Royal Lytham & St Annes

Royal Lytham & St Annes

Nearby Courses

3 miles away

Fairhaven

25 miles away

St Annes Old Links

7 miles away

Hesketh

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

Royal Lytham & St Annes retains a homely feel that is conveyed by some of the modest but pristine houses lining the links. It is sometimes hard to credit you are only half a mile away from the sea.

At no time is a view of the ocean forthcoming. The feeling persists of playing in a pocket of golfing land inside the middle of town. Despite being so close to the sea, there is no clifftop majesty of a Turnberry or a Kingsbarns.

The challenging and well-maintained course presents a stern test of golfing skill, with strategically placed bunkers and thick rough requiring accuracy and precision. It is celebrated for its historical significance and its contribution to the world of golf.

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club is located in Lytham St Annes, a town situated on the Fylde coast of Lancashire, England, and is relatively close to some other notable locations such as Blackpool, one of the UK's most famous seaside resorts which houses a wide range of attractions and activities. The club's location along the Fylde coast provides convenient access to a variety of destinations in both Lancashire and neighbouring regions for visitors to explore.


Book to play on the NCG Top 100s Tour at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
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A Brief History of Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club was founded in 1886 with the present course constructed in 1897. Just before the club hosted its first Open Championship in 1926, George V bestowed the 'Royal' title upon the club.

For all its rich history – Lytham has hosted The Open on 11 occasions including Ernie Els' victory in 2012 – the club is proud to maintain a friendly feel. It has also hosted two Ryder Cups and many other major tournaments, such as the Women's and Seniors Open Championships.

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club Review | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

Outside of competition, the par 3 1st hole is played from a tee on the other side of the pro shop, next to the clubhouse. It is difficult to see the target, which is surrounded by no fewer than seven bunkers.
 
The 2nd rewards a tee shot down the right, hugging the line of the railway, from where the green is opened up. The 3rd is similarly tight and also very long. In unfavourable conditions, the green can be out of range in two shots. With out of bounds tight down the right and another seven deep bunkers running up the left, this really is an intimidating hole.

Reaching the 4th is often accompanied by a sigh of relief. As a hole, it is about as straightforward as Lytham gets. Nor is the short 5th, played to a slightly-raised green, a particular highlight. 

Another of Lytham’s quirks, back-to-back par fives, comes next. The 6th, which was played as a par 4 in the 2012 Open, is played at quite an angle, turning sharply to the left beyond the huge bunker that guards the inside of the dogleg. The 7th is stunning and the definition provided by bunker after bunker on both sides of the fairway tends to focus the mind. It is the sort of par five that yields eagles but also claims double bogeys.

The 8th is the third and final par four to run parallel to the railway. Again, a daunting bunker eats into the left of the fairway, pushing the unwary towards the boundary of the course. Unexpectedly, the land then rises to a green set well above the fairway. Like many greens here, it tends to reject rather than collect approaches that land on the edge of its surface. The 9th is played into the very far corner of the course, to a space barely wide enough to house the green. The challenge lies in coaxing a short iron over the bunkers at the front and stopping the ball on the green. Anything less than accurate will, inevitably, find sand.
 
The back nine begins with a classic links short par four. Unless due respect is paid, a high score is a distinct possibility at what is Lytham’s shortest two-shotter. The last of the par fives, the 11th, is one of very few holes to play across the prevailing wind

The 12th has been described as the best short hole on the Open rota. From the Championship tee (like the 1st, it can be played from two completely different angles) a medium iron into the wind, played tight to the perimeter fence and carrying a pot bunker that eats into the front right of the green, is needed to get anywhere near the pin.
 
From here, it is par fours all the way in. The 13th, the last hole to travel away from the clubhouse, offers a final moment of relative respite before Lytham’s fearsome finish. Directly in front lies a fairway almost 450 yards long, and its straightness only serves to accentuate how narrow it is. At driving distance, inevitably, bunkers pinch in, making this a hole where a long and true tee shot is essential.

If the 14th is difficult, the 15th is even tougher. Slightly longer at 463 yards from the championship tees, a tee shot down the right, flirting with disaster, as ever gives maximum advantage. If there is any let-up over the closing holes, it arrives at the 16th, where a drive over the marker post, ideally to the left of centre, will give a full view down the green with just a short iron needed. 

No hole here though is defenceless and you miss the fairway or green at your utter peril.
 
Perhaps Lytham’s most famous hole is the 17th, immortalised by Bobby Jones. Playing the final round of the 1926 Open, his ball lay in a sandy waste some 175 yards from the green. Needless to say, his mashie-iron found the green and he went on to win the championship. A plaque lies on the spot to commemorate the stroke. What is particularly difficult about this hole is that the fairway gets narrower the longer the drive and eventually runs away from the green, which is set improbably far left over a patch of wasteland. The second shot is long and daunting, requiring great trust as well a true strike.
 
After that, believe it or not, the famous last hole comes as something of a relief, not least because everything can be seen from the tee. At a shade over 400 yards, it is not the toughest closing hole in Open golf, but with another 15 (yes, 15) bunkers lying in wait it is no giveaway either.
 
Walking down the fairway towards the famous old clubhouse, imaginary applause ringing in your ears, it cannot be denied that Royal Lytham & St Annes has a certain aura. It is unrelenting, demanding and at times barbarically difficult. Long may the Open be contested over its historic links.

The Open Championship

Ahead of the 2001 Open, informed opinion said Royal Lytham & St Annes was hosting the championship for the very last time. Following Tiger Woods’ merciless subjugation of St Andrews the year before, it was felt that the Lancashire venue, at a shade under 6,900 yards, was now too short to test the world’s finest. Four of the par fours measured under 400 yards and two of the three long holes generally play downwind. Much like the Old Course, the holes most obviously in need of lengthening were already stretched to their limit.

And after one of the wettest winters on record, the scorched fairways that characterised Tom Lehman’s Open triumph in 1996, when control of the ball was made so difficult, were nowhere to be seen.

But only six rounds that week were lower than 67. Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Niclas Fasth and Darren Clarke, none of them known for their long hitting, all featured on the final leaderboard.

Even off the front tees, many of the par fours are upwards of 400 yards in length with the most penal of bunkers awaiting even a slightly errant or misjudged shot, from either the fairway or the tee. And when the wind gets up, which it often does, many holes are simply out of range in regulation. The traditional nine-out, nine-in layout determines that one half of the course, usually the back half, plays outstandingly difficult.

Indeed the stretch of holes from 14 onwards comprise arguably the toughest finish of any course on the Open Championship rota. To reach such a crescendo, Lytham starts quietly, and some of the early holes, while fine tests of skill and shotmaking, are not immediately striking.

It must be conceded that Lytham is not the most stunning of courses visually. Much like at Royal Liverpool, a club with which it has much else in common, including its architect, the predominantly flat expanse of land is lined by red-brick buildings.
 
To the members, seeing the course during an Open Championship must be a strange experience, with greens surrounded by grandstands and the short nine-hole course that lies to the right of the 17th and 18th submerged beneath the tented village. For the rest of us the converse is true. The 1st green, surrounded by deep bunkers and lying in the middle of a large, flat piece of land, is wholly unfamiliar. As is the 18th fairway meandering innocently back into the heart of the course.

Why is it called Royal Lytham St Annes?

Lytham is a town in Lancashire, England, where the golf club is located and St Annes is a neighbouring town to Lytham, and the club's full name includes both towns. The prefix "Royal" is a designation granted by the British monarchy to select golf clubs and organisations that have demonstrated a certain level of historical significance, quality, and contribution to the sport. The designation is an honour and signifies the club's status and prestige.

How many bunkers are there at Royal Lytham St Annes?

Currently the course is reported to have 174 bunkers but the exact number of bunkers can vary due to maintenance and design changes. These bunkers are known for their distinctive appearance and their impact on the course's challenging gameplay.

Where is Royal Lytham St Annes located?

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club is located in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England, and found near the beach, It offers a lovely seaside setting for visitors to enjoy walks, relaxation, and beautiful views of the Irish Sea.

Both Liverpool John Lennon and Manchester Airports provide daily international flights, and are within 90 minutes by car from Royal Lytham & St Annes.


Book to play on the NCG Top 100s Tour at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Visit Royal Lytham & St Annes' website here.
Go back to the NCG Top 100s Homepage.