Royal Lytham lengthened for 2012 Open Championship

Royal Lytham and St Anne’s will be a bigger tougher test for the world’s best golfers at The Open Championship in July.

The championship committee of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) has announced that an extra 181 yards will be added to the Lancashire Links course.

American David Duval was the last winner of The Open at Lytham in 2001, when the course measured 6,905-yards to a par of 71.

Lytham is 181 yards longer for 2012 Open
Lytham lengthened by 181 yards for 2012 Open

This year’s field will be expected to play the lengthened course one shot better, covering 7,086 yards against a par of 70.

“It’s not revolutionary in length, but it does bring Royal Lytham up to modern standards,” said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson.

“Royal Lytham has always been a good challenge but these changes will make it a stiffer test.”

How will the course change?
The big changes will take place at holes 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11.

The second hole will be 43 yards longer making it a demanding 481-yard, par-4.

Players will need to hit it 265 yards to carry the first fairway bunker.

Beware the Hazards at Lytham
Flying the fairway bunkers is crucial to success

It doesn’t sound much but when the wind blows in off the Irish Sea that carry is certainly a challenge.

Twenty yards will be added to the par-4 3rd hole which will now measure 478 yards.

Mounding has been added to the left side of the fairway and two new bunkers have been built on the right tightening the drive.

The sixth hole will play the same length as in 2001, at 492 yards, but instead of being a par 5 it will play as a long par 4.

This is the change that has altered the par of the course.

6th hole was easiest in 2001
In the 2001 Open, the 6th hole was the easiest hole on the course yielding birdies and eagles, which is why it has been toughened up.

The green at the par-five 7th hole has been moved further left straightening the hole up and reducing the dangers posed by a big sand dune that used to hide the right side of the green from view.

The hole is also going to be 35 yards longer measuring 592 yards.

Back Nine even tougher
Lytham’s back nine is more difficult than the front nine, especially the closing six holes known as “Murder Mile,” for the series of bruising long par fours that close the course.

It will be even tougher this year as an extra 108 yards have been added to the 10th and 11th holes.

A new elevated tee on the par-five 11th will give a better view of the hole than in previous years and players will have to fly the ball 285 yards to reach the fairway beyond the left hand fairway bunkers.

Bunkers loom large at Lytham
Bunkers loom large at Royal Lytham

The R&A says the changes are part of a long term plan to upgrade all Open Championship courses that have hosted the event since 2002.

Muirfield will also be lengthened for the Open in 2013.

That could signal the end of changes to Open venues by the R&A.

“We don’t envision lengthening Open course in the future,” Dawson said. “That’s not to say we well not make changes, but they will be evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary.”

If you are planning to travel to The Open at Lytham in July make sure you take your clubs.

The North West Coast of England is known as “England’s Golf Coast,” and boasts a trilogy of Open Championship venues in Royal Liverpool Golf Club (Hoylake), Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham.

As a result the area is full of high quality links courses which act as qualifying venues for The Open, including Formby Golf Club, Hillside Golf Club, Southport and Ainsdale G.C and St Anne’s Old Links.

Read Global Golfer’s Coast with the Most to find out where to play and where to stay on England’s Golf Coast.

Other Open Golf headlines

• Mobile phones are to be allowed into The Open for the first time in five years but fans will not be allowed to use them as cameras and must go to specially defined areas to make calls.

• Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A says that most of the Open championship committee will travel over to Northern Ireland to look at Royal Portrush during this year’s Irish Open.

This statement comes amid growing calls for the Open to return to the links for the first time since 1951. He told the world’s media the course is under consideration.

Northern Ireland's famous golf links at Portrush
Portrush Golf Links - a contender to host The Open again?


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