The BWD Major Tournament Hole of the Day: The 12th at Royal Birkdale, Home of The Open Championship

Tournament: The Open Championship – Royal Birkdale, Southport, England
Hole: 12th – Par 3, 184 Yards
Architect(s): Frederick G. Hawtree and J.H. Taylor- 1931

Architectural Summary:

The twelfth hole at Royal Birkdale is a challenging par three that plays to a narrow green surrounded by imposing dunes. From the tee, the 184-yard hole will be rather straightforward, though competitors must place a premium on correct club selection and alignment to control the prevailing cross wind blowing from the right off the Irish Sea. Players may look to shape their shots to the green depending on the wind conditions, but the ultimate target, all four days, will be the middle of the green. The dunes which surround the green may be able to provide a “backboard” to kick any missed shots back down on to the green, but dense rough may also catch player’s errant shots and that will require a difficult recovery shot. Four pot bunkers protect the elevated green short and will be a factor for players that attempt to run their shots onto the front of the green, which is roughly 175 yards from the tournament tees. The kidney-shaped green measures 32 yards deep by 19 yards wide and slopes from right-to-left. Should competitors miss the green; a challenging up-and-down will be required regardless of where they miss.

Statistical Analysis:

When Royal Birkdale last hosted The Open in 2008, the 12th hole played to a scoring average of 3.27.

Fun Facts:

  • The par 3 12th hole was added to the course behind the dunes of the 11th green prior to the 1965 Open Championship. The new 12th hole replaced the then par 3 17th hole.
  • The previous Open champions who has won at Royal Birkdale include Peter Thomson (1954 & 1965), Arnold Palmer (1961), Lee Trevino (1971), Johnny Miller (1976), Tom Watson (1983), Ian Baker-Finch (1991),Mark O’Meara (1998), and Padraig Harrington (2008).
  • Royal Birkdale has held more international championship events since WWII than any other course in the world. Events have included Open Championships, Ryder Cups, Women’s British Opens, Senior Opens, Amateur Championships, Walker Cups and Curtis Cups.