Royal Birkdale Golf Club: Course Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

The brilliant layout at Royal Birkdale Golf Club is blessed with some of the finest dunes in England and its Open Championship links is the leading course in England

Royal Birkdale Golf Club
The final hole and clubhouse at Royal Birkdale Golf Club
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Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

(Image credit: Future)

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Key Information

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Header Cell - Column 0 Header Cell - Column 1
AddressWaterloo Road, Southport, Lancashire, PR8 2LX
Phone01704 552020
GFs£295 peak season
Visitor TimesMon, Tue pm, Wed, Thu, Fri am, some limited times on Sun
ParMen 72, Women 75
SlopeWhite/M 147, Red/W 141
ArchitectGeorge Lowe, FG Hawtree & JH Taylor, FW Hawtree, Martin Hawtree

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Golf Monthly Verdict

Royal Birkdale - Hole 13

(Image credit: Graham McCubbin)

This is a sublime and endlessly varied links that is simply the best course in England in the Golf Monthly Top 100. It somehow manages to excel not only as a test of golf, but as a treat to the eye, as a lesson in course architecture and as an experience to savour and remember.

Reasons To Play Royal Birkdale

– Enjoy, in every possible way, the best course in the country

– Test your game against the world’s best including all those who played in the 2019 Open Championship

– Sample the finest links on a coastline packed with pristine golf


UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 05

Royal Birkdale Golf Club holds an enviable record. Dating back to the original Golf Monthly course rankings almost two decades ago, no course in England has ever held a higher position than the classic and extremely fair links at Royal Birkdale. It was originally designed in the late 1890s by George Lowe before being raised to championship quality and status in the 1920s by Hawtree and Taylor. Their very fair design philosophy was to route the holes though the dunes rather than over them. The result is a perfectly honest test that will reward good strategy and execution. The course naturally features at the top of the lists of the best links courses in the UK and of course the best golf courses in Lancashire.

The club hosted its first Open Championship in 1954 and has now staged the tournament on ten occasions, most recently in 2017 when Jordan Spieth won in a thrilling climax. Although the individual holes play along generally level ground, the course is also blessed with some of the most impressive dunes in England. These frame and separate the holes beautifully for the golfer, while also serving as perfect vantage points when important championships are being staged.

The course sets out its stall with one of the most demanding and fearsome opening holes, a right to left dogleg that is renowned as being one of the most challenging par 4s on the Open roster. Safely negotiated, you then constantly twist and turn with very few consecutive holes playing in the same direction. The wind here is a key defence, and this calls for a constant revision on just about every tee.

The four par 3s are particularly strong and interesting, with perhaps the standout being the excellent 12th which is played to a steep-fronted green set in an amphitheatre of dunes. The closing hole plays back towards the iconic and instantly recognisable art deco clubhouse. It is a very pleasing and manageable par 5 when played from the regular tees, but an altogether tougher proposition as a par 4 when played from the championship tee. Related to this, it is worth remembering 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, the course that heads the list of the best golf courses in England is playable and enjoyable by all.

What The Top 100 Panel Said

Royal Birkdale - Hole 4

The opening par 3 at Royal Birkdale, the fourth

(Image credit: Graham McCubbin)
Rob Fear UK&I Top 100 panel
Rob Fear

Second to none, everything at Royal Birkdale is done so well. A sensational golfing experience to walk in the footsteps of all the greats in the game, knowing Palmer, Miller and Watson had their greatest Open victories here.

James Holland UK&I Top 100 panel
James Holland

A great test of golf, with some of the most incredible bunkering I’ve experienced. Every hole seemed to be of the same quality with a wonderful flow. The whole experience just felt magical - you knew you were in a special place. A wonderful golf course of exceptional design quality.

Emily Hudson UK&I Top 100 panel
Emily Hudson

The terrain gives each hole impressive definition, with the scale of some of the dunes (whether natural or cultivated) adding to the magnitude of the course. An exceptional yet relentless challenge. Given that the club is an Open venue and of high quality, I was impressed that it still felt very welcoming.

Andrew Oliver UK&I Top 100 panel
Andrew Oliver

All the Open rota courses are special but not all are still truly great and relevant in the game today… however, Royal Birkdale certainly is. No tricks and no gimmicks, just the purest links test which gives you exactly the score you’ll deserve.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Location

Royal Birkdale Green Fees

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18 holes£295Apr to Sep
18 holes£210Oct
18 holes£185Winter, inc soup & sandwich lunch

Royal Birkdale Scorecard

Royal Birkdale Scorecard

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Best Courses Near To Royal Birkdale



This ever-improving links is packed with strong and individual holes, presented in pristine condition. The routing takes you initially alongside a magnetic railway, then over gently undulating fairways, through majestic sand dunes and amongst scenic pines. The back nine is sensational.



James Braid designed the links in 1923 and it has just the one starting point, a superb par 3. This is a very engaging course with plenty to recommend, and in an area packed with pristine links, it is also one of the best and most memorable.

Best Places To Stay Near Royal Birkdale

Dukes Folly Hotel - Book now at

Perfectly located in Southport, the Dukes Folly has 20 bedrooms, some of which have a four-poster bed. There is a modern lounge bar, and an excellent breakfast is served until 10.

Prince Of Wales Hotel - Book now at

With its Victorian features, the Prince Of Wales is centrally located in Southport. The Colonial Restaurant serves traditional British dishes and the Clubhouse Bar has a golf theme. A full English breakfast is served every morning.

Royal Birkdale Gallery

Historical Top 100 Rankings UK&I

  • 2023/24 05
  • 2021/22 07
  • 2019/20 06
  • 2017/18 06
  • 2015/16 05
  • 2013/14 05
  • 2011/12 05
  • 2009/10 05

Frequently Asked Questions

When was Royal Birkdale awarded its royal status?

This is the most recent English golf club to receive the accolade, back in 1951.

How many times has Royal Birkdale hosted The Open?

Ten times, with champions including Peter Thomson (twice), Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Padraig Harrington and Jordan Spieth.

Which other famous events have been staged at Royal Birkdale?

Before it was so big as it is today, the Ryder Cup was here twice in the 1960s. The club has also hosted the Women’s British Open, the Senior Open and the Walker Cup among many other leading events.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for over 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012. He specialises in course reviews and travel, and has played more than 1,200 courses in almost 50 countries. In 2021, he played all 21 courses in East Lothian in 13 days. Last year, his tally was 81, 32 of them for the first time. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! Of those missing, some are already booked for 2024. He has been a member of Tandridge in Surrey for 30 years where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at