Thursday, May 06, 2010

Royal Lytham toughened up and lengthened for 2012 Open

By Alistair Tait
Competitors in last weekend's Lytham Trophy served as guinea pigs for the Open Championship due to take place at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in 2012.
Royal Lytham has always posed a serious challenge to Europe’s elite amateurs ever since the inaugural Lytham Trophy in 1965. This year it was even more challenging. Those who had the fortune to compete in the tournament got a sneak preview of what the world’s top golfers will face two years from now.
A number of significant changes have been made to the golf course to make it an even sterner test than it was when David Duval won the Open Championship in 2001. Nine years ago, the course measured 6,905 yards and played to a par of 71.
The exact measurement of the 2012 course has not been settled yet, but it will measure about 7,150 yards with a par of 70.
Key changes come at the second, third, sixth, seventh, 10th and 11th holes.
No architectural changes were made to the sixth, but it now plays as a 490yd par-4 instead of a par-5 like it played nine years ago.
New tees at the second, third, 10th and 11th holes make up for most of the extra yardage. For example, the new second tee is 50yd behind the old championship tee, and this par-4 now measures 486yd.
The challenge at number two lies in the tee shot. Players will need to fly 275 yd from the tee to carry the bunkers that protect the right centre of the fairway. No problem downwind but tricky if the breeze is into the players’ faces.
The third hole has been extended, too, and new bunkers right and left along with mounding on the left-hand side of the fairway tightens up a hole that was already challenging enough.
One of the biggest alterations is seen at the par-5 seventh hole. Previously, the green was set in a little punch bowl behind a large mound. The new green is some 70yd farther on and to the left, making the hole less of a blind shot.
The 10th hole was extended right to the edge of the property. Forty yards were added to the hole, meaning players now need to hit a longer iron into a smallish green.
The 11th hole has a new tee about 45yd behind the old championship tee. It is perched on a high dune behind and to the left of the 10th green. The fairway bunkers on the left-hand side of the fairway have been reduced, too. Whereas previously players were blindly hitting over the fairway bunker, now they get a good look at the entire hole from the tee.
A par-70 course measuring 7,150yd doesn’t sound foreboding in today’s game, but competitors in this year’s Lytham Trophy would disagree. Average scores varied between 76-77.
The pros have been warned. Royal Lytham will be tough in 2012



Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google