The 146th Open Championship (16th – 23rd July 2017) is one of the most eagerly awaited major championships for many years, and understanding the nature of the course could be especially important if you’re betting in-play. Therefore, we thought we’d bring you a Royal Birkdale Course Guide.
#1 – Par 4 – 448 Yards – Stroke Index 11
A tough start for any player, and finding the fairway off the tee is usually very important for anyone wanting to attack the pin with their second shot.
#2 – Par 4 – 422 Yards – Stroke Index 3
Often plays harder than it looks, as it is often into the wind, whilst the dog-leg is guarded with two fairway bunkers.
#3 – Par 4 – 451 Yards – Stroke Index 7
Bunkers on the left of the fairway make many players play away from them, but it’s the left side of the fairway that offers the best line into the green. A newly contoured green-surround should also provide players with plenty of imagination to show it should they miss the green
#4 – Par 3 – 199 Yards – Stroke Index 15
An elevated tee makes this long par-3 play shorter than its yardage, but an accurate shot is still required to avoid the many bunkers that surround it.
#5 – Par 4 – 336 Yards – Stroke 13
A risk-reward hole that dog-legs from left to right, but longer-hitters can take the dog-leg out of play with an accurate tee-shot.
#6 – Par 4 – 499 Yards – Stroke 1
A beast of a hole, that requires players to thread a tee-shot between fairway bunkers. Players still usually have a long second shot after that, whilst the flag can also be placed in several difficult positions.
#7 – Par 3 – 177 Yards – Stroke 17
The shortest hole on the course, players must still hit an accurate iron shot to a small green.
#8 – Par 4 – 458 Yards – Stroke 9
Accuracy off the tee is paramount here, and avoiding the fairway bunkers should allow players to find one of the course’s larger greens in two, where players will face some interesting putts.
#9 – Par 4 – 416 Yards – Stroke Index 5
Players will be desperate to find the fairway here, as an elevated green requires precision with the approach shot, as there are bunkers to gather anything under-hit, whilst trouble also lurks behind the green for anything over-hit.
#10 – Par 4 – 402 Yards – Stroke Index 14
Players face the dilemma of laying up short of the fairway bunkers or trying to clear them and hope they don’t run into the dangerous rough lurking further up the fairway.
#11 – Par 4 – 436 Yards – Stroke Index 8
A tricky green with plenty of pin positions requiring pinpoint accuracy to get anywhere near the hole, whilst players will also need to be accurate off the tee to set up the perfect approach shot.
#12 – Par 3 – 183 Yards – Stroke Index 16
When the nerves are jangling on Sunday afternoon, this small green will take some hitting, and deep rough and even deeper bunkers await those who fail to find the putting surface.
#13 – Par 4 – 499 Yards – Stroke Index 4
Bunkers have been ideally placed to catch drives that are off-line, and it will be difficult to reach in two if finding sand. Even those who find the fairway may struggle to find the green, and great scrambling skills are likely to be required for any player to play this in par for all 4 days.
#14 – Par 3 – 200 Yards – Stroke Index 18
Protection around the elevated tee can make it hard for players to judge the true strength of any wind, and club selection is paramount if green-side bunkers are to be avoided.
#15 – Par 5 – 542 Yards – Stroke Index 2
Players have 15 bunkers to avoid, whilst keeping the ball below the hole on the green will avoid having a treacherous downhill putt.
#16 – Par 4 – 438 Yards – Stroke 12
Players will have to carry some deep rough off the tee, whilst an elevated green is protected by a series of hollows and bunkers.
#17 – Par 5 – 567 Yards – Stroke 6
Two large sand dunes bookmark the fairway, and balls that avoid the fairway bunkers should run far enough to give players the chance of getting on in two, though the two-tiered green is well-protected.
#18 – Par 4 – 473 Yards – Stroke 10
The out-of-bounds to the right the first thing to avoid but, whilst any player with a lead should be able to soak up the tradition of Birkdale’s Art-Deco clubhouse, they better concentrate if it’s close as they hit a long second shot into the final green.