Royal Liverpool Open Championship Hole By Hole Guide
Golf Monthly editor Mike Harris tees it up at Royal Liverpool Golf Club with the club champion, Dave Peel, a golfer well qualified to offer this hole by hole guide to Hoylake
- 1, Royal, Par 4, 459 yards
- 2, Stand, Par 4, 453 yards
- 3, Course, Par 4, 426 yards
- 4, Road, Par 4, 367 yards
- 5, Long, Par 5, 520 yards
- 6, New, Par 3, 201 yards
- 7, Telegraph, Par 4, 481 yards
- 8, Briars, Par 4, 436 yards
- 9, Dowie, Par 3, 218 yards
- 10, Far, Par 4, 507 yards
- 11, Punch Bowl, Par 4, 392 yards
- 12, Dee, Par 4, 449 yards
- 13, Alps, Par 3, 194 yards
- 14, Hilbre, Par 4, 454 yards
- 15, Field, Par 5, 620 yards
- 16, Lake, Par 4, 461 yards
- 17, Little Eye, Par 3, 136 yards
- 18, Dun, Par 5, 609 yards
Former county golfer Dave Peel has played all over the country, but apart from his home club, Stockport, where he enjoyed his first proper swings of a club, nowhere has he racked up more rounds than Royal Liverpool – more often know as Hoylake.
During his 22 years representing Cheshire, Peel accumulated a number of prestigious titles, including the County Championship, the Birkdale Silver Goblet and Gerald Micklem Cup at Sunningdale.
He's never happier, though, when teeing it up at the famous Open venue, where he enjoyed many a good round competing in the British Amateur, British Mid Amateur and English Amateur.
“I’ve just fallen in love with the place,” he says, as many golfers do. His fondness for the historic links was established well before he won the Club Championship at Royal Liverpool in 2022, his first year as a member.
Peel's love of Hoylake wasn't even diminished by a card-wrecking 10 on Little Eye – the devilish new par-3 17th that was filmed by his playing partner and went viral on social media.
Keen to find out more about the shots required to conquer the Open layout – and what the world’s best players will face at the 151st Open Championship in July – fellow Hoylake member and Golf Monthly editor, Mike Harris, teed it up with Peel in the 2023 Spring Medal.
After Peel had signed for a magnificent level-par 72 that included 4 birdies, the pair sat down to talk strategy. Here, Peel offers his hole-by-hole guide to Hoylake's Championship layout.
1, Royal, Par 4, 459 yards
Playing away from the clubhouse, the 1st is a slight dogleg left. The ideal drive puts you close to the traps down the right, to give you the best view of a long and large green, which is slightly angled across the fairway. Left is best avoided, and it’s no easy task getting up-and-down should you miss the putting surface.
2, Stand, Par 4, 453 yards
A good play is to aim at the fairway trap on the left and fade it off that, which will take the shorter bunkers on the right out of play. Right is often ‘dead’, and the less loft you’re coming in with the better, due to the many undulations on the green. Pin positions can be made very tricky, with a front location particularly demanding.
3, Course, Par 4, 426 yards
A brave tee shot is needed to get as far towards the end of the corner as possible, which means that you’re not required to play over the out of bounds (practice ground) with the second shot. OOB lurks all the way up the right, so the sensible play is to aim at the left of the green and drift it back. Better to be in the swale on the left side than too far right.
4, Road, Par 4, 367 yards
Another tight driving hole, with the gorse a lot closer on the left than many realise. If you’re going to miss, it’s best to do so right, although the left side of the fairway gives you a better look at the green. Depending on the wind, big hitters may fancy their chances of getting close to the green.The first genuine birdie chance for the pros.
5, Long, Par 5, 520 yards
The best chance to make four is to take part of the dogleg left out with the drive. A quick pull left is likely to be gathered up by gorse. Take the corner on and you might get rewarded with a mid iron for your second. A birdie won’t be quite so straightforward if you find the wrong part of the two tier green.
6, New, Par 3, 201 yards
A visually stunning hole where the green is a lot longer than it might appear from the tee. Deep bunkers that surround the putting surface are best avoided. Miss left and you’ll find one of these, or be kicked further in that direction. Long is also a no go. Right edge is not a bad miss, although the best play is to land on the front and let the ball release up the green.
7, Telegraph, Par 4, 481 yards
One of the most demanding driving holes, with bunkers left and right. Right is tight with the gorse, so some will favour the left side even if that opens up the possibility of playing the second in over two traps. Can be difficult to pick where the pin is as it may be semi blind. Find the putting surface and take your two putts.
8, Briars, Par 4, 436 yards
A hole that offers wonderful views of the Welsh Hills as you step onto the tee. Beware the two bunkers that are slightly hidden from view. Find the left centre of the fairway and you’ll give yourself the best angle to approach the green. Likely to be a decent birdie chance for the pros despite the large putting surface.
9, Dowie, Par 3, 218 yards
The narrow green lends itself to a tee shot that pitches on the front and releases, as opposed to going at the flag, as long isn’t ideal. The green sits at a slight angle, and a nasty trap awaits the miss left. It’s better to come up short right with a miss, which leaves an easier up-and-down from the swale.
10, Far, Par 4, 507 yards
A generous tee shot with more room right than it appears off the tee. Easy to run out of fairway and topple into the broken ground and mounds, so a driver is not a necessity. Good commitment required on a mid to long iron approach so that you land on the green. Running the ball up is not a good option with a bunker short right.
11, Punch Bowl, Par 4, 392 yards
Despite the prevailing wind coming off the left, it’s from this side where you’ll get the best line into the green. Right can leave you with some tricky lies and playing semi blind, especially if the pin is at the back. The large green slopes downwards, and will suit the eye of those looking to just feed it down. The run offs are generally not too tricky to negotiate.
12, Dee, Par 4, 449 yards
Many get lured into thinking they can cut the corner of this dogleg left but the further left you go, the longer the carry. The other option is to place your tee shot at the end of the fairway, and then take aim uphill to the large, raised green, which slopes forward from the back. You don’t want to be past the flag when the pin is in the middle or towards the back of the green.
13, Alps, Par 3, 194 yards
A stunning par 3 that will likely appeal more to those who like to play a little draw. If the pin is at the back, your best bet is to find the centre and walk off with a two-putt par. The bunker short is not ideal, but it’s a better miss than left, which can cause all sorts of problems.
14, Hilbre, Par 4, 454 yards
This dogleg left requires you to get as close to the corner as possible, but there’s not a lot wrong with a good, solid straight one, either. Avoid the traps and get to the corner to open up the green, because a blind second is really tough. The green falls away to the right, and there’s more room left than it appears from the fairway.
15, Field, Par 5, 620 yards
A big drive down the right side of the fairway will give you a better angle into the green. Bailing out left is not the end of the world, so long as you avoid the traps. Going for the narrow green in two is not straightforward, especially with three bunkers on the left side, which have a habit of snaffling long iron approach shots.
16, Lake, Par 4, 461 yards
Long and straight is the order of the day, with bunkers protecting both sides of the fairway. The second shot is always testing, too, with a deep two tier green. Most players are likely to favour flying their approach shots in, as opposed to running it up. A green that has a number of tricky pin positions.
17, Little Eye, Par 3, 136 yards
The infinity green makes it difficult to tell where the flag is. There are no real bailouts, so missing the putting surface can be very costly. Two challenging bunkers await a wayward shot right or left, while over the back is also a no go. Know your yardage and commit – then take two putts. No flag is worth attacking.
18, Dun, Par 5, 609 yards
Out of bounds down the right grabs the attention, so there's a lot of bailing out left – which is, at least, not disastrous. A wise play is to aim at the fairway bunkers and drift it back. Down the right and you’ll most likely face a second over the OOB. A tight entrance to the long green is well guarded by bunkers to the left and right.
Mike has been a journalist all his working life, starting out as a football writer with Goal magazine in the 1990s before moving into men’s and women’s lifestyle magazines including Men's Health, In 2003 he joined Golf Monthly and in 2006 he became only the eighth editor in Golf Monthly’s 100-plus year history. His two main passions in golf are courses, having played over 400 courses worldwide, and shoes; he owns over 40 pairs.
Mike’s handicap index hovers at around 10 and he is a member of four clubs: Hartley Wintney, Royal Liverpool, Royal North Devon and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
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