Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Since WW2 this world-class venue has held more major events than any other.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Merseyside, PR8 2LX, England


The dunes are an SSSI and Special Area of Conservation.

The club leases the property from the Seton Council.

Its been called links target golf. It's a fair course with well-defined fairways and greens played in the valleys between dunes.



Course Review
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Golf Course Review

Royal Birkdale Golf Club is known as the King of Clubs. The reputation has been well earned with the club hosting more major tournaments than any other since WW2. The links lie in the Birkdale Dunes on the North West coast of England in Southport – with Hillside Golf Links and Southport & Ainsdale (S&A) Golf Club both immediately to the south. Great golf and a world-class golfing experience await you on one of the Open rota courses in England.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club History

Royal Birkdale Golf Club was founded on July 30, 1889, when nine members formed themselves into the Birkdale Golf Club. The original 9 hole course opened for play in October 1889 and was found in the Shaw Hills behind Bedford Road near Bedford Park. In 1894, it was decided to move the links to the Birkdale Hills. By 1897, the club moved to its present location where 18 holes were laid out by George Lowe, the professional at nearby Royal Lytham & St Annes GC.

The club’s landlord had ambitions for Royal Birkdale Golf Club to host a major championship. In preparation for the honour, the club invited Fred Hawtree and JH Taylor to make the changes in 1932. The simple philosophy was to lay the course out in the valleys instead of over them.

Modern-Day ‘Improvements’ at Birkdale

The only major change made to Birkdale since then was the removal of the old par 3 17th and the addition of the new par 3 12th. The last major change was overseen by Fred Hawtree in preparation for the 1965 Open Championship. It seems that evolution rather than revolution is the name of the game at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

In 1991 after the Open, all 18 greens were dug up and relaid and prior to the 2008 Open, greens and bunkering were altered slightly.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Synopsis

Royal Birkdale Golf Club has two loops of nine. The opening three holes are the toughest set you’ll find anywhere. The outward nine is on the north part of the property and they work more or less counterclockwise from the clubhouse. The outward nine is only 3416 yards long but has no Par 5’s.

The back nine is a single loop made of two smaller loops with Holes 10-14  and 15-18 back to the clubhouse on the south of the property.  The inward nine is longer at 3740 yards with two par 5’s coming in the final four holes.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club’s Art Deco Clubhouse

The original clubhouse at Royal Birkdale Golf Club was built in 1897 and demolished in 1903. It was demolished as it was mistakenly built on the neighbour’s property. A new clubhouse was built in 1904 and remained in use until 1935. The current iconic clubhouse dates from 1935. It was designed by George Tonge and is meant to look like an ocean liner sailing through the dunes.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club & The Open

Royal Birkdale Golf Club has hosted The Open 10 times since 1954.

  1. Peter Thomson in 1954 at the 83rd Open
  2. Arnold Palmer in 1961 at the 90th Open
  3. Peter Thomson in 1965 at the 94rd Open
  4. Lee Trevino in 1971 at the 100th Open
  5. Johnny Miller in 1976 at the 105th Open
  6. Tom Watson in 1983 at the 111th Open
  7. Ian Baker-Finch in 1991 at the 120th Open
  8. Mark O’Meara in 1998 at the 127th Open
  9. Padraig Harrington in 2008 at the 137th Open
  10. Jordan Speith in 2017 at the 146th Open

Host of the Amateur, Ryder Cup, Walker Cup, and Curtis Cup

The Women’s British Open has been played at Birkdale 6 times. Additionally, two Ryder Cups have been contested on the links in 1965 and again in 1969. The club has also hosted four Amateur Championships (2020, 2005, 1989, 1946) along with the Walker Cup in 1951 and Curtis Cup in 1948.

Birkdale’s Royal Heritage

Further information on the club and its history can be found in Scott Macpherson‘s book, Golf’s Royal Clubs.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club Photography

Purchase Kevin Murray’s Royal Birkdale photography.

Read More World Ranking
in the world World Ranking
in GB&I

Royal Birkdale Golf Club - Videos

Golfing World reviews Royal Birkdale golf club holes 1-6

Golfing World reviews Royal Birkdale golf club holes 7-12

Golfing World reviews Royal Birkdale golf club holes 13-18

Featured Architect: MacKenzie, Alister

As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...

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At A Glance


  • Steel, Donald
  • Lowe, George Jr.
  • Hawtree & JH Taylor Ltd
  • MacKenzie & Ebert


Driving Range
Short Game


Three Star Collection
Best English Golf Collection
Doak Scale Collection
GOLF Top 100 Golf Courses in the World

Contact Details

Merseyside, PR8 2LX, England
Visit Club Website


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