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GOLF HOME England Golf Ireland Golf New Zealand Golf Scandinavia Golf Scotland Golf Wales Golf

HOME AT FIRST's

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Some of the best (but not always best-known) British golf destinations.

 

ROYAL LYTHAM

& ST ANNE'S

Near Blackpool,

Lancashire, England

The landmark clubhouse at Royal Lytham & St Annes,
built to welcome the new moneyed classes of men and women golfers

Photo courtesy Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

ROYAL LYTHAM & ST. ANNE'S GOLF CLUB
LINKS GATE, ST ANNES ON SEA
England FY8 3LQ UK

Tel: +44 (0)1253 724 206
E-mail:
bookings@royallytham.org

ENGLAND'S GOLF COAST

          Golf courses are scattered across the British Isles, but not uniformly. Clusters of courses now line the dunes of former coastal wastelands at strategic points in Scotland (Ayrshire, Fyfe, Sutherland, Angus, and East Lothian), Ireland (Kerry, Claire, Sligo, Donegal, Antrim, Louth, and Dublin), Wales (Gwynedd, Clwyd, and Glamorgan), and England (Kent/East Sussex, and Merseyside/Lancashire). Lancashire’s western-facing coast opposes the Louth and Dublin coasts in eastern Ireland, and Merseyside is wedged between Lancashire and the Clwyd coast of North Wales. Compressed along this 50 miles of coastline from the Welsh border on the Wirral Peninsula at the estuary of the River Dee west of Chester, England, across the estuary of the busy, industrial River Mersey west of the perpetual hard times of Liverpool, and then north across the Ribble Estuary past Royal Lytham & St. Anne's Golf Club to the culturally-difficult-to-translate English resort of Blackpool, are some of England’s most important wetlands, numerous major and minor tidal stream mouths, dozens of sandy beaches tied to windblown seaside resorts of a certain hearty English tradition and lapped by the frigid waters of the Irish Sea, and a domino-chain of golf courses that together give this otherwise wet, windy, and often down-in-the-mouth region its singular upscale claim as England’s Golf Coast.

 

THE 'ROYALS': To be designated as “royal”, a golf course must have a sponsor from Britain’s Royal Family, preferably the reigning male monarch. “Royal” was officially bestowed on Lytham & St Annes by King George V shortly before the

 

course hosted the 1926 Open Championship, its

King George V at play. Photo courtesy Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC.
KING GEORGE V AT PLAY.
Photo courtesy Royal Lytham & St Annes.

first. George V was the most prolific “royaler” of golf courses. As a young golfer and as Duke of York, he “royaled” Royal Portrush (Ireland, now Northern Ireland, in 1892), and Royal Norwich (England, in 1893). As king, George V, who famously opined “golf always makes me so damned angry,” anointed many golf courses around the British world as “royal”, averaging one a year during his reign from 1910-1935, except for a six year World War I hiatus 1914-19: Royal Cinque Ports (Kent, England, a former British Open course, 1910), Royal Calcutta (India, 1911), Royal Ottawa (Canada, 1912), Royal Colwood (Canada, 1913), Royal Cape (South Africa, 1920), Royal Queensland (Australia, 1921), Royal Adelaide (Australia, 1923), Royal Port Alfred (South Africa, 1924), Royal Hobart (Australia, 1925),

 

Royal Lytham & St Annes (England, 1926), Royal

Mid Surrey (England, 1926), Royal Colombo (Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, 1928), Royal Burgess (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1929), Royal Harare (Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, 1929), Royal Fremantle (Australia, 1930), Royal Johannesburg (South Africa, 1931), Royal Durban (South Africa, 1932), Royal Canberra (Australia, 1933), Royal Quebec (Canada, 1934), and Royal Nairobi (Kenya, 1935).

Fairway, green, and bunkers on the linksland of Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club. Photo courtesy Royal Lytham & St Annes GC.

 FAIRWAY, GREEN, AND BUNKERS ON THE LINKSLAND OF ROYAL LYTHAM & ST ANNES GOLF CLUB.
Photo courtesy Royal Lytham & St Annes.

          In fairness, it may be that the “royaling” of Lytham was more the doing of George V’s wife, Queen Mary, than of the king himself. Lytham already had a reputation as a welcoming course for lady golfers, a posh course the elite matrons of the west Midlands could enjoy — including wives of Manchester industrialists who could take special golfers’ trains direct to Lytham in less than an hour. The Twenties were heady days for the sport: interest in golf grew immensely among both sexes; courses were springing up everywhere, especially where prime links land could be had; feminism encouraged sport for women, and golf clubs provided a safe, often exclusive environment with a socially acceptable status for newly liberated women with time and money. In the Twenties the socialite wife of the president of Lytham & St Anne’s, Violet Talbot, “was a close confidante of Her Majesty Queen Mary and was often invited to take tea with her at Buckingham Palace.” It may be Violet Talbot’s association with the queen that earned the club its “royal” in 1926, just prior to its holding its first Open Championship. The old, positive associations of Royal Lytham & St Annes with women golfers are ongoing today, for the course is also on the rotation of the Women’s British Open, the only major championship on both America’s LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour. Lytham has hosted the Women’s British Open four times so far: 1998, 2003, 2006, and 2009.


 

 

 

George Lowe Jr - course designer and club pro at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club. Photo courtesy Royal Lytham and St Annes GC.
George Lowe Jr.
course designer &  club pro
at Royal Lytham & St Annes

Photo courtesy Royal Lytham
& St Annes

A HISTORY OF THE COURSE DESIGN AT LYTHAM & ST ANNES:

          It’s a fair question to ask why Lytham is on either Open Championship rotation. It’s not especially scenic, tucked as it is between a rail line and a housing development a half-mile from the sea. It’s not especially old or historic. The club dates from 1883, but the original course site was abandoned in 1890 when it appeared its leasehold would be revoked for a proposed housing development. The new course was built 1¼ miles SE of the original track and opened in 1896. The course designer of the current course was the then club professional, George Lowe, Jr., hardly a name listed in the pantheon of immortal course designers. But Lowe, it turns out, deserves a second look. At Lytham Lowe turned a fine piece of linksland into a challenging golf course, with strategically placed bunkers (later multiplied by Harry Colt to earn its reputation as a bunker minefield — there are currently 206 on the course), blind shots, and a menacing grouping of closing holes.

          Despite criticism from vaunted designers such as Alister MacKenzie, and tweaking by latter legend Harry

 

Colt, Lowe’s work has endured, not just at Lytham

(1887), but also at nearby Royal Birkdale (1889) which credits its design to Lowe and Fred Hawtree, and, perhaps, at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake), too, where Lowe worked for twelve years. Credit Lowe with perhaps 120 (perhaps more like 40) other courses, too, most in England around and particularly in England’s northwest and north: Lancashire, Cumbria, and Yorkshire. Include in the list the interesting St Anne’s Old Links, which Lowe designed and where he served as club pro. St Anne’s Old Links occupies the portion of the original Lytham & St Anne’s Links that was not built over, and still uses two of the old course’s holes: 10 & 18.

          Two things Lowe cannot be credited with are the prevailing westerlies that sweep across the tracks from the Irish Sea unhindered and often accompanied by horizontal squalls, and the elegant, welcoming, civilized reputation of the club membership and its imposing late-Victorian clubhouse. Lowe’s “underrated” design has held up, as have the unwelcoming weather and welcoming membership at Royal Lytham & St Annes. The club’s accessibility remains excellent. Like its neighbors Royal Liverpool and Royal Birkdale, Lytham is within comfortable reach of most English golfers, and not an uncomfortable trip for golf fans from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Belfast, suggesting that at least in terms of geography England’s Golf Coast is the center  of the British golfing universe.

 


LYTHAM & ST ANNES FACTS & FIGURES

LENGTH & PAR:
Blue Tees: 7,118 yards, Par-70
Men's Red Tees: 6,731 yards, Par-71
Men's Green Tees: 6,360 yards, Par-71
Ladies' Orange Tees: 5,854 yards, Par-75

GREENS FEES for VISITORS (in UK pounds):
(Note: Greens Fee includes Green Fee Lunch)

April through September:
Sunday through Friday: £180/round
Saturday: £270/round

October & March:
Sunday through Friday: £130/round

Saturday: £195/round

November through February:
Sunday through Friday: £122/round
Saturday: £195/round

FACILITIES:
Pull Carts (Trolleys) - yes
Golf Club Rental – yes
Clubhouse with Bar & Restaurant
Pro Shop
Caddies - limited availability. Reserve in advance: Tel: +44 (0)1253 643793.

VISITORS are welcome daily:

HANDICAP RESTRICTIONS: Handicap Certificates must be provided before play.
Men: 21 Maximum.
Ladies: 30 Maximum.

TEE TIMES: Advance reservations are required.

RESERVATIONS: Deposit required — 100% of Green Fee total due with booking.
TEL: +44 (0)1253 643 790
Email: bookings@royallytham.org
ON-LINE AUTOMATED FORM

OR: Book your round at Royal Lytham & St Annes as part of your HOME AT FIRST trip to ENGLAND.

CANCELLATIONS: Deposits are non-refundable. Tee-times may be moved to another date/time within the calendar year, pending availability.

NOTES FOR VISITORS:
Dress Code Applies (see website)
Slow Play: bad form & a breach of etiquette
Cell Phones not permitted on course, practice areas, or in the Clubhouse.

Meals in addition to the Green Fee Lunch may be arranged in advance:
Tel: +44 (0)1253 643793

Overnight B&B Lodging at Lytham & St Annes available in the historic, comfortable Dormy House. Packages of B&B lodging with golf available. See WEBSITE.

ADDRESS & CONTACT INFORMATION:
ROYAL LYTHAM & ST. ANNE'S GOLF CLUB
LINKS GATE, LYTHAM ST ANNES
LANCASHIRE, England FY8 3LQ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1253 724 206
E-mail:
bookings@royallytham.org

LOCATION: Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club is within 150 minutes drive time or less from HOME AT FIRST locations in THE LAKE DISTRICT, NORTH YORKSHIRE, SHROPSHIRE/CHESHIRE, and NORTHWESTERN WALES.

DIRECTIONS TO ST ANNES ON SEA & ROYAL LYTHAM:

FROM THE LAKE DISTRICT: take the M6 motorway south to Junction (Exit) 32, then west on the M55 toward Blackpool to the motorway's end beyond Junction 4. Follow the A5230 (Progress Way) west and south to the B5261 (Common Edge/ Queensway/Heyhouses Lane) south to the B5233 (St Anne's Rd E). Turn right on the B5233 (St Anne's Rd E) SW, which you follow to St Patrick's Rd S. Turn left (southeast) onto St. Patrick's Rd S which leads to the golf course near its entrance on Links Gate.

FROM NORTH YORKSHIRE: take the A59 west and south to the M6 at Preston, then the M6 motorway south to Junction (Exit) 32, then west on the M55 toward Blackpool to the motorway's end beyond Junction 4. Follow the A5230 (Progress Way) west and south to the B5261 (Common Edge/ Queensway/Heyhouses Lane) south to the B5233 (St Anne's Rd E). Turn right on the B5233 (St Anne's Rd E) SW, which you follow to St Patrick's Rd S. Turn left (southeast) onto St. Patrick's Rd S which leads to the golf course near its entrance on Links Gate.

FROM SHROPSHIRE & CHESHIRE: take the M6 motorway north to Junction (Exit) 32, then west on the M55 toward Blackpool to the motorway's end beyond Junction 4. Follow the A5230 (Progress Way) west and south to the B5261 (Common Edge/ Queensway/Heyhouses Lane) south to the B5233 (St Anne's Rd E). Turn right on the B5233 (St Anne's Rd E) SW, which you follow to St Patrick's Rd S. Turn left (southeast) onto St. Patrick's Rd S which leads to the golf course near its entrance on Links Gate.

FROM NORTHWEST WALES: take the A55 east Conwy to Chester, then the M56 NE
to the M6 motorway north to
Junction (Exit) 32, then west on the M55 toward Blackpool to the motorway's end beyond Junction 4. Follow the A5230 (Progress Way) west and south to the B5261 (Common Edge/ Queensway/Heyhouses Lane) south to the B5233 (St Anne's Rd E). Turn right on the B5233 (St Anne's Rd E) SW, which you follow to St Patrick's Rd S. Turn left (southeast) onto St. Patrick's Rd S which leads to the golf course near its entrance on Links Gate.

OTHER NEARBY GOLF CLUBS OF NOTE:
Royal Birkdale, Southport, England.
Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, England.

St Anne’s Old Links, St. Anne’s.


 

 

ROYAL LYTHAM & ST ANNES
AND THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP:

          Royal Lytham & St Annes has hosted The (British) Open Championship eleven times, first in 1926, then ten more times in the 60 years between 1952-2012. The immortal amateur Bobby Jones led an American sweep of the 1926 Open: when Yanks (2 pros & 2 amateurs!) took the first four spots, and three more Yanks made the top ten. In 1952, South African Bobby Locke won the third of his four Open Championships by a stroke over Aussie Peter Thomson, who would eventually win The Open five times himself, including the 1958 Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Yanks Phil Rodgers and young Jack Nicklaus put the USA back in contention at Lytham & St Annes in 1963, but Kiwi lefty legend Bob Charles won his only The Open (and his only major), beating Rodgers in a 36-hole playoff. Charles and Thomson both came close to second Open Championships at Lytham & St Annes in 1969, but the top spot was taken – finally – by an Englishman, Tony

Bobby Jones on his way to victory in the first Open Championship ever played at Lytham & St Annes. Photo courtesy Royal Lytham & St Annes GC.
BOBBY JONES
on his way to victory in the
first Open Championship ever
played at Lytham & St Annes
Photo courtesy Royal Lytham &
St Annes.

Jacklin, who became the first Brit to win the Open in

 

 

18 years. In 1974 South Africa’s great Gary

Tom Lehman with the newly-won Claret Jug at Royal Lytham & St Annes, site of the 1996 Open Championship.
Tom Lehman
with the newly-won Claret Jug atRoyal
Lytham & St Annes, site of the 1996
Open Championship. His 271 total for four
days remains the lowest total for an Open
Championship played at Lytham & St Annes.

Player won his third Open Championship by winning at Royal Lytham & St Annes by four strokes. Player won each of his three Open titles in a different decade. The late Seve Ballesteros won the first of his three Open Championships at Lytham & St Annes in 1979. Nine years later, Seve returned to Royal Lytham and won his third and final Claret Jug, lowering his score ten strokes below his 1979 total. America’s Tom Lehman became the first Yank since Bobby Jones to win the Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes, when he won the 1996 tourney with an impressive 271, lowest Open score ever at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Five years later, fellow countryman David Duval won impressively, while the great

 

expectations of then world-beater Tiger

Woods fell silent.
          In 2012 Tiger would be disappointed again, but he would not be alone. Australia's Adam Scott, secure in his 4-stroke lead with but 4 holes remaining in The Open Championship, endured one of golf's great historic collapses, playing bogey golf while former champion Ernie Els waited in the clubhouse after charging through the back 9 and finishing with a birdie on 18. When Scott's painful implosion was complete, Els had his second Claret Jug, and Royal Lytham had a new chapter for its championship annals.

 

Blackpool circa 1890-1900 when Royal Lytham and St Annes moved its course to its present location.

Blackpool circa 1890-1900 when Royal Lytham
and St Annes moved its course to its present location.

 

 

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. A couple of miles north of St. Annes on Sea 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 city centers still extant in Britain.

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.

 


TRAVELING TO THE BRITISH ISLES TO PLAY GOLF?
Let
HOME AT FIRST make your advance tee-times at Royal Lytham and St Anne's 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.

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