Royal Lytham & St Annes - Lancashire - England

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club,
Links Gate,
St Annes on Sea,
FY8 3LQ,

  • +44 (0) 1253 724206

  • Golf Club Website

  • 1 mile SE of St Annes town centre

  • Welcome Mon & Thu - Contact in advance

Ten-time Open Championship venue, Royal Lytham & St Annes was the fourth English course after Royal St George’s, Royal Liverpool and Royal Cinque Ports to host the Open.

Date Winner Country
1926 Bobby Jones USA
1952 Bobby Locke S Africa
1958 Peter Thomson Australia
1963 Bob Charles NZL
1969 Tony Jacklin England
1974 Gary Player S Africa
1979 Seve Ballesteros Spain
1988 Seve Ballesteros Spain
1996 Tom Lehman USA
2001 David Duval USA
2012 Ernie Els S Africa

Royal Lytham & St Annes is the most northerly of the English championship links courses, situated only 10 miles, as the seagull flies, from its illustrious neighbour, Royal Birkdale. This monster links opened for play in 1897, eleven years after the club's formation, when it moved from its original location. George Lowe, the club's first professional, fashioned the links and the layout was further modified between the wars by Harry Colt.

This is definitely a links course, but it is no longer beside the sea. It now lies half a mile inland, but with Blackpool tower looming in the distance you know the sea isn't far away. Rather unusually, the links is surrounded by red brick houses and (less unusually) flanked on the west by the railway line. The guardian Victorian clubhouse always watches sternly over the links. Conditioning is often exceptional and not as rough and ready around the edges as many of its contemporaries. The ground is relatively even, except perhaps on a couple of holes, where the going is slightly undulating.

The course itself is extremely tough, only Carnoustie (on the British Open circuit) is thought to be tougher. Bernard Darwin describes Lytham’s challenges in his book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles:

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club played host to the 1961 and 1977 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Great Britain & Ireland. Team Captains in 1961 were Jerry Barber (US) and Dai Rees (GB). This 14th edition of Matches was the first to be played in two sets of 18-hole foursomes and singles, which doubled the number of points available from 12 to 24. Unfortunately for the British, this was the debut of Arnold Palmer, who, along with Billy Casper, has won more Ryder Cup points than any other American. USA 14 ½ - GB 9 ½.

Team Captains in 1977 were Dow Finsterwald (US) and Brian Huggett (GB & Ireland). Despite GB & I lobbying to reduce the number of matches to 20 and Nick Faldo winning all three of his matches while suffering from glandular fever, it was not enough to prevent the US team from winning its 10th consecutive Ryder Cup. However, this would be the last time that Britain and Ireland would compete alone against the mighty US; players from continental Europe joined forces with GB & I in 1979. The Ryder Cup was played at Eldorado in 1959, East Lake in 1963, Laurel Valley in 1975 and The Greenbrier in 1979.

“The trouble, besides the r ough grass and pot-bunkers, consists of sandhills, both natural and artificial. To build an artificial sandhill is not a light task, and it is characteristic of the whole-hearted enthusiasm of the golfers of St Anne’s that they have raised several of these terrifying monuments of industry.” At this stage we should remind ourselves that Darwin penned this in 1910, and, in those days, it was highly unusual to build anything other than bunkers, talking of which, the bunkers at Royal Lytham are many and annoyingly magnetic.

The greens are firm, fast and true, or as Darwin once said when he was playing a match at St Annes against an opponent who was a very good putter. “The truly-struck putt comes on and on over that wonderfully smooth turf and flops into the hole with a sickening little thud, and there we are left gasping and robbed of our prey.”

The 1st is unique because this is the only par three starting hole on the Open Championship circuit and it’s a long one, measuring 206 yards from the back tees. Ian Woosnam hit a fine tee shot here in the 2001 Open and then sank the putt thinking he’d made a birdie two. Unfortunately Woosnam was carrying 15 clubs in his bag. This cost the Welshman £225,000 and possibly the Open Championship title—it also cost his caddy around £20,000 and his job.

The 17th hole, a 467-yard par four, belongs to the esteemed Bobby Jones. As an amateur, he won the 1926 Open Championship, beating Al Watrous by two shots. A plaque (located close to the spot from which he nailed his second shot onto the green from a rough, sandy lie during the final round) commemorates Jones’s triumph and the mashie that he used for this remarkable shot is displayed in the clubhouse. The final hole is a relatively ordinary 414-yard par four and it’s a simple case of straight hitting to avoid the 15 bunkers that are trying hard to swallow the ball. The resurgence of British golf occurred here in 1969, when Tony Jacklin’s final drive avoided all the bunkers and he putted out to win the Open in a sea of emotion.

Royal Lytham and St Annes could never be described as a “classical” links course. It doesn’t have any giant shaggy dunes, nor does it have undulating roller-coaster fairways or pretty sea views. But it does have honesty and character by the bucket and spade load, and bags and bags of history.

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Description: Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club is the most northerly of the English championship links courses, situated only 10 miles from Royal Birkdale. Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Reviews: 66
T P Dean

Lytham was the last of England’s current top ten that I was yet to play, so naturally there’s a sense of anticipation of playing a course of this stature. It did not disappoint.

I’d visited the course nine years earlier to watch Ernie snatch the Open from Adam Scott and I may be hard pushed to say that the conditioning at Lytham during that week was any better than the day I played it. Fairways like carpet, pristine fringes, greens like velvet and immaculate pathways. Lytham was hands down the best presented golf course I have ever played.

Thankfully, Lytham is more than just an immaculately presented links. Indeed, this place is pretty special, and it would be a shame if the Open was taken away from the club. I’d previously heard negative remarks about the course being enclosed within a housing estate, but I feel that these are lazy comments. Everyone likes a links course to butt up against a beach with waves lapping against the dune-side, but the fact that the course is surrounded by houses only entered my mind on two or three occasions. You're kept captivated by what's going on in front of you at Lytham.

The land is ideal golfing ground too. Low lying dunes create visual interest and carve out the holes, and whilst the close to two hundred bunkers do give rise to Lytham’s infamy and add to the difficulty of the course, I would argue that only a handful of holes could be considered over-bunkered.

The opening few holes set you up for the stern test that is to come. Lytham demands a precise game. Large, contoured greens, shaven run-offs and thick rough keep you on your toes and the closing holes carry plenty of jeopardy that prevent you from ever feeling comfortable if you’re holding a score. There’s a lovely variety to the holes at Lytham, but it’s the middle of the round that will provide the fondest memories. The stretch from 7 through to 10 is one of the best within the Open rota. This sequence of holes starts with a gloriously bunkered long par five through the dunes and a railway lining the right hand side. No fewer than 15 bunkers are dotted through this hole. Then comes the wonderful 8th, the best par four on the course with a trio of cross bunkers wedged into the front of the green. Yet deception is everything on this hole as shortly after these bunkers is an area of dead ground before the putting surface that will naturally gobble up a ball from anyone fooled by the visual trickery of this approach when playing the course for the first time. 9 is just a wonderfully shaped par three. If this hole backed onto the seaside rather than suburbia, then it would be deemed to be amongst golf’s great short holes. 10 then wraps up this beautiful run of holes with some large mounding creating some visual intimidation and blindness to another clever hole.

Royal Lytham isn’t flawless. Not everyone will share the joy of playing the course that I did, but I’d advocate that this is a course well worthy of its top 100 world ranking. Oh, and make sure you try the sausage roll with a splash of mustard at the half-way house. It’s to die for.

July 02, 2021
9 / 10
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Neil White

What happened next? One of Question of Sport’s most famous captains and rugby union legend Sir Bill Beaumont began chatting to me on the driving range of his home course.

Later, Sir Bill’s group played through our quartet as we searched for yet another ball in the fierce rough, summed up the bonhomie of Royal Lytham & St Anne’s.

“Has it met your expectation?” he asked as he trundled past.

It certainly had and so, so much more.

Anyone who has an interest in the history of golf must visit the venue of eleven Open championships.

We had the delight of being invited by an international member who lives is Estonia but had grown up within a stone’s throw of the links.

He gave us the guided tour to a clubhouse which is akin to a museum of golf. There is a homage to Seve which almost prompted a tear of reverence alongside the club’s own trophy cabinet (if the members are good enough, they can lift a silver kettle or, even more bizarrely, a giant shrimp!).

At lunch we sat on the balcony where chatting onlookers had been told to be quiet as Gary Player flicked his famous backhanded wall putt on to the green in 1974.

I could have gone home satisfied before we even hit a ball on the famous old links (is it a links if it is a couple of miles inland?) but I am glad I didn’t.

It is a privilege to attack the first hole – a par three which sums up Royal Lytham. Keep out of trouble and success can follow. Find a bunker and it probably won’t.

I had watched endless instruction videos because of the course’s infamous 174 deep sand traps.

I knew all about the need for a wide stance, lowering my tailbone (I didn’t even know I had one before last week), a wedge which could balance a wine glass and smashing the sand hard.

The problem was that I didn’t expect to have to put practice into play quite as often or the bunkers to be quite as steep.

Anyway, they bore significant responsibility for my inability to register anything like a good score.

Nevertheless, I could appreciate the glories of this historic course.

Every hole has been described countless times by people with greater knowledge than me, so I shall resist giving my less-than-expert view on all of them

Instead, I shall stick to my personal takeaways.

I was enamoured of the holes which ascended while running parallel to the railway track which appeared to be a magnet for errant drives (seriously, how many balls hit trains?).

The 7th was a stand-out for me – a par five which demands that even great tee shots weave between bunkers before an attack to a green which is guarded by more greedy traps and a grassed dune.

Having been chastened on day one, I played it thoughtfully on day two only to three putt!

Ah, did I mention the mystery of Royal Lytham’s greens? They all appear to be flat and straight and yet none of our group, including one compadre who had a superb round, could sink anything about eight feet. I still don’t know why.

I digress.

The 8th was my personal favourite. A short par four to a green perched high, forcing a shot over three traps akin to gaping whale mouths beneath it.

The only hole which I felt was a bit out of sync was the 13th – yes, it has the usual deep bunkers and greenside trees which stand at about 70 degrees as a symbol of how the wind can get up but it seemed something of an afterthought in my opinion.

I agreed with our host that the 15th is a brute of a par four and that the 17th is a great hole with a dogleg which inspires big decisions about whether to risk a blind second shot over the corner with heavy rough and bunkers lurking.

And then there is the 18th. Surely, one of the greatest holes in golf.

On the second day, our host insisted that we play from the championship tees and was so right to do so.

We felt what it must be like to have the eyes of 45,000 spectators and the TV commentators describing every move.

When I lowered my tailbone for the umpteenth time and clipped it out of the greenside bunker to within seven feet I could imagine their acclaim. After I missed the putt, I could visualise them groaning and slipping off to the bar without offering a single clap.

Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s is an unbelievably good course, its history is superbly presented and I was lucky enough to play it in wonderful company.

But our visit would not have shone as much if it hadn’t been for the friendliness of its welcome.

From the steward as we walked in the steps of giants into the fabled clubhouse, to the staff serving our ample lunch, the accommodating team in the pro shop, the members such as Sir Bill wishing us well and the poor lass who sat in the halfway house for half an hour waiting for the last round of the day to come past, this was natural hospitality.

What happened next?

We had the time of our lives.

June 26, 2021
9 / 10
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Greg Watson

So lucky to play here again recently in an inter club match. I have so many fond memories of the course going back 30+ years.

The bunkering is perfectly placed and as tough as I remember it from 5 years ago. There is no let up or holes that can be navigated without caution.

Course condition was immaculate as one would expect, a must play for all golfers in my opinion.

Highlight of the day for me was getting up and down on 18 from a similar position to my hero in '88, albeit quite not as much at stake or as crisply struck but made me happy.

June 24, 2021
9 / 10
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Phil Ree

What Lytham lacks in dunes and sea views it makes up for in character and soul. It is still deserving of a place on The Open rota, and from speaking to the extremely friendly staff on site it sounds like they’re working hard to obtain another one.

The front 9 reminds me of St Andrews – the bold line that gives you the best approach angle must challenge the OOB down the right. You can bail to the left but you’ll be left with a harder, possibly blind second shot. A yardage book is essential so you can try and thread the bunkers. These are all really sharply cut yet sit grandly and naturally in the landscape. As balls feed into them you’re often left with an awkward stance or swing. A couple of sandy scrapes have now been added, which I don’t particularly like but maybe those areas looked that way 100-odd years ago.

The back 9 will definitely separate the men from the boys (I’m certainly the latter) as you play back into the prevailing wind. The finish is as hard as anywhere, with some long par 4s and a couple of blind shots with wind whisking away anything off-line, probably lost. A post-round beer on the balcony overlooking the 18th is always well deserved.

My favourite part of the course is the far end with 8 playing up Lytham’s largest hill, then the picture postcard short 9th. These two holes stand out because of these quirks, beyond that it is all a stern, consistent yet diverse test. Just maybe a couple of the par 3s aren’t as memorable as other courses’ are. Hopefully they get another Open as seeing today’s big hitters taking on the railway line and ample bunkers would be box office entertainment.

May 24, 2021
8 / 10
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Tony Daley

We were lucky enough to play Royal Lytham & St Annes earlier this year and as I sit down to reflect on my year of golf it was the absolute stand-out experience. The first Open venue I have played, on arrival, you do not get a sense of great grandeur that you might expect, however, walking through the doors of the clubhouse and stepping on the worn-away paving stone where so many champions have walked certainly started to build the anticipation and first tee nerves.

We had lunch before our round out on the famous balcony overlooking the 18th green and first tee box. From here you get a great outlook of the scale of the course, the train line that runs alongside the first few holes and the Victorian housing that surrounds the property on all sides. If you have time, it’s well worth a stop.

Having made the most of the practice facilities, including a fair few bunker shots (more to come on that front) and holing a few putts on the practice green in front of the stunning Dormy house, we stepped out in front of the pro-shop to begin our round.

What followed was a four-hour tour-de-force golfing experience.

The first hole is a testing par 3 which is well protected by pot bunkers and requires a solid first swing of the day. And it doesn’t let up much from that point on. The second is a perfect example of the examination to come – deep pot bunkers on the right hand side of the fairway at 188 yards and then again on the left hand side at 267. They loom ominously large from the tee box.

All of the holes were brilliant tests of strategy and required strong tee-to-green game. Once you managed to find the putting surface, the greens were in fabulous condition, running fast and true.

I could go into great detail on all of the holes but that has been done before here. However, to pick out a few highlights…

The long, straight par five seventh with bunkers on both sides of the fairway, train tracks back in play further right and gorse bushes further left. If you can keep it straight, your second is either a lay-up between 6 bunkers or go for the green which is flanked by dunes on the right and bunkers on the left. An immensely fun challenge.

Holes eight to ten are the best on the course. The famous elevated green on 8 precedes the incredible ninth, tucked in at the far end of the course. My first birdie of the day made it extra special. Ten is then the turn towards home, playing blindly up through the dunes with a second shot down to a sloping green.

Fifteen is another long par 4 that requires a long second shot into a well protected green.

And then 18. A truly special closing hole on a truly special links.

No, it doesn’t have the most visually stunning surroundings. But it really makes you question your whole game, the entire way around.

We stayed in the dormy house overnight and were able to repeat the fun the next morning. I can’t recommend this highly enough – fantastic accommodation and a brilliant breakfast. Our party also all commented on how welcome we were made to feel by the members, especially playing on a Saturday morning in a tee time that would usually be reserved.

Would also recommend a game of ‘camel’ to keep track of the number of bunkers you end up in. Our group found 44 across the two rounds. Practice your bunker game before you go!

December 26, 2020
9 / 10
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Rob Gibson

This might be the most unspectacular location of any of the Open Rota courses, but it’s an unbelievable layout. If you’re miss is right for the first 10 holes of the golf course, you are going to be in a world of hurt! Most memorable hole for me was 8, a beautiful tee shot down the hill before approaching the plateaued green. 7 is also a monster of a par 5. I also managed to negotiated the last 4 holes in level par, a member playing another hole walked past me on another tee near 18, think it is 16 and said Adam Scott would pay me good money for that finish!! The staff here also are so hospitable and refunded my dad who came and walked and couldn’t play because he hurt his back the day before at Birkdale, incredibly kind of them. Members we ran into were all so nice too! Such a pleasant place!!!

November 10, 2020
10 / 10
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The championship course at royal lytham is about as pure as it gets big run off areas around the greens punishing any approach short or slightly offline intimidating tee shots and the most bunkers iv ever seen.

The front 9 is my favourite holes 6-10 are the standouts for me along with the famous 18th playing towards the iconic clubhouse Holes 13 to 17 are fairly flat but are brutally tough

Friendly staff, superb clubhouse the place is just special it’s not for beginners though it’s brutal

October 27, 2020
9 / 10
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Robert Blair

Royal Lytham & St Annes may not have the beautiful ocean setting of some Open venues, but it makes up for that with top quality holes. A very interesting course that needs your attention at every turn. There are a lot of tight tee shots on the front 9 with bunkers littering the fairways. It's worth playing strategically, rather than ripping driver everywhere as the bunker's are among the deepest I've every come across. The 2nd 9 opens up somewhat and you can let loose on a few more holes. However, careful approaches are needed as there are many run offs around the greens and some tricky bunkers waiting for any mistakes. The course was very scoreable if you hit it straight, and have a bit of luck. I can see it being a beast if the wind got up and the course was playing hard and fast. Overall, I thought it was a great mix of holes with some great short holes around the turn. A true test that will ask you to play all the shots in your locker and more.

August 27, 2020
9 / 10
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Mark White

I played Royal Lytham & St Annes several years ago. When I return to the area, I will update my review to see if my two criticisms of the course have been addressed.

After playing Royal Lytham & St. Annes, I summed up the course as follows:

- Much more difficult than it appears due to the many bunkers and out-of-bounds on holes two, three, eight, ten and twelve. The club website lists 174 bunkers. I challenge anyone to play a round there and not be in at least five bunkers (my personal record is being in 24 bunkers the first time I played Oakmont which at the time had nearly 200 bunkers, down from its peak of nearly 300 bunkers).

- It is a relatively ugly golf course with the housing, railroad line and somewhat cramped land at the turn. The bushes and trees seem to be disfigured here as if someone put something evil in the ground. For me, I find Carnoustie the least attractive and this course ties Royal Liverpool. The course is completely surrounded by suburbia. However, it forces one to focus on the course rather than be distracted by natural beauty. Thankfully, the walk up eighteen if fabulous due to the clubhouse and Dormie house.

- Needs better contours near some of the greens.

- The bunkering is fantastic and makes the course. Many of the bunkers are hidden. The bunkering is very punitive and requires decision-making to avoid them. The slopes near many of the greens will take a ball into a bunker.

- There are grassy hollows and dells on many holes.

- I favored the holes with the elevated greens due to the variety they provided.

- Oddly enough, I did not mind starting on a par 3 even if the hole is not special.

- The key is to drive the ball well.

- It is one of the hardest courses I have ever played despite relatively wide fairways on many holes.

- The back nine routing moves around more than the front nine which has a loop on holes 4-6 whereas the back nine changes directions from holes 12-18.

- The most interesting land is near the corner where there are some hills and dunes but overall it is basically a flat course

- The best holes are the finish from 15-18 with 7-9 also strong holes.

- Seven is an excellent par 5.

- Eighteen needs at least five more bunkers (just kidding).

- Much like Royal Troon, the eighteenth finishes very close to the clubhouse so one hopes they play the hole without having a disaster to avoid having people watching in the clubhouse, although they would likely sympathize with one’s plight.

- After the changes made preceding the 2012 Open, this is a course that is at its full potential, unless the club wants to start buying nearby housing or relocate the wonderful clubhouse. Not many other courses can say that.

Bernard Darwin once wrote of Royal Lytham & St Annes, “It has beautiful turf, but not much else of beauty. It is a beast, but a just beast.”

No one really knows why the course begins with a par 3 although speculation is because the first hole once had a small pond to its right or it may be they wanted to keep the hill for the second hole rather than the first.

To add to some of my comments regarding specific holes, the first hole requires a long tee shot to carry over many bunkers fronting the green. For me it is the least interesting hole on the course and I am happy to have it out of the way.

The long second and third holes require one to be bold. On the par 4 second hole you want to favor the right side of the fairway after the hill as the left side can lead to a blind shot due to the higher mounds. If you go in the cross bunkers placed on the hill off the tee it is likely a dropped shot. There is another set of cross bunkers about 310 yards from the back tee are an issue for longer players. The green only has a slight slope at the front.

On the par 4 third hole you want to be as far left as you can although the left side has three bunkers. There is a difficult bunker on the back left of the green. The green is slightly elevated with a fall-off at the back. The grass is very tall on both two and three on the right side near the bushes and trees on both holes.

I like the sharp dogleg left par 4 fourth hole where one should be on the right side of the fairway for a better view of the green. I felt the green was too flat.

The par 3 fifth hole has some of the steeper contouring near the green making balls fall into bunkers.

I like the sixth hole that doglegs off to the left and consider it to be a very good par 4 for the Open due to the excellent placement of bunkers throughout the hole, particularly the cross bunkers short of the green as well as the ones surrounding the green. The green is narrow at the front. For me it plays as a par 5.

The seventh is a very good par 5 due to the green embedded into the high sand dunes. 40 yards short of the green are more cross bunkers built into a rise. The green slopes to the front left towards a deep bunker. Prior to the 2012 Open, the green was moved about 40 yards farther back while re-creating the previous green complex.

The par 4 eighth has a marvelous plateau green as well as a tighter driving line due to the out-of-bounds on the right. There are cross bunkers again short of the green that if you get close will lead to a blind approach shot. The left front bunker is very deep and must be avoided. I like this hole a lot.

One of my favorite par 3’s in Open golf is the short ninth, surrounded by nine bunkers to a slightly raised green sloped back to front. The house behind the green is attractive enough that it does not take away from the marvelous hole but the other housing is unsightly. Trees and gorse await if one slices their tee shot but really should be out of play (it wasn’t for one of my playing partners).

The tenth hole is the most attractive hole on the course, a longer par 4 that is tree-lined on the right side and well bunkered in front of the green. The tee shot must thread the mounds which I think are the tallest on the course. There is a deep bunker on the left side of the fairway. There is also a steep fall-off behind the green which is one of the most undulating on the course. I like this hole.

Eleven is my second least favorite hole on the course as a long par 5 but with huge bunkers scattered everywhere. The rough is high, there is a grouping of trees, and a narrow fairway for the second shot. Others likely favor this hole, but I find it to be overly punitive all the way to the undulating green. Prior to the 2012 Open, this hole was substantially lengthened with a tall hill added to create a dramatic tee shot.

At this point the dunes essentially disappear for the remainder of the course.

Twelve is another terrific par 3 to a raised green again surrounded by bunkers. The green is angled left to right and large with a false front. It is debatable which par 3 is better – nine or twelve. For me, it is the ninth.

Thirteen, a short par 4, is lined with bunkers nearly all the way into half of the green. This is the most fun hole on the golf course. The green is one of the better contoured greens on the course.

Fourteen is a challenging par 4 as one makes sure they avoid the bunkers on the left with their second shot. The green ends right at the road, much like the twelfth. For me it is the second most difficult hole on the course given the rough, mounds on the right, and cross bunkers further up the fairway.

Fifteen is a beast of a hole, a long par 4 with the fairway rising slightly and falling a bit to the right. Smaller dunes are on either side of the hole along with another set of cross bunkers. I think this is the most difficult hole on the golf course despite a flat green, others would say the seventeenth. Jack Nicklaus, in the 1974 Open said, “God, it is a hard hole.”

Sixteen offers a blind drive with a marker for a guide on the hill. There is another raised green on this short par 4. Much like the thirteenth, the hole has bunkers lining the fairway into the large green.

Seventeen is the famous hole where Bobby Jones, after his ball found a sandy waste area on the left, still managed to get to the green in two shots from what looked like a certain pitch out. His mashie, which is inside the clubhouse, had to be hit with perfection to carry rough, bunkers, and scrub land to the green where his ball ended inside that of Al Watrous, who was shaken enough to three putt. For longer hitters, the tee shot needs to find a narrow landing area given all of the bunkers on both sides of the fairway which is a dogleg left. There is another set of cross bunkers but likely not in play for most players.

The par 4 eighteenth has bunkers everywhere on the fairway with bushes on the right and tall grass on the left. The green is equally well defended, if perhaps disappointedly too flat. The view of the clubhouse and Dormie house is one of the best in championship golf, equal to Muirfield or Trump Turnberry.

As I said earlier, I think Royal Lytham & St Annes has gotten the most from its land as any course on the Open rota. There are not many easy holes here, although some of the greens lack the inner contours of other championship links courses. One should not three putt very often and if close to the hole, they have an excellent chance of holing a putt within fifteen feet. I also found some of the movement near the greens to be lacking. But on other holes there are possibly too many slopes near the greens pushing one’s ball into a greenside bunker. It is a bit repetitive. But the course is expertly defended for its length. It is a course that requires both excellent ball striking and decision-making in order to make par. I prefer this course above a few others on the Open rota, but even if near the bottom of the Open courses, it is a very good golf course that will demand nearly everything from your game with the possible exception of the putter once on the green surfaces.

I do have it at the lower end of my top 100 in the world because it combines challenge and strategy very well.

July 09, 2020
9 / 10
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Peter Handcock

Lytham is fantastic and well deserved of its ranking in the world.

Before you tee off, enjoy the clubhouse and the history, and treat yourself to something in the pro shop, as it has one of the best logos in the UK.

It's worth saying that you won't break your handicap. It is the hardest of all the Open venues, no matter what tee you play off. The 200+ bunkers are everywhere and are the biggest defence of the course. But if you go out and just enjoy the course, and don't care what you shoot, you will have a blast. When I played it I actually began wanting to hit it in bunkers, just for the fun of the carnage that was waiting for me.

I love how it starts with a par 3. It's different, not easy, but quirky, and a nice start before you get beaten up on holes 2 and 3. My favourite holes are 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17 and 18. The worst hole on the course is still a 7/10, which is a huge compliment to the consistently high quality of holes. The railway runs parallel to holes 2, 3 and 8, and does come into play.

Hole 9 sums Lytham up. You're surrounded by buildings, and can't see the sea. It's only 150 yards, but the green is small. If you hit a good shot, you will be rewarded with a birdie look. However, if your shot is just slightly off, you will be in a bunker at least 5 foot deep. At a guess there are 8 of these bunkers around this green.

A real must play if in the area, but as I said, don't expect to shoot your handicap. Don't moan if your ball runs into a bunker. Just enjoy it.

April 28, 2020
9 / 10
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