The course that we regard as England's very finest links first hit The Open rota in 1954

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Course Review

Green Fee Range: £165-£265

Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,381 Yards

Visitor Times: The course is open to visitors on Mondays, Tuesday afternoons from 14:10, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Friday mornings and some Sunday mornings between 11:30 and 12

Website: www.royalbirkdale.com

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Course Review

Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport hosted the Open Championship for the tenth time in 2017, and is regarded as one of the toughest, fairest and finest links in the UK.

Related: Top 100 golf courses UK and Ireland

The links at Royal Birkdale hosted its first Open as recently as 1954, but would have debuted 14 years earlier had war not intervened.

Since then, its place on the rota has been set in stone, and for many – Golf Monthly included – it remains England’s finest links.

The par-4 2nd green.

The holes play predominantly along the valleys between often-imposing dunes, largely a legacy of Fred Hawtree’s and JH Taylor’s routing from the 1920s.

This outstanding links is blessed with some of the most impressive, towering dunes in the country, and these frame the holes beautifully at the same time as creating excellent vantage points for spectators.

The par-3 4th hole.

Similar to Muirfield, Birkdale is regarded by many as one of The Open’s fairest tests.

The links sets its stall out from the start with perhaps the most demanding Open rota 1st hole, and you then play to all four points of the compass early on, with very few consecutive holes playing in the same direction throughout.

The dogleg-left par-4 10th hole.

The par 3s at 4, 7, 12 and 14 are as strong a quartet as you’ll encounter, with the standout 12th playing to a steep-fronted green set in an amphitheatre of dunes.

Such dunes are one of Birkdale’s greatest assets, for not only do they give the holes and greens great definition and character, but they also provide excellent vantage points, making this one of the best courses for watching The Open.

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The challenging 18th at Royal Birkdale

The 18th, which plays back towards the instantly recognisable white art deco clubhouse, is mercifully a very modest par 5 for you and me, rather than the somewhat sterner closing par 4 that contenders for the Claret Jug face.

There is a stiff par of 70 from the whites, but again unusually, a more generous 72 from the yellows that mean is it playable and most importantly enjoyable by all.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Hole By Hole Guide:

1 | 3 | 4 | 5 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 15 16 | 17 | 18

Course changes since previous ranking

New irrigation system

Proposed course changes

None yet planned

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Course Review – Golf Monthly Verdict

No classic links weaves through imposing dunes more impressively than this