The Royal Birkdale Front 9

By: Shaun Parker

The Royal Birkdale has been named as the host for the 2008 British open. The Links course that was first developed in 1922 will become the home of the most anticipated event of the British golfing calendar between the 17th and 20th of July 2008. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the course here is an introduction to the front 9.

Hole 1

The first hole at the Royal Birkdale delivers a beautiful introduction to the world famous links course. The hole dog legs to the left and requires a 290 yard drive to reach the kink in the fairway. It is important to drive well and place your shot between Out of Bounds to the right of the fairway and a large bunker set into a large mound known as 'Jutland' to the left. A well place drive will leave you with an achievable yet demanding 145 yard shot to the pin.

Hole 2

The 421 yard par 4 second hole is a straight hole that requires a solid drive into the prevailing wind. A good drive will give you a chance to attack the well protected green. Surrounded by rough banks and six bunkers this hole requires excellent approach play.

Hole 3

Another hole that requires an exceptional drive is the 450 yard par 4 third. The fairway is straight with the green slightly offset to the right. For this reason you must try to strike your drive to the left of the fairway whilst avoiding the two large inviting bunkers that are placed there. Succeed and you will be rewarded with an achievable second shot at the green. If your drive is wayward this hole will give you little chance of reprise.

Hole 4

After 3 long drives the fourth offers a different challenge. The tee is elevated and you are required to be bold with your drive to reach the green. Nestled in a cluster of bunkers this splendid 203 yard par 3 will provide a new challenge from the earlier holes.

Hole 5

A quintessential links hole the par four 5th dog legs to the right and offers deep rough to each side of the fairway so a careful drive is important. The long narrow green is well guarded by a collection of bunkers that provide a formidable challenge for your approach play.

Hole 6

This long 509 yard par 5 requires a long straight drive as each side of the fairway is flanked with unforgiving bunkers that will collect wayward shots. As well as a long tee shot the hole demands a lengthy second to leave you with a chance to approach the green with your third. Elevated and surrounded by sand dunes the green is well contoured and provides a formidable challenge.

Hole 7

The punchy par 3 7th is the shortest hole on the course. 177 yards long the hole demands an accurate tee shot over heavy rough. Your tee shot will have to avoid a collection of bunkers that protect the green.

Hole 8

The 8th is another hole that demands a long but accurate drive. A confident drive will place you beyond bunkers that flank the fairway and leave you with an opportunity to hit the green in two. The green has a deceptive putting surface that with provide a challenge for even the most accomplished golfers.

Hole 9

The 9th provides a multitude of challenges to complete the front nine. The tee shot has to be played blind with a prevailing crosswind and struck far enough to hit the recently moved fairway. A solid 411 yards stands between you and the pin. Two chunky bunkers pinch the neck of the green and invite under hit approach shots. Over hit approach shots will be collected by troublesome rough meaning that club selection is vitally important.

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