Want to play golf on The Open courses? Read on to find out exactly where, when and how you can play these fantastic past, present and future Open venues.
You can’t just grab your rackets and head to Centre Court at Wimbledon for a game of tennis; nor can you round up your five-a-side football team and turn up at Wembley for a kick around.
But you can play the courses that host golf’s grandest prize of all; The Open Championship and it’s this fact that makes golf so unique and special to those in love with the ancient game.
With golf’s oldest major championship looming large on the golfing calendar, let’s take a look at the courses on The Open Rota, when they’re next hosting the event, and some key information you’ll need to know if you plan to play them on your next golf holiday:
2016 sees Royal Troon host The Open for the 9th time. When the sun shines it is easy to see why this is considered one of the best tests in links golf.
WHERE IS ROYAL TROON?
Situated on the ruggedly beautiful South Ayrshire coastline in the West of Scotland, less than 40 miles from Glasgow, Royal Troon is, needless to say, easily accessible from Glasgow Airport and its location is in prime golfing country, with a number of other world class courses lying just a short drive away.
Those looking to enjoy a round at Royal Troon could add the likes of Prestwick, host of the 1st 12 Opens, and the Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry, most recently seen at the 2009 Open where Tom Watson came within a whisker of winning at the age of 59, to their itineraries.
PAST CHAMPIONS AT ROYAL TROON:
Last time The Open was staged at Troon, the unheralded Todd Hamilton pipped Ernie Els by a single shot in a 4-hole playoff, but previously to that, legendary names including Bobby Locke, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson have all claimed the Claret Jug here.
DID YOU KNOW?
Aptly dubbed “The Postage Stamp”, the par 3 8th at Royal Troon might only measure a little over 120 yards, but it is by no means a pushover.
Bubba Watson made a triple bogey 6 on the opening round of The Open in 2016, his playing partner, Rory McIlroy made 2, just a show of how quickly a round can change at Troon.
HOW MUCH IS A GREEN FEE AT ROYAL TROON AND ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
Tee times are available on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday on The Championship Course at Troon. The cost is £220 per player and includes a complimentary second round on the neighbouring Portland Course which is available to play before or after your round. Handicap certificates are requested with a maximum of 20 for men and 30 for ladies.
WHERE IS ROYAL BIRKDALE?
Royal Birkdale takes pride of place on the links land around Southport that has become known as “England’s Golf Coast”, and easy access to the course is afforded by a good network of roads as well as Manchester Airport, which is a little less than an hour’s drive away.
When it comes to links golf, Southport golf tours are perhaps the crème de la crème in England, with other classic courses including Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham & St Anne’s, Hillside and Formby all within easy driving distance of Birkdale.
PAST CHAMPIONS AT ROYAL BIRKDALE:
Last time out, Padraig Harrington won his 2nd consecutive Open, joining a list of previous winners at Birkdale that includes Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and (perhaps unsurprisingly considering he won five Claret Jugs in total) Tom Watson.
DID YOU KNOW?
In addition to its 9 Open Championships, Royal Birkdale also played host to the 1965 and 1969 Ryder Cups, the Walker Cup, the Curtis Cup and the Women’s British Open.
HOW MUCH IS A GREEN FEE AT ROYAL BIRKDALE AND ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
Between the months of April to September, a green fee to play Royal Birkdale will cost £215 per round on a weekday and if you would like to play on the weekend it will cost you £245. In the off-peak season from October – December, a weekday green fee will cost £165 and a weekend green fee will cost £200. It is definitely worth noting there is a £10 discount for bookings online. All green fees also include a Soup and Sandwich Lunch for you to enjoy after hitting the course.
Scheduled to host The Open in 2018, Carnoustie, or “Carnasty” as it’s known in some quarters, is regarded as the toughest course on the Open Rota.
WHERE IS CARNOUSTIE GOLF LINKS?
Carnoustie is located on the far side of the bay that feeds the River Tay, less than an hour from St Andrews and a 90 minute drive from Edinburgh Airport.
With its location so close to St Andrews, The Home of Golf; there are plenty of options when it comes to including Carnoustie on a golf tour itinerary. Of course, Carnoustie is part of the trio of courses (along with the Old Course and Kingsbarns) that play host to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships on the European Tour.
For more affordable options, look no further than courses like Forfar, Monifieth and Panmure. Panmure was the course that Ben Hogan prepared for his victory at Carnoustie in 1953 and is well worth a play if in the area.
PAST CHAMPIONS AT CARNOUSTIE GOLF LINKS:
Padraig Harrington won his first major championship at the 2007 Open and before that Paul Lawrie claimed an unlikely victory here following Jean Van de Valde’s notorious final hole meltdown. Their names now sit alongside the likes of Tom Watson, Gary Player and Ben Hogan as Open Champions to have won at Carnoustie.
DID YOU KNOW?
Paul Lawrie’s win in 1999 is in fact the largest final day comeback in major championship history, having trailed by 10 shots before teeing off on Sunday.
HOW MUCH IS A GREEN FEE AT CARNOUSTIE AND ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
In peak season from April – October, a green fee on The Championship Course at Carnoustie will cost £165 and there is also a 4 ball special rate of £480. In off-peak season from November – March you can play The Championship Course at Carnoustie for £80. The handicap limit for Carnoustie is 28 for Men and 36 for Ladies.
Royal Portrush last hosted The Open in 1951 and was reinstated to the Open Rota in 2014.
WHERE IS ROYAL PORTRUSH?
Royal Portrush, the only course outside of England and Scotland to have hosted golf’s oldest major, sits on the awe-inspiring coastline in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, just a stone’s throw from the world famous Giant’s Causeway.
Two more top class links courses in the form of Castlerock and Portstewart are just a short drive from Royal Portrush and with Royal County Down a manageable 2 hours away by car, Northern Ireland’s coastline is heaven sent for lovers of links golf.
PAST CHAMPIONS AT ROYAL PORTRUSH:
Englishman Max Faulkner claimed the Claret Jug in 1951, and there’s little doubt that a win for the likes of Rory McIlroy, who once shot 61 here as a 16 year old, would be a special achievement for the Northern Ireland native.
DID YOU KNOW?
Royal Portrush is the home club of Your Golf Travel Ambassador and Team Europe Captain for The 2016 Ryder Cup, Darren Clarke. Graeme McDowell also grew up playing the course with the majority of his golf being played on the adjacent Valley course.
HOW MUCH IS A GREEN FEE AT ROYAL PORTRUSH AND ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
In peak-season, a round on The Dunluce Course will cost £180. There are some restrictions for visitors playing The Dunluce course such as on Saturday’s visitors can only play after 3 pm due to Members competitions and on Sunday they can play after 2 pm. During the week, visitors have the choice of playing between the window of 9.40 am – 11.50 am and anytime after 2 pm.
The St Andrews Old Course, host of a record 29 Opens, has hosted The Open once every 5 years since 1990, a tradition expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
WHERE IS THE OLD COURSE AT ST ANDREWS?
The Old Course is routed over common land in St Andrews, just a stone’s throw from the heart of the town and a little over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh Airport.
The R&A Clubhouse sits adjacent to the 1st tee, and with a further 6 courses under the watch of the St Andrews Links Trust, as well as well-known St Andrews golfing institutions such as the Jigger Inn, a must visit pub on any St Andrews golf tour, nearby as well, the Old Course is the beating heart of any St Andrews golf tour.
The nearest train station is Leuchars which has regular services from Edinburgh and takes around an hour and a half. There is also an option to fly into Dundee airport which is around a 30-minute drive.
PAST CHAMPIONS AT ST ANDREWS:
Rather fittingly, The Old Course has a habit of producing champions of the very highest calibre. The list of past champions at St Andrews reads like a who’s who of golfing greats, with names like James Braid, Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods all featuring.
DID YOU KNOW?
Golf has been played over the St Andrews Links for over 600 years.
HOW MUCH IS A GREEN FEE ON THE OLD COURSE AND ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
The Old Course at St. Andrews is definitely one of the most famous courses in the world and is on every golfer’s bucket list. To play The Old Course at St. Andrews, A green fee in peak summer will cost £175 and in the low – season from January to March you can play The Old Course for £85.
Known by many as “Hoylake”, Royal Liverpool is one of three Open Championship courses in North West England, with both Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham St Anne’s sitting on the coastline further to the North.
WHERE IS ROYAL LIVERPOOL GOLF CLUB?
Hoylake sits on the Wirral Peninsula at the mouth of the River Dee, 30 minutes from Liverpool City Centre and just under an hour from Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
The Wirral Peninsula is home to 14 golf courses in all so why not book a golf tour here with rounds at the likes of Wallasey, Heswall or Caldy?
PAST CHAMPIONS AT ROYAL LIVERPOOL GOLF CLUB:
Rory McIlroy claimed his first Open Championship at Hoylake in 2014, following in the footsteps of his childhood hero Tiger Woods who famously won here in 2006, despite only hitting driver once all week.
DID YOU KNOW?
Royal Liverpool is the 2nd oldest seaside golf course in England, with only Royal North Devon preceding it. There is also a link with Augusta National and the traditional green jacket awarded to winners of The Masters and members of the club, the story apparently goes that Bobby Jones remarked on a members jacket, to which the member replied that if he won the tournament he would give Jones his jacket as a gift.
HOW MUCH IS A GREEN FEE AT ROYAL LIVERPOOL AND ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
To experience a round at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, a green fee in peak summer on a weekday will cost £185, and if you would like to play on the weekend, the cost is £215. In the low season from November to February, you can play at Royal Liverpool for £90. The maximum handicap for Men is 21 and for Ladies, it is 32.
Royal Lytham and St Anne’s is the most northerly of the Open Championship courses in England, and has staged the event on 11 occasions to date.
WHERE IS ROYAL LYTHAM AND ST ANNE’S GOLF CLUB?
Unlike most of the other Open courses currently on the Open Rota, Lytham lies slightly inland, 6 miles from Blackpool and a little over an hour’s drive from both Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
PAST CHAMPIONS AT ROYAL LYTHAM AND ST ANNE’S GOLF CLUB:
Last time out, Adam Scott blew a golden chance to land his 1st major, dropping 4 shots and handing Ernie Els the title at the last. Seve Ballesteros is the Open Champion most commonly associated with Lytham thanks to his 2 wins here, most notably when he became the “Car Park Champions” in 1979.
DID YOU KNOW?
Royal Lytham is the only course on the Open Rota to start with a par 3. Whilst Tom Lehman’s winning total of 271 is considered one of the greatest 4 round totals at Lytham, it is actually the total scored by James Heath in 2004 in claiming the amateur Lytham Trophy that claims the biggest plaudits. Heath’s scores of 67, 68, 66 & 65 saw a winning total of 266, winning by no less than 8 shots from Ross Fisher.
HOW MUCH IS A GREEN FEE AT ROYAL LYTHAM AND ST ANNE’S AND ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
In peak summer a round at Royal Lytham will cost £180 for 18 holes and £270 for 36 holes. Monday and Thursday are the main visitor days, but there are also additional late afternnon tee times on other days. All green fees include a lunch which is served in the clubhouse between 11.30am – 5pm.
WHERE IS ROYAL ST GEORGE’S GOLF CLUB?
The most southerly of the Open Championship courses, Royal St George’s shares a heavenly patch of land with 2 former Open hosts in the form of Royal Cinque Ports and Princes Golf Club and can be accessed from London via the M2 and M20 motorway. Dover Ferry Port is also just 25 minutes away by car.
PAST CHAMPIONS AT ROYAL ST GEORGE’S GOLF CLUB:
In 2011, Your Golf Travel Ambassador Darren Clarke sealed his place in Open history, defeating recent US Open winner Dustin Johnson en route to lifting The Claret Jug. Greg Norman took the title in 1993 with an incredible winning score of -13 (267), Norman’s win was all the more impressive as he closed with a final round of 64 to win by 2 from Nick Faldo who finished with a 67.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, was a member here at Royal St George’s and while the golf scenes from the film Goldfinger were filmed at Stoke Park, Fleming called the course “Royal St Marks” in the film, which is widely believed to have been inspired by his home club.
HOW MUCH IS A GREEN FEE AT ROYAL ST. GEORGE’S AND ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
If you would like to play the 14 time Open venue, a green fee in the summer will cost £180 for 18 holes and £220 for 36 holes. In the winter months from December to February, you can play Royal St. George’s for £90 and by paying £40 more, you can play 36 holes.