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Thread: Royal Birkdale

  1. #1
    Tour Rookie Duckster's Avatar
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    Royal Birkdale

    Yesterday I managed to have a huge tick placed against one on the bucket list. Royal Birkdale.

    Thanks to BMW and Titleist I managed to get a full day there alongside 2 of my friends.
    After so many times of looking out towards the clubhouse, I was finally able to turn right and head down to the car park that I've seen so many times before. Close up it is just immaculate. The staff were second to none and couldn't be more helpful on where to go and what to do. Coffee and bacon butties overlooking the 18th green (oddly, sat next to John Parrot who'd strayed out from his usual Formby GC for the day).

    BMW goodies were distributed when we got our scorecards, with a pocket full of tees and a pitch mark repairer that could be used as an offensive weapon (it come's out like a flick knife!). Following this we had a ball fitting, pro v1x for me we got a sleeve of our preferred ball (many thanks here for the extra 2 ball pack as we were there for Team Titleist). Free tokens for the range and dabble at the short game area. The facilities are superb.

    Then the time to tee off came. Even though I've walked the course many times following the pro's at The Open, it's the first time I've been down on the fairways. A solid drive down the middle on the first, actually too solid as I ran out of fairway. It also turned out to be the only solid drive of the day for me. A slightly pulled 6i gifted me with my first visit to one of Birkdale’s penal bunkers where I had to attempt a stance with my left knee on the turf outside the bunker and right foot buried deep against the face. Out in one but then three putts for an opening double bogey. 2 over and I didn't really hit a bad shot. This was a trend that would follow me round.

    The holes drift between the sand dunes in a way that mother nature intended as the course was laid out before the times of bulldozers to move tons of earth about as seen in more modern courses. It flows nicely and the majority of holes are their own little enclaves giving just glimpses of the holes to come.

    Conservative golf tended to more beneficial (for me) trying to plot your way round and take the many, MANY bunkers out of play. However the views from the tee's just seemed to make driver appear to be the club to take and here in I was punished. Any drive slightly off the fairway will still allow you a shot in to the green but will almost automatically bring in one or two of the greenside bunkers in to play. Anything further wide is (or should be) sideways out. Any fairway bunker hit is, unless you are seasoned pro, sideways out or just 15-20 yards forwards. The utmost thing is to get it back in play.

    Once you finally reach the greens, they are simply divine. Impeccable surfaces with some of the subtlest breaks I have ever witnessed. Anything firm would float right on by but anything trying to gently fall in to the hole would require a perfectly judged line and pace.

    The 14th had a "beat the pro". Now I didn't beat him, but I did equal him with a par. Not too shabby when the pro was none other than Colin Montgomerie. We knew he was hitting 7i so I clubbed up to a 6. Best shot I hit of the day and it flew straight over the pin..... and over the green. As Colin said whilst it was in the air “6 iron? Should have gone with 7!” A chip back to pin high left a 4 foot putt to save par.

    I’d been having trouble hitting driver all day. I know I should go down to 3wood, 3 iron, but your heart says "go on. when will you next be at Birkdale? Hit the driver". Aaaaaaannnd. In the cabbage. Provisionals hit on 15, 16 & 17 all resulting in blobs.

    Finally arrived at 18. Driver (I don’t learn). Caught from the bottom of the club and thumped right into the gorse about 25 yards ahead, nestled down in the thick stuff. Wedge to get it out followed by a lovely struck 7i to 100 yards. One last approach and it turned out to be probably the nicest contact I’d had all day. 52deg sedge straight at the pin. Landed 2 feet short one bounce and then slams the pin, ended up a foot away! Tap in par. Only disgruntle part about it was about that was the even with all the people in outside the clubhouse, not a single one saw the pin-seeker moment! No-one! Ahh well, I saw it.

    Even though I scored badly, this is a fair course. It shows you what is required from the tee and then it's down to the golfer to execute. Any bad shots on this are punished, but if you hit good shots and choose the correct holes to attack on then the rewards are there for you.

    Easily the best course I've played in England, in fact straight in (very closely) behind the Old Course as my all time favourite.

    I will be back.

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    Hit a little white ball round a field into a small hole. Repeat.

    Current Handicap: 12 2016 Target: Lower than 12

  2. #2
    Ryder Cup Winner drive4show's Avatar
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    Re: Royal Birkdale

    I also rate this as the best course in England although not my personal favourite as it always beats me up. Glad you enjoyed your day!

    ps....you look just like Monty!!

  3. #3
    Tour Rookie Duckster's Avatar
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    Re: Royal Birkdale

    Quote Originally Posted by drive4show View Post
    I also rate this as the best course in England although not my personal favourite as it always beats me up. Glad you enjoyed your day!

    ps....you look just like Monty!!
    All the lads at my club have been saying things along the lines of "Harry Hill and Laura Davies both look in fine fettle".

    Hit a little white ball round a field into a small hole. Repeat.

    Current Handicap: 12 2016 Target: Lower than 12

  4. #4
    Journeyman Pro IanM's Avatar
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    Re: Royal Birkdale

    Good piece.... some days it's forget the score, take in the atmosphere! (Hence some of the comments in the how much do you play for top courses!)

    DId you learn about the 2010 Ryder Cup counting as a Major Championship?
    M2 driver, looking for new fairways, M4 hybrids and Ping i210 irons.
    Scotty putter....

    Too much work, not enough golf!

  5. #5
    Tour Rookie Duckster's Avatar
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    Re: Royal Birkdale

    Quote Originally Posted by IanM View Post
    Good piece.... some days it's forget the score, take in the atmosphere! (Hence some of the comments in the how much do you play for top courses!)

    DId you learn about the 2010 Ryder Cup counting as a Major Championship?
    Hahaha! We did have the discussion on the hole beforehand of if "Old Man" Majors actually count as majors. We decided that they only count if we were in earshot of Colin, but better to not bring it up. Or Celtic Manor.

    We did however have a chat about the Elevensports thing with him. But what happened on the 14th, stays on the 14th.... (on the QT, he was saying it should be on sky, which we were in full agreement with, although he did get paid quite a lot to be a pundit with them - just, shhhhh. Don't tell anyone).
    Hit a little white ball round a field into a small hole. Repeat.

    Current Handicap: 12 2016 Target: Lower than 12

  6. #6
    Money List Winner Lord Tyrion's Avatar
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    Re: Royal Birkdale

    Did you lose many balls in the rough or could you still find them in there? I suppose I am asking was it punishment but still fair?

    Great write up.
    Nike Covert 2.0 Driver, Nike Covert 3 Wood, Nike Covert 26° Hybrid, Ping G25 23° Hybrid, Cleveland CG16 Irons , Cleveland Wedges, Odyssey White Hot RX No. 1 Putter

  7. #7
    Tour Rookie Duckster's Avatar
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    Re: Royal Birkdale

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tyrion View Post
    Did you lose many balls in the rough or could you still find them in there? I suppose I am asking was it punishment but still fair?

    Great write up.
    Only lost 2 ball's all day. There were some I wish I hadn't found though.

    Yes, it was definitely fair, I made it harder on myself by picking the wrong club and trying to hit it too hard.
    Hit a little white ball round a field into a small hole. Repeat.

    Current Handicap: 12 2016 Target: Lower than 12

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