This Thursday marks the start of the 2014 British Open at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. The course, often referred to as Hoylake, is already well known to golf fans as the venue for Tiger Wood’s emotional 2006 win two months after the death of his father. This year, we’ll see if Phil Mickleson can keep the Claret Jug or if a new champion will be crowned. To get you Rock Heads pumped, here’s a breakdown and animated flyover of the course we’ll all be watching this weekend!
According to TheOpen.com, “Just as at the 2006 Open, the 2014 Open will start on the member’s 17th hole ‘Royal’ and finish on the 16th hole ‘Dun.’ The par-4 first hole has been reshaped and rebunkered and the green has tricky run-off areas on either side. R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson has called it ‘the hardest opening hole on the Open rota.’ ”
No. 1 – Royal | 458 yards | Par-4
This is a testing hole to start the round and one on which most competitors will be happy to secure a par. The tee shot has to be threaded between bunkers and the approach hit to a heavily contoured green protected by a group of new bunkers. The hole is named after the Royal Hotel which housed Royal Liverpool’s first clubhouse back in 1869.
No. 2 – Stand | 454 yards | Par-4
A new Championship tee has been built for this year’s Open which adds some 18 yards to the length of the hole. Four old fairway bunkers have been removed from the landing area but the hole still requires an accurate tee shot and then a precise approach to another heavily-guarded green.
No. 3 – Course | 426 yards | Par-4
This is the opening hole when the course is not being used for The Open and it is flanked by out-of-bounds all the way down its right-hand side. Competitors can fly the corner of the 90-degree dog-leg off the tee but might well then run out of fairway. It is safer to hit iron from the tee and then flight the second over the edge of the practice ground to a green positioned perilously close to the out-of- bounds. The swale to the left-hand side of the green has been deepened in time for this year’s Championship.
No. 4 – Road | 372 yards | Par-4
The 4th is the shortest par-4 at Hoylake but requires an accurate tee shot down the left-hand side of a narrow fairway to open up the second shot to a green built on the edge of the property. There is an out-of-bounds fence both to the back and left of the green but it should not be a factor for competitors with a wedge or 9-iron in their hands. The green itself slopes from front to back but it is a birdie opportunity in all but the most difficult weather conditions.
No. 5 – Long | 528 yards | Par-5
The long 5th is a great risk and reward hole. The more aggressive players will hit a tee shot to the corner of the dog-leg and then go for the green in two. This hole yielded 23 eagles and 205 birdies during the 2006 Open but a player can still run up a big number if he hits his tee shot into a new bunker built 310yards out on the right of the fairway or misjudges his approach to a heavily contoured green protected by a new bunker on the right-hand side.
No. 6 – New | 201 yards | Par-3
The 6th is the first of what is a stunning set of short holes at Hoylake. It requires an accurate tee shot to a long and narrow green which slopes from back to front and is guarded by bunkers on both sides. The bunkers to the left of the green are deep and should be avoided at all costs wh
No. 7 – Telegraph | 480 yards | Par-4
A new tee means this hole will play some 27 yards longer than the last time The Open was played at Hoylake in 2006. An accurate tee shot is the key on a hole on which the landing area is protected by bunkers and deep rough on both sides. A tee shot skirting the bunkers down the right leaves the best shot to a green which is slightly hidden from view. It is another of those holes where par is normally a good score.
No. 8 – Briars | 431 yards | Par-4
The 8th hole requires a blind tee shot over bushes to a fairway protected by gorse on the left and a bunker down the right. Miss the trouble and you are left with a straightforward second into a large and accommodating green protected by four bunkers. The green itself slopes upwards at the front but flattens out towards the rear.
No. 9 – Dowie | 197 yards | Par-3
The short 9th is another terrific hole to look at but requires an accurate tee shot to a well-protected green. The gully down the left is to be avoided because it leaves a slippery pitch or putt over the top and down to the flag. The right-hand bunker has been reduced in size but has been designed to gather tee shots that leak down that side.
No. 10 – Far | 532 yards | Par-5
The par-5 10th was the second easiest hole during the 2006 Open Championship and eight years later will remain a birdie opportunity if similar conditions prevail. Most of the competitors will be able to hit the green in two but there is a very deep bunker cut into the right of the putting surface and a deep swale on the left making it difficult to get up-and-down from either side. The hole is called Far because it is built on the furthest point away from the clubhouse.
No. 11 – Punch Bowl | 391 yards | Par-4
The relatively short par-4 11th starts a memorable stretch of holes along the Dee Estuary. It gets its name because the green sits in a punch bowl surrounded by dunes. The best approach is from the left-land side of the fairway but a tee shot hit too far down that side will end up in brambles or deep rough. The bunker to the rear the green has been removed ahead of this year’s Championship but the front bunkers have been relocated so they eat more into the putting surface. Tiger Woods carded three birdies and a par here during his march to victory in 2006 .
No. 12 – Dee | 447 yards | Par-4
This was the most challenging hole on the course during the 2006 Open Championship costing no less than 138 bogeys and 15 double bogeys. The bunkers set into the right-hand side of the landing area catch a lot of errant tee shots and the green is raised and protected by a large swale on the left-hand side. The putting surface itself slopes markedly from back to front.
No. 13 – Alps | 194 yards | Par-3
Australia’s John Senden claimed a hole-on-one on this fine short hole during the third round of the 2006 Championship but most competitors will settle for hitting the centre of its narrow green and two-putting for a par. The back left pin position is particularly challenging and any tee shot that comes up short will leave a difficult up-and-down. A new swale now separates the back of the green and the dune beyond.
No. 14 – Hilbre | 454 yards | Par-4
Tiger Woods hit a 2-iron from this tee during the second round of the 2006 Championship and then a 4-iron which flew about 190 yards, bounced a couple of times and dropped into the hole. He was the exception because the 14th proved to be the second hardest hole during the Championship. It is a very tough driving hole. A new fairway bunker has been added to the cluster of three down the right while the approach has to be hit over the side of a hill to a narrow green which sits at a slight angle to the fairway.
No. 15 – Rushes | 161 yards | Par-3
The tee on the last of Hoylake’s short holes is elevated and set into the sand dunes with great views over the Dee Estuary while the green is protected by three bunkers on the left and two on the right. Hit the green and it’s a good birdie chance but you will struggle for par if you miss the target. South Africa’s Richard Sterne secured a hole-in-one here during the second round of the 2006 Open Championship.
No. 16 – Field | 577 yards | Par-5
The par-5 16th is the longest hole at Hoylake but was also the easiest during the 2006 Open Championship when it yielded a total of 27 eagles and 252 birdies. The tee shot needs to be threaded between bunkers down the left and thick rough on the right while the approach has to avoid three greenside bunkers as well as a grass hollow on the front right of the green known as Farrar’s Folly in memory of one of Hoylake’s former club Secretaries.
No. 17 – Lake | 458 yards | Par-4
The 17th is another of the most challenging two-shotters at Hoylake. It is invariably played into the wind and was the fourthhardest hole on the course during the 2006 Open Championship. The fairway is very well protected by bunkers while the approach requires a long iron into a long and undulating green.
No. 18 – Dun | 551 yards | Par-5
This is one of those exciting closing holes that can often produce a two shot swing during the climax of a Championship. It is a left-to-right dog-leg. The big hitters can reach the green in two but out-of-bounds lurks all the way down the right-hand side of the fairway and thick rough guards the left. There are now three small bunkers to the left of the green and others eating into the right of the putting surface. A new swale has also been created at the back left of the green in time for this year’s Championship.