies. As always, the centre of the fairway is ideal, but the left side is favourable as the ball often kicks to the right however, avoiding the bunker on the left is a must.
A good tee shot makes for a possible green in regulation with an approach shot that should kick forward on to the green providing you miss the bunkers left and right. The green tends to make the ball run away to the back of the green so take your two putts, two points and run
7th Hole – Par 3, 140/114 yards, S.I. 17/18
The shortest hole on the course but don’t let that fool you. No fewer than 7, yes 7, pot bunkers and prevailing wind into and off the left will protect this undulating green. Take plenty of club to get you to the middle or even back of the green, there is no future in being short and buckle up for some tough putting.
Again, walk away with 2 points and you are in great shape.
We couldn’t write this without including the now famous 13th hole. Not the toughest hole on the course with a prevailing wind behind, usually making the hole play shorter. Unless of course you follow Jordan Spieth’s line off the tee in to the mounds on the right which resulted in a drop onto the practice ground and second shot of some 240 yards.
We suggest a more conservative tee shot favouring the left side. This will an approach shot to a generous green. The green runs away at the back so make sure of the right club selection to give you a chance of picking up a 3 point hole.
18th Hole – Par 5, 465/441 yards, S.I. 10/9
Playing as a par 5 from the yellow tees for men and red tees for ladies, the 18th is one of the best closing hoes on The Open rota. Out of bounds right and a well bunkered green protect this hole but as a par 5 it is definitely a good chance to record a high scoring finish.
Without question the highlight is putting out in front of the iconic Art-Deco clubhouse to complete a memorable experience at true links championship course.
Don’t just take our word about the course, watch Royal Birkdale’s Head Professional Brian Hodgkinson’s video for his expert views on how to play Royal Birkdale and more tips on how to approach and enjoy your round on one of the best courses in the UK.
North West Wonders
We are sure the Chester leg of the 2018 Tour will provide some lasting memories. Not only Royal Birkdale, but our other venues at Conwy, Caldy and home of the Stableford, Wallasey, will provide wonderful support acts to the main event.
For more information on the Chester trip and our other events in the 2018 calendar please visit our Chester & Royal Birkdale Tournament page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on our new number +44 (0)208 191 7798.