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HOME AT FIRST's

GOLF CENTER

          Visit this center to learn about special golf features of HOME AT FIRST travel programs in Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, Scandinavia, and New Zealand.
          See our extensive
Course Guides for each country, keyed to
HOME AT FIRST's destination regions in each location.
         
HOME AT FIRST also provides advance tee time bookings and pre-paid golf outings for many of the courses of Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, Scandinavia, and New Zealand as part of its travel packages.
          For more information visit these
Course Guide pages:

SCOTLAND GOLF

IRELAND GOLF

WALES GOLF

ENGLAND GOLF

NEW ZEALAND GOLF

SCANDINAVIA GOLF

 

 HOME AT FIRST's Currently Featured Golf Course:

— Ten Times an Open Championship Venue —

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

BIRKDALE, SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND

Photo courtesy theopen.com

 VIEW FROM THE FIRST TEE at Royal Troon Old Course

Rated #35 in the world outside the USA, and #5 in England,
Royal Birkdale is one of three Liverpool area courses along the Sefton Coast 
on the venue rotation of The Open Championship, which it next hosts in July, 2017.

Royal Birkdale is rated #35 in the world on Golf Digest's List of Top Courses.

          Royal Birkdale shares the extensive dunes of northwestern England's Sefton Coast with five other golf courses and several nature reserves and recreation areas. The course takes its stewardship of this fragile habitat quite seriously. A hole-by-hole guide to the flora and fauna of Royal Birkdale makes for interesting reading, especially in light of the inherent conflict of maintaining an exclusive, irrigated golf course on land belonging to an ecosystem dependent upon the changeability of its composition due to tides, wind, sun and rain.

Photos courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

BIRKDALE, SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND

royal birkdale Hole 3, 406 yards, Par-4, #7 HANDICAP

 

          Royal Birkdale is one of three NW English coastal links courses to regularly host the British Open. Along with local linkses at nearby Royal Lytham & Saint Anne’s and Royal Liverpool (better known as HOYLAKE) the Blackpool-to-Liverpool coast will have hosted five of the last twelve Open Championships— 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2017—putting this thirty miles of coast lining the Irish Sea on a par with the three classic Open host courses similarly placed over thirty miles of Scotland’s North Sea coast: MUIRFIELD, ST. ANDREWS, and CARNOUSTIE (2005, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2015).


First green at Royal Birkdale
Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

          For the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of

 

Saint Andrews, the Open’s sanctioning body, to award this otherwise unremarked coastal region of Britain with such Open Championship frequency suggests the setting — and these three courses especially — offer the game something special. In the case of Royal Birkdale, currently ranked by GolfDigest.com as the 35th best course in the world, the special something is the Sefton Coast, almost 5,000 acres of dunesland, the largest such environment in the United Kingdom.

 

THE HISTORY OF ROYAL BIRKDALE GOLF CLUB

18TH GREEN & CLUBHOUSE — ROYAL BIRKDALE GOLF CLUB

The landmark clubhouse at Royal Birkdale, built audaciously to show the golfing world the club's ambitions.
Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

          It wasn’t always this way at Royal Birkdale, of course. The club, originally

 

building a locally organized 9-hole course, first came together in

Arnold Palmer on his way to victory in The Open, Royal Birkdale, 1961.

Arnold Palmer
on his way to
victory in The
Open at Royal
 Birkdale, 1961.

1889. Eight years on the club moved to a new 18-hole course spread among the dunes of the Birkdale Hills. Over the ensuing 110+ years, evolution has remained active at Royal Birkdale. Looking to upgrade to championship course standards the club hired five-time British Open champion J. H. Taylor and British course architecture firm Hawtree to redesign Birkdale. In 1935 as the new course design was underway, Birkdale built a grand new clubhouse in a modern, 1930s rectilinear style, a form that has been faithfully maintained despite several subsequent changes and additions. Birkdale’s unusual clubhouse has become the iconic image of the course, but tournament play has put the course on the map of world golf. Starting with the British Amateur Championship (at the time still a major tournament) in 1946, the revamped Birkdale Golf Club became the venue for numerous top-echelon golf tournaments. Once it was awarded “Royal” status — bestowed on the course by Queen Elizabeth II’s father King George VI in 1951 — Royal Birkdale caught the greatest prize in UK golf: joining the rotation of courses hosting the annual British Open Championship.

          The Open Championship has been played at Royal Birkdale in 1954 (winner: Peter Thomson), 1961 (Arnold Palmer), 1965 (Peter Thomson again), 1971 (Lee Trevino), 1976 (Johnny Miller), 1983 (Tom Watson), 1991 (Ian Baker-Finch), 1998 (Mark O’Meara), and most recently in 2008 (Padraig Harrington).

          The 10th scheduled Open Championship for Royal Birkdale

 

(& 146th Open overall) occurs July 16-23, 2017.

 

VISITING THE COURSE

5TH GREEN, 343 YARDS, PAR-4, #13 HANDICAP

ROYAL BIRKDALE GOLF CLUB

LENGTH & PAR:
Blue Tees: 7,173 yards, Par-71
White Tees: 6,817 yards, Par-72
Yellow Tees: 6,381 yards, Par-72
Red Tees: 5,793 yards, Par-75

GREENS FEES:
Weekdays April–September: £205/round
Weekends April–September: £235/round
Weekdays October–March: £155/round
    (includes soup & sandwich lunch)
Weekends October–March: £190/round
    (includes soup & sandwich lunch)

Rugged fairway approach to the 10th green at Royal Birkdale. Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale G.C.
Rugged approach to the 10th green
at Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

FACILITIES:
Pull Trolley - yes
Motorized Buggy – restricted to those
    unable to walk the course
Golf Club Rental – yes
Restaurant (advance booking of meals
    recommended for visitors)
Bars
Clubhouse
Lodge
Pro Shop

VISITORS: Welcomed every day.
Handicap certificate required.
Proper attire required on the course.
Men must wear jacket & tie in the
   clubhouse dining room after 7PM.

TEE TIMES:
Advance reservations required.

RESERVATIONS:
Tel: +44 (0)1704 552 020
Email:
    secretary@royalbirkdale.com
ON-LINE BOOKING

Or, let HOME AT FIRST pre-reserve your golf tee-times at
Royal Birkdale as part of your
vacation package to Britain.

HOME AT FIRST
adds no booking charge for this service.

ADDRESS & CONTACT INFORMATION:
ROYAL BIRKDALE GOLF CLUB
Waterloo Road, Birkdale, Southport
England PR8 2LX UK
Tel: +44 (0)1704 552 020
E-mail:
secretary@royalbirkdale.com

LOCATION: Royal Birkdale is within 150 minutes drive time or less from
HOME AT FIRST
locations in:
THE LAKE DISTRICT
NORTH YORKSHIRE
SHROPSHIRE/CHESHIRE
NORTHWESTERN WALES

DIRECTIONS TO SOUTHPORT & BIRKDALE:

FROM THE LAKE DISTRICT: take the M6 motorway south to Junction (Exit) 27, then east on the A5209, east on the B5242, the A570, and the B5243 into Birkdale.

FROM NORTH YORKSHIRE: take the A59 west and south to the M6 at Preston,
then the M6 motorway south to Junction (Exit) 27, then east on the A5209,
east on the B5242, the A570, and the B5243 into Birkdale.

FROM SHROPSHIRE & CHESHIRE: take the M6 motorway north to Junction (Exit) 27, then east on the A5209, east on the B5242, the A570, and the B5243 into
Birkdale.

FROM NORTHWEST WALES: take the A55 east Conwy to Chester, then the M56 NE
to the M6 motorway north to Junction (Exit) 27, then east on the A5209, east on the B5242, the A570, and the B5243 into Birkdale.

OTHER NEARBY GOLF CLUBS OF NOTE:
Royal Liverpool Golf Club (Hoylake)
Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s Golf Club

Traveling to Britain to Play Golf?
Let
Home At First make your advance tee-times at Royal Birkdale and many other British golf courses as part of your pre-reserved independent fly/drive trip itinerary. There’s no extra charge for this service.

MORE RESOURCES:
GOLF IN ENGLAND
Home At First's travel programs to ENGLAND & NW WALES.

THE COURSE & SOME NOTABLE HOLES

6TH HOLE — 488 YARDS, PAR-5, #1 HANDICAP
Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

          The Hawtree/Taylor design created a course among the dunes, not atop them. The fairways and greens stretch along the valleys between the uplifted sand banks, following the natural contours of the rills. To some extent, the wind is kept less a major factor than at other true links courses, as long as golfers keep the ball low and play the fairways. But, errant shots will find major trouble in the scrub of willow and buckthorn that makes up the dense rough covering of the dunes. The championship course yardage is long and par relatively low for a true links at 7,173 yards, par-71. The dunes also serve as excellent perches for onlookers to watch the tournament progress in the fairways and greens below. There are four par-5s at Royal Birkdale (3 par-5s on the championship lay-out), and two of those — at holes 17 & 18 — can be birdie opportunities to finish the back nine. However, there are several long par-4s, that provide the great test at Royal Birkdale. Some key holes on the course are: 

HOLE 9 — 410 yards, Par-4: Not one of the long par-4s at Royal Birkdale, but certainly among the trickiest. A blind tee shot must find a plateau in the narrow fairway before the dogleg right. A second shot requires hitting a rounded, elevated green protected in front by bunkers and in back and to the right by dense scrub.

The 9th hole leads to an elevated green guarded
by menacing pot bunkers and thick scrub.

The 9th hole leads to an elevated green guarded by menacing pot bunkers and thick scrub. Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale G.C.
Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

 

HOLE 12 — 181 yards, Par-3: In the absence of wind, this long par-3 from elevated tee to elevated green requires correct club selection and an accurate shot. Windy conditions greatly increase the odds of the first shot finding on of the four pot bunkers protecting the front of the green or of flying the green and reaching deep depressions or hillside scrub behind the green.

An elevated green protected by dense rough and
deep bunkers becomes a difficult target when the
Atlantic winds are blowing across Birkdale's sands.


Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

 

HOLE 15 — 544 yards, Par-5: If a birdie is to be earned on this long, narrow hole, no fewer than 15 bunkers (13 lining the slender fairway) must be avoided. The challenge is daunting enough on a calm day, but magnified by any wind.

The fairways at Royal Birkdale may be
flatter than those of many true links
courses, but they are full of land
mines. Witness the pot bunkers
lined up ahead of the 15th green.

The fairways at Royal Birkdale may be flatter than those of many true links courses, but they are full of land mines. Witness the pot bunkers lined up ahead of the 15th green. Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale G.C.
Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

 

HOLE 18— 472 yards, Par-4/5: A long par-4 from the championship tees is a reasonable par-5 for mortal golfers. Still, this last dance at Royal Birkdale requires avoiding four strategically placed fairway bunkers and negotiating the thinnest of aprons to the green. Pars are readily available here, but birdies usually require some risk-taking.

The 18th green can reward
long-hitters and risk-takers
with a last-chance birdie
at Royal Birkdale.

The 18th green can reward long-hitters and risk-takers with a last-chance birdie at Royal Birkdale. Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale G.C.
Photo courtesy Royal Birkdale Golf Club

 

 

THE REGION

10TH GREEN, 408 YARDS, PAR-4, #14 HANDICAP

 

THE REGION: England’s Golf Coast offers a wealth of golf courses for golfers of all levels of skill and wealth. But if the golf is great here it is not the principal claim-to-fame for this diverse region of northwestern England. Not far south of Southport (Birkdale) is the classic, quirky English seaside resort of Blackpool—known for its electric excesses and unkind climate—eclectic enough to amuse and confuse Americans with a glimpse of English masochistic eccentricity. A few miles further south is the port city of Liverpool. For most Americans under the age of 65, Liverpool & Merseyside are much better known for their great musical contributions of the 1960’s, collectively known in the USA as the British Invasion. Leading the charge, of course, were the Beatles, whose hometown of Liverpool now courts American tourists with attractions including the Magical Mystery Tour, Cavern Club, and The Beatles Story. South of Liverpool is the small city of Chester, gateway to North Wales, and proud conserver of one of the great walled medieval

Liverpool's most famous sons draw visitors from around the world to attractions like The Beatles Story. Photo credit britainonview - Ingrid Rasmussen.
Liverpool's most famous
sons draw visitors from
around the world to
attractions like
"The Beatles Story".

Photo credit britainonview - Ingrid Rasmussen

city centers still extant in Britain.

 

TRAVELING TO THE BRITISH ISLES TO PLAY GOLF?
Let
HOME AT FIRST make your advance tee-times at Royal Birkdale and many other British and Irish golf courses as part of your pre-reserved trip itinerary to Britain and/or Ireland. HOME AT FIRST offers independent, flexible, fly/drive travel to England and other great golfing destinations in the British Isles. There’s no extra charge for this service.

MORE RESOURCES:

Golf in England

Home At First's ENGLAND travel programs to:
SHROPSHIRE & CHESHIRE  THE LAKE DISTRICT  YORKSHIRE

Home At First's WALES travel programs to:
NORTHWESTERN WALES  MID-WALES

Want to learn about other courses throughout the British Isles
including some of the greatest tests of golf in the world? See our
ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND, and WALES
Course Guides for more information.

— HOME AT FIRST —