The Birkdale (as it was originally named in 1889) was my second stage of The 3 Royals Adventure in 3 days. The trip was planned several months ago and I was certain that it would not be possible to play here but until the last moment I kept my illusion alive. The alternative plan was playing Hillside which is not bad at all, but I wanted to play the best English Course of the Open Rota. The day started early in the morning with my friend Andy at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s and I was not supposed to play at Birkdale despite Andy had made many tries with no success. My disadvantage was not only the not availability of tee times, but the sharp times as Lytham is almost 45mins away, but once we finished the round we called the proshop and we were encouraged to make the try. We arrived 4.30pm and with almost no time the Proshop Manager told me “Get your driver and fire it”. I had not time to spend at the Shop and only bought a flag, but at least I could play the course on my own. It was tough as I had no caddie, no yardage book, I was not that familiar with the course and although sunny it was windy. But it was a super experience, I got to know and play the course and under an amazing twilight sun I enjoyed one of those great golfing experiences. The Course was in pristine shape, maybe even better than Lytham and Hoylake, greens rolling extremely true and fast, fairways hard and like carpets, rough dense and tough, all in one in brilliant condition. I loved all the holes, but especially 1st, 4th, 6th, 9th and 17th – 18th. It was nice to finish birdie on 17th and then holing a 30 footer for eagle on 18th for a great 74 from the tips. Once I made the putt some members on the terrace clapped at me and I felt really happy, as they invited me to join them for a beer. A complete golfing day ended walking another special Club House with history. One last note: I cannot believe the Senior Open lost by Bernhard Langer in 2013, I walked into that bunker and the shot is not that difficult for a player of his status. It is unbelievable what pressure or lack of concentration can do, but he lost it. If I have to value the 3 Royals I would say: Birkdale is the nicest, Hoylake is the one that I felt more traditional and Lytham was the toughest to score. But loved them all 3 and hope to return in the future, it is really worth to be played again.
Date: February 03, 2015