British Open Championship golf course: not so beautiful, but very unusual

2012-07-13 00:00

THE month of July each year brings us the Open Championship from the British Isles. This year Royal Lytham and St Annes will host the Open for the 11th time. Just a few miles south of Blackpool in Lancashire, the course isn’t exactly known as being conventionally beautiful. It’s surrounded by suburban housing and the first nine holes are flanked by a railway line along the right hand side of the course. It is known as a traditional links course, but technically it isn’t because it’s too far from the sea. However, that doesn’t mean that the sea breeze doesn’t blow severely to affect the scores. It has undulating fairways, no trees and deep pot bunkers. There are more than 200 bunkers peppered around the course, so careful planning and accurate shots are needed.

Royal Lytham was founded in 1886 and was designed as an out-and-in course, with the ninth hole being the furthest point from the club-house. There are only two par fives, making the course a par 70. It is the only course on the Open roster that starts with a par three and the ninth hole is also a par three. The second nine holes are unusual; there is only one par five and one par three and seven par fours. The last six holes are all difficult par fours, which will add pressure to the leaders on day four, especially if a stiff breeze is blowing into the players.

There is an illustrious list of past winners at Royal Lytham: Bobby Jones (1926), Bobby Locke (1952), Peter Thomson (1958), Bob Charles (1963), Tony Jacklin (1969), Gary Player (1974), Seve Ballesteros (1979 and 1988), Tom Lehmann (1996), and David Duval (2001).

The Open Championship in recent years has produced surprise winners and it will be interesting to see if the trend continues. There are 14 South African golfers in the field this year. There will be live television coverage on all four days, and thankfully for us in this part of the world, viewing will be at a civilized time. It starts on Thursday. So enjoy.

From the 19th hole:

Three old golfers, Sam, Harry and Fred were sitting together after their weekly game of golf.

These are some of the things they were overheard saying to each other.

Sam said, “I said to my dentist: ‘Do you promise to pull the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth?’”

Harry said, “I’m changing my dentist, the old one got on my nerves.”

Fred said, “I think my dentist is in financial trouble, he removed all my gold fillings and replaced them with IOUs.”

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