Check out these 15 cool facts about the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham, and just in time to get you in the Open spirit. That is if you weren’t already there.
1. The Scotsman George Lowe, who was the club’s first professional, designed the course. Reportedly, the only significant changes to Lowe’s original design were made by Harry Colt in 1919. Colt also redesigned Hoylake and Muirfield, in addition to designing more than 300 courses.
2. Although the course does not actually border the sea, ocean winds still have a significant effect on the flight of the golf ball at Royal Lytham. The layout, which uniquely begins with a par 3, was described by golf writer Bernard Darwin as, “a beast of a course, but a just beast.”
3. The Open Championship has been played at Royal Lytham 11 times.
4. The course has over 206 bunkers and closes with four straight par fours.
5. David Duval’s only major victory came at Royal Lytham in 2001.
6. The course’s current pro, Eddie Birchenough has been employed at the course since 1987. He plans to retire at the end of the year and will be replaced by his longtime assistant, Ben Squires.
7. Seve Ballesteros won two Opens at Royal Lytham, in 1979 and 1988. Arguably, the most memorable moment from an Open at Royal Lytham came in 1979 when Ballesteros drove his ball into a parking lot off the 16th tee. After taking relief and playing to the edge of the green, the Spaniard went on to hole a 35 footer for birdie.
8. The course has played between 6,800 and 7,100 yards for the eight Championships since 1963. For the 2012 Open, the course will play as a 7,086 yard par 70, in contrast to 2001, when it measured 6,905 and was played as a par 71.
9. Geographically, the course is closest to other Open venues Royal Birkdale and Royal Liverpool on the West coast of England in Lancashire.
10. Tony Jacklin, who famously ended the British drought at the Open in 1969, received a note in his locker from a fellow professional before his final round. The note contained a single word “tempo,” which became Jacklin’s mantra as he played his way to victory.
11. In 1926, the U.S.’s most famous amateur, Bobby Jones won his first of three Open Championships at the course.
12. Gary Player became the third man to win an Open Championship in three different decades with his victory at Royal Lytham in 1974.
13. One of only two plaques awarded in Open Championship history resides at Royal Lytham. The plaque commemorates Bobby Jones’ shot from a sandy lie on the 17th hole to seal the 1926 Championship.
14. This will be the first year in which mobile phones are permitted at the Open Championship. Phones must be on silent at all times and calls are permitted only in designated areas. Taking photos or video is not permitted during the tournament.
15. For a course overview, there is no better resource than the R&A’s at theopen.com.