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Royal Birkdale, one of Britain’s finest golf clubs, has been voted the No 1 course in Britain and is among the best in the world. The stunning coastal resort of Southport is the home of Royal Birkdale, for many golfers, the best of all the great golf courses to have staged The Open Championship.
The club has hosted the men’s championship nine times since 1954, most recently in July 2008 and has hosted the women’s tournament five times, latterly in 2010. Previous winners of the Open at Royal Birkdale are Pádraig Harrington, Mark O’Meara, Ian Baker-Finch, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Peter Thomson (twice). Royal Birkdale has also hosted the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup, and the Curtis Cup and will host the Senior Open Championship in 2013.
Founded as Birkdale Golf Club in 1889, the club was awarded “Royal” status in 1951. Birkdale Golf Club moved to a new site in Birkdale Hills in 1894 and built a new distinctive art deco clubhouse in 1935. In 1946, the club hosted its first big championship in The Amateur Championship, won by Irishman James Bruen. During the immediate post-war era, the club also hosted the 1948 Curtis Cup, in which the United States team were victorious, and the 1951 Walker Cup, which also fell into the hands of the United States. With these successful stagings of important events, Royal Birkdale was felt to be ready for its first Open Championship in 1954 and the club has been on the Open rota ever since.
Three generations of the Hawtree family of golf course architects have worked on the course. Frederick G. Hawtree and champion golfer J.H. Taylor are the two people most responsible for the current routeing, following the valleys between the very large dunes which dominate the property. The arrangement makes for excellent spectator conditions during major events. Frederick W. Hawtree, the son of Frederick G, performed some modifications in the 1960s and in 1993 Martin Hawtree, son of Frederick W., improved and modernised the layout further, with all 18 of the club’s greens being completely rebuilt, to improve turf and drainage following the 1991 Open Championship. Only relatively minor tweaking, such as the addition of a few new bunkers and back tees, has been deemed necessary in advance of the last two Open Championships.
Royal Birkdale Golf Club Waterloo Rd Southport PR8 2LX