Running through some of the finest dunes in England, this is the jewel in the crown of English golf; a perfect links that is guaranteed to please

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 – 7
Previous Rankings
2019/20 – 06
2017/18 – 06
2015/16 – 05
2013/14 – 05
2011/12 – 05
2009/10 – 05

Summer Green Fees

Round – £250wd, £275we

Visitors: welcome subject to availability, prior booking essential

Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,381 Yards

Changes since previous ranking

Nothing significant.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Course Review

Since the Golf Monthly course rankings were launched in 2004, no English course has ever held a higher position than the classic and extremely fair links at Royal Birkdale.

Originally designed in the late 1890s by George Lowe, the course was elevated to championship quality and status in the 1920s by FG Hawtree and JH Taylor. They had the philosophy of running holes though the dunes rather than over them, the result being a much more honest and equitable test.

The green on the par-4 second hole

The club was granted royal status in 1951, and then selected to host its first Open Championship in 1954. It has now staged the tournament ten times, most recently resulting in Jordan Spieth’s epic victory in 2017.

Although the holes play along reasonably level ground between the sand, the course is blessed with some of the most impressive, towering dunes in the country. These frame the holes beautifully for the golfer, and at times of important championships serve as perfect viewing points for spectators.


The par-3 4th hole.

A Test for All Golfers

As if to announce its intent, this outstanding links opens with one of the most challenging par 4s on the Open roster. Following this, you constantly twist and turn with few consecutive holes playing in the same direction. With wind a key defence, this means a rethink on just about every tee.

The four short holes are all strong and interesting with perhaps the standout being the 12th which is played to a steep-fronted green set in an amphitheatre of dunes.

The dogleg-left par-4 10th hole.

The closing hole plays back towards the iconic, white art deco clubhouse. It is a manageable par 5 when played from the regular tees, but a substantially tougher par 4 when played from the slightly longer championship tees. This is undoubtedly a very worthy closing hole for those in contention for the Claret Jug.

The classic par-3 twelfth

Such dunes are one of Birkdale’s greatest assets, for not only do they give the holes and greens great definition and character, but they also provide excellent vantage points, making this one of the best courses for watching The Open.

best golf courses in lancashire

The challenging 18th at Royal Birkdale

A note related to the par on the closing hole is that while there is a very demanding par of 70 from the back tees, it is a more generous 72 from the yellows. This means that despite its rich Open heritage and pedigree, it is playable and enjoyable by all.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Hole By Hole Guide:

1 | 3 | 4 | 5 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 15 16 | 17 | 18

Assessor Feedback

I don’t think I would ever tire of playing here. No matter how much it beats you up, the course is one that will always entice you back with its brilliance. The north-west coast has some tremendous courses with Royal Birkdale the jewel in the crown.

GM Verdict

Running through some of the finest dunes in England, this is the jewel in the crown of English golf; a perfect links that is guaranteed to please