Royal Birkdale

royal birkdale scenic
Kevin Murray
3 Photos

Royal Birkdale

  • Course Type

  • GOLF Top 100 World Rank (2023-24)

  • Year

  • Architects

    George Low Jr., 1889 / Fred Hawtree, 1932
  • Par

  • Yardage


Course Overview

Despite the links’ setting among towering dunes, many consider Birkdale to be the “fairest” Open rota course as most of the holes roll through valleys and blind shots are few. Peter Thomson won the first Open played here, in 1954, and Birkdale has staged nine other editions, most recently Jordan Spieth’s remarkable win in 2017. Both nines are beautifully balanced, and its great holes are evenly spread across the course. Two of the best are the 1st, a tough two-shotter that swings left through a valley, and the one-shot 12th, with its hard-to-hit green surrounded by peril. The 12th was added in the 1960s by Fred Hawtree Jr., making it one of the youngest holes on the Open rota. (Photo: Kevin Murray)

3 things to know

  • Hole everyone talks about

    No. 12, par 3, 181 yards: You don’t want to come up short of this well-protected green, which is not only surrounded by deep pot bunkers, but also rolling dunes covered in thick rough.
  • Best non-golf amenity

    Enjoying a post-round libation overlooking the 18th hole in Royal Birkdale’s famous art-deco clubhouse is a must-do.
  • Insider tip

    While it is possible to get a tee time at Royal Birkdale, you’ll need to book well in advance. The course is closed from November to April, and when it opens, visitors are allowed to play on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and some limited times on Sundays.