THE VENUE for the 2012 British Open is the Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England.
The course has a rich and colourful history and as an Open venue has some quirky features.
The club was founded way back in 1886 and was the site of the first British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship in 1893.
It is a true links style golf course but is actually set about half a mile from the shore line and is bounded on three sides by housing. It still gets plenty of seaside wind and weather though.
Lytham is the only course in the Open Championship rotation that starts with a par 3, and, while the property is small by Open standards, is renowned for the 206 punishing bunkers that litter the fairways and surround the greens.
With a par 70 rating and measuring 7,086 yards it is not an overly long course but is not one that can be easily over-powered by long hitters.
It demands accuracy and strategy in equal measure and on the eve of the 2012 event even had the likes of Bubba Watson threatening to mostly hit irons off the tees.
It is certainly a stern test of golfing ability, particularly the closing five holes.
This will be the 11 staging of the Open on a course that arguably boasts one of the finest line-ups of past champions, including Bobby Jones, Bobby Locke, Australia’s Peter Thomson, Bob Charles, Tony Jacklin, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros (twice), Tom Lehman and David Duval.
As far as scoring goes, much will depend on the weather conditions over the four days of the championship. There’s been lots of rain about recently in England but it was fine and sunny on the eve of the event.
Geoff Ogilvy was one of those hoping for a firm surface on a course he clearly holds in high regard.
Ogilvy has written one of his usual incisive and thoughtful articles on the course, which he played in the 2001 Open.
“Everyone will tell you that the key to scoring at Lytham is staying out of the many bunkers. Certainly, that’s true, but it’s also easier said than done,” the 2006 Us Open winner wrote. “Lytham is one of those places where, long before a ball actually topples into the sand, you know exactly where it is going to end up. Watching shots land then feed slowly and inexorably into bunkers maybe 30 yards away is one of the great joys of links golf — as long as it isn’t your shot.” Ogilvy’s full article is here.
Royal Lytham 3D flyover
The Open official website has this interactive course guide that includes a 3D flyover of all the holes. Click here.