Located at the northern end of this stretch of links golf coast in England, Royal Lytham & St. Annes has an illustrious past and has been the scene of many of the most iconic moments of Open Championship history. How could anyone forget those images of Seve Ballesteros playing from the carpark on the 16th hole back in 1969? Then in 1988, the first time that the Open had to be finished on a Monday because of inclement weather, Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Nick Price played the final round together, with the mercurial Spaniard again coming out victorious, but it went right down to the last to separate them. Ballesteros, speaking of his final round 65 said: “I think I played about as well as this game can be played.”
Royal Lytham & St. Annes was founded in 1886, one of the later courses to be opened in this part of northwest England. Like many of its kind, Lytham started life a little further down the coast, but it didn’t take the founding fathers long to move to its present site, and the task was completed by 1897. Home to eleven Open Championships, two Ryder Cups, the 2015 Walker Cup, Women’s Open and British Seniors Championships, there is little left for this magnificent links to host.
Royal Lytham & St. Annes is the only golf course on the Open Championship rota to start with a par three, and the railway line that runs alongside six of the holes on the opening stretch is as prevalent as on any seaside links. Lytham is not long by Championship standards, but the one thing that all Open Champions who have been victorious here have in common is a superb short game. The course has 174 bunkers, nine of which greet you on the 206yard first hole and are to be avoided at all costs. Another hole that we particularly enjoy is the par 5, 7th hole. The railway again runs down the right side, and the fairway is flanked by a series of deep pot bunkers that are to be avoided at all costs. Thick rough and mounding provided added complexity to this hole, and so two straight approach shots are a must. Fifteen bunkers line this hole, so shot placement is a must, find one, and the scorecard will look much different.
However, the Pro’s favorite hole is the relatively short par three 9th. At 164yards, distance is not the issue here. The green is surrounded by nine bunkers and the putting surface slopes back towards you for the most part. Anything short here is inevitably going to meander its way to a sandy grave, so ample club is required. Anything long is destined for the out of bounds — a superb par three test.
The finishing hole at Royal Lytham and St. Annes is everything you would expect it to be for the closing hole of a major Championship. At 410yards, distance is again not the issue. Two lines of bunkers, set at an angle across the fairway need to be negotiated to have any chance of finding this, the most abundant green on the golf course. You only need to ask Australian Adam Scott about those bunkers, finding one on the 72nd hole of the 141st Open in 2012, making bogey and missing out on a playoff with eventual winner, Ernie Els.
Royal Lytham & St. Annes is one of the most iconic golf courses in the world, and the Consummate Pro will be delighted to bring you to this beautiful part of the English coastline to enjoy a world-class golf experience alongside the likes of Royal Birkdale, Royal Liverpool, and others.