After nigh on a week on the Cumbria walk with a backpack on the back , yesterday it was back to golf at Royal Lytham & St Annes .
Founded in 1886 , the course was initially set out by the first professional - George Lowe- with the only significant changes coming in 1911 when Harry Colt spent 4 years repositioning greens and tees, adding bunkers and lengthening the course
Lytham has hosted the Open Championship 10 times, including some of the more famous events such as Bobby Jones' effort in 1926, Seve's dramatic entry on to the world stage in 1979, and again in 1988 .
The course is defined by the bunkering and the wind. While it is unique among the Open Rota courses for it's par 3 opening hole, it is also well known for its tough finish- the 14th, 15th and 17th holes are all big par 4's with everything a links course can throw at you, and the final hole is a sea of bunkers for both the tee shot and approach...
It is well known that I am keen on strategic design- I like to understand what challenges a course presents, and then make decisions about both line and length of shots as required. For the most part Lytham, with it's 'intense' bunkering kept asking some pretty serious questions. But predominantly it was a fair test...although there is some bunkering which is completely unsighted off the tee.
I was a little disappointed with the 7th hole- the second of back to back par 5's- because the bunkering was not asking any question other than: Can you hit 3 shots straight?
The bunkering here has changed apparently but now lines up down both sides of the fairway- 15 bunkers in all- some very deep..
It is a daunting hole.
The 18th has eighteen bunkers staring you down- so you have to be very accurate. I found a good hit over the right bunkers gave me a little more room, but I like the fact that the hole can test anyone's mettle without being overly long...
Just ask Adam Scott!
Other than that the holes were strategic and varied , although my better half thought the holes had a certain "sameness" because of the flatness and bunkering
Let me tell you about the bunkering - Lytham is probably the best course I have seen for revetted pot bunkers- some very deep, and with heavy sand we found some very tough spots!
For the most part the front nine runs out with the wind- we had a 1 club zephyr early- and then zig zags back into the breeze coming home- when the wind came up a little more .
The terrain is basically a flat walk on sandy territory (it would be great to be a member here)- with slight elevation changes, and vegetation later in the round.
Playing this course off back tees would be quite a task. On hole 15- a long 4- I hit driver, 3 wood, full wedge all flush for a solid 5 off the forward tees!
On hole 17 I ripped a drive, hit one of my better 3 woods blind over gorse just short for a simple par .These holes would be brutal off the back!
In summary I thought Lytham a real championship course, and I enjoyed playing it ....off the forward tees
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip for your group. See Destinations to view suggestions on itineraries. Note also that Royal Lytham & St Annes is a feature course played in The Open Rota hosted tour- a tournament played over all the current Open Championship courses
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