One of my first memories watching golf on TV was Seve’s win in 1979 after driving the ball all over the place in those last 6 holes, including that shot on 16 from the parking lot where they had to move a car in order for him to be able to hit the shot. And maybe since I got my handicap that I wanted to visit and play Lytham, a dream that finally came true thanks to my dear friend Andy who put together for me the 3 Royals in 2 days in what was one of those golfing experiences that you can never forget and I will always be thankful for opportunities like this.
We arrived early in the morning although we had an 11.20am tee time, with the will of getting an earlier tee time in order to be able to arrive to Birkdale with enough time to play all 18 ( I finally did and played them on my own, but that is another story). Unfortunately there were no earlier tee times so we had enough time for a nice coffee at the Members Lounge and a walk along every spot of the Club House, which shows memories of Seve and Bobby Jones all over the place: pictures, frames, scorecards, old clubs, trophies and a lot more give the Club House that historic touch than only these types of venues have. All I can say it was unforgettable. After that we were headed to the practice green which we enjoyed for nearly 45 minutes before heading to the first tee. I won’t say nervous, but I reall wanted to hit that 7 iron. There are a lot of memories from that hole: Woosnam’s 15th Club in 1996 while Jack Nicklaus was in contention, Duval’s masterful performance where some of the images I had. And that shot came 15 feet from the cup and nearly made it a birdie. From 2 to 7 my golf was not good, got caught by some cross bunkers, missed some putts and the worst came on 7th where after a 314yds drive and a good hybrid I was not able to get out of the bunker and another bogey for a +4 before starting 8th hole.
The fast fairways became a problem and I had no clue on how to solve it, but from that moment onwards my game arrived and really enjoyed it: 2 putts from “the moon” on 8th for par, a PW towards 3 feet on 9th, a fabulous up and down on 10 from left side and another birdie on 11th put the round in place. That hole 12th is a great par 3 where it is tough to figure out real distance and where the angle to attack the green makes it even tougher. And finally the great six final par 4s, all of them very different from each other but with challenge in every shot you make: without missing a shot I scored four pars and 2 bogeys, it was tough to solve it but in the end 76 shots was good and I was very happy.
When standing on the final tee I still had in mind Adam Scott getting caught by a cross bunker which I flew over with the driver (20yds further tee, downwind and not playing the 72nd hole of the Open Championship!), but my ball stayed in deep rough and only managed to just get to the green before a 2 putt par. The view of the Club House standing on the 18th tee is just fantastic. We finished the round and we didn´t have time to eat something, just a quick visit to the proshop to buy some stuff and rush to Birkdale, as I had to complete the second stage of The 3 Royals Adventure.
It was great to share this round with a friend like Andy, having a lot of time to chat and discuss about golf, The Open, Ernie Els, Scott, Seve and a lot more! Another huge memory that I keep in my golf treasure box and just want to add: if you like the game of golf, Royal Lytham and St Anne’s is a place you need to visit!
Date: February 03, 2015