Seaside Sizzler - how Birkdale has changed

Published 16/07/2008 10:58:28

When the open championship returns to Royal Birkdale this week it will be the ninth Championship to be played on the famous old links course, which was formed in 1889.


It wasn't until 1954 that Birkdale staged it's first Open Championship, but it has remained a regular on the Open roster ever since.


Australian Peter Thomson won the first of his Open titles at Birkdale in 1954 and the last of his five 11 years later in 1965. Arnold Palmer's 1961 triumph is widely regarded as the catalyst for the re-birth of golf's oldest championship; Palmer's win in gale force winds over Dai Rees is still commemorated today with a plaque on the 16th tee.


In 1971 the club had the honour of hosting the 100th Open Championship which was won by Mexican Lee Trevino. Other winners have included Johnny Miller (1976), Tom Watson (1983), Ian Baker-Finch (1991) and Mark O'Meara (1998).


Since the announcement of Birkdale as the 2008 host, a number of changes have been made. In addition to the impressive extension to the famous white clubhouse, bunkers have been added, landing areas have been tightened up and re-shaping work has taken place around some of the greens.


The 17th green has been remodelled into a two-tier surface and has been moved back some 30 yards. The course will measure 7,180 yards, 212 yards longer than in 1998.


Course Changes


Hole 2: Two new bunkers have been added to the right side of the fairway.


Hole 3 : Another two new bunkers have been introduced, this time down the left hand side. The ground around the green has also been re-contoured to make the players think more.


Hole 8: A new and re-modelled bunker now flanks this 458 yard par four.


Hole 9: The fairway has been moved 25 yards to left, making the dog-leg a tad more pronounced


Hole 10: The left hand bunkers have been moved and another has been added to the far right.


Hole 11: The fairway is narrower and a new sand trap has been constructed on the left.


Hole 13: Alterations have been made to the bunkers on a driving length.


Hole 14: The land around the green has been re-contoured.


Hole 15: Bunkers have been added so that this par five now boasts 15 sand traps in total.


Hole 17: Two new bunkers have been added on the right and a new, re-modelled two tier green makes this hole 30 yards longer than previously.


Add your comment