Architects: George Lowe (1898), JH Taylor and Fred Hawtree (1935), Martin Hawtree (2012)
Stats: 6,817 yds, par 72, SSS 75
GF: £180
Visitor information: No visitors on Tuesday morning, Friday afternoon and Saturday. Limited times available late Sunday morning.
W: royalbirkdale.com
2010 Ranking: 5 (no change)

Improvements since 2010 Rankings:
Course: 17th green re-laid in the Autumn of 2011

Panellists’ Comments: “Dramatic holes carved through the dunes mean you play much of your round in glorious isolation”; “Fabulous collection of par 3s” “A course that encourages you to open your shoulders off the tee and attack the greens. If you can find the fairway off the tee the closing stretch offers plenty of opportunities for birdies”; “The short par 4s are superb – most courses would be lucky to have one of these but Birkdale has four classics.”

Complete 2012 ranking 1-100
The next 100 courses
Win the golf trip of a lifetime
2010 rankings
How many of the Top 100 Courses in UK & Ireland have you played?