The Birkdale—along with Sandwich, Turnberry and the Old Course—constitute my pantheon of top Open courses, past or present. Though there are plenty of fairway bunkers, most every tee shot here asks the golfer to decide how much risk can be taken to create a reward opportunity for the next shot. All but one of the par fives provide the same challenge on the second shot. And the running approach is in play on all but the short par three holes.
Another fine feature is the routing. The course meanders through (not over) the dunes in all directions, giving the golfer the chance to experience the oft present wind in a variety of ways.
Date: May 17, 2019