Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Scroll courses A-Z
  • Architects:
    • Lowe, George Jr.
    • Taylor, JH
    • Hawtree, Fred
    • Hawtree, Martin
  • Holes of Merit:
    12, 15, 18
  • NCG Rank:
    6/100 in GB&I
  • Rank:
    40/100 in the World


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.

Royal Birkdale has hosted The Open 10 times since 1954. Peter Thomson, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson, Ian Baker-Finch, Mark O'Meara, Padraig Harrington and Jordan Speith has all been victorious. The Women's British Open has been played at RBGC 6 times.

Two Ryder Cup's have been contested on the links in 1965 and 1969. The club has also hosted Amateur Championships, Walker Cups and Curtis Cups.

Watch Royal Birkdale GC Videos

See Hidden Links overview (skip to 15:45) here

View Golfing World's Guide of Holes 1-6 here

View Golfing World's Guide of Holes 7-12 here

View Golfing World's Guide of Holes 13-18 here

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

The 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 Birkdale GC 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.

The only major change made to the course 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's Scorecard

The course 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 of less counterclockwise from the clubhouse. 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 outward nine is only 3416 yards long and has no Par 5's. 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 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 to 1935. The iconic clubhouse dates from 1935. It was designed by George Tonge and is meant to look like an ocean liner sailing through the dunes.

Birkdale's Royal Heritage

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

Golf Course Photography

Purchase photography of this course here.


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Visitor Information

Everything you need to know before you go!