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Course Walk-through:

An adaptation of the Yardage book, this article will focus on a quick hole by hole summary, and the important key yardage statistic for the Approach…I will then highlight the top players in the field from those categories, and who’s doing well recently from those yardages.

**Note:Leaders in these yardages are derived from proximity to the hole, which simply means, how far you are from the hole after your approach shot.

 

Course: Royal Birkdale

Yardage: 7,200

Par:70

 

**Note: Yardages may change based on Tee placements, but these should be relatively standard. Also, there are extremes at both ends of the driving distance spectrum (just think about DJ vs. Steve Stricker) but this should be indicative of MOST of the field. ***I went back to the Travelers for recent.

 

  1. Par 4, 440 yards: Accurate Tee shot required here. Most guys won’t hit driver here due to the nature of the drive… Look for approaches to come from 150-170
    • Yearly 150-175: Spieth, Na, Fowler, Kaymer, Matsuyama
    • Recent 150-175: Stricker, Bryan, ZJ, Mickelson, Castro, Na, Finau, Henley, Streb, Fowler, Spieth, Grillo

 

  1. Par 4, 420 Yards: This min-dogleg right is well guarded by bunkers on the right side of the fairway and the approach to the green. Normally this hole will play into the wind, and with winds expecting to be averaging 20MPH. Approach shots should come from 125-150.
    • Yearly- 125-150: Knox, Snedeker, Bryan, Hun-An, Stanley
    • Recent-125-150: Hun-an, Snedeker, Bryan, Hoffman, Finau, Spieth, Na, Fowler, Berger, Hoffman

 

  1. Par 4, 450: This uphill long par 4 requires an accurate tee-shot to be able to see the green. Bunkers on the left this time, players will try and favor the right side, but not too much, as it will block them out and leave them a blind shot in. Expect approaches to come from 150-175
    • Yearly 150-175: Spieth, Na, Fowler, Kaymer, Matsuyama
    • Recent 150-175: Stricker, Bryan, ZJ, Mickelson, Castro, Na, Finau, Henley, Streb, Fowler, Spieth, Grillo

 

  1. Par 3, 200 Yards: The first of two par 3’s on the front, this 200 yarder is again well bunkered. Guarded by three on the left and one on the right, the green sits some 30 ft below the teeing ground. Pending wind direction expect players to hit there 160-170 club.
    • Yearly 150-175: Spieth, Na, Fowler, Kaymer, Matsuyama
    • Recent 150-175: Stricker, Bryan, ZJ, Mickelson, Castro, Na, Finau, Henley, Streb, Fowler, Spieth, Grillo

 

  1. Par 4, 350 Yards: The short par 4 fifth hole gives player the ability to make a choice. It was tweeted out earlier that JT blew one through the green with his drive, but, we don’t expect to see that during the first two rounds at least. With some very deep fescue and a pond to the right, a miss with the driver brings double bogey into play very quick. Expect approaches to come from 100-125 yards.
    • Yearly 100-125: Hun-An, Thomas, Molinari, Berger, Piercy, DJ
    • Recent 100-125: Stricker, McGirt, Lovemark, Cink, Dechambeau, Howell III, Fowler, Streb, Furyk, Hun-An, Leishman

 

  1. Par 4, 500 Yards: This one here is an absolute doooozy. I suspect less than 10 birdies will be made all week on this hole. Not only is it long, but it there’s bunkers guarding the tee shot on both sides. Then after the golfers have managed to find the fairway (if they do) then they will be faced with long second shot somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 yards.
    • Yearly 150-175: Spieth, Na, Fowler, Kaymer, Matsuyama
    • Recent 150-175: Stricker, Bryan, ZJ, Mickelson, Castro, Na, Finau, Henley, Streb, Fowler, Spieth, Grillo

 

  1. Par 3, 180 Yards: No elevation change for this straightforward par 3. What a surprise: This green is protected by some nasty pot bunkers and a difficult putting surface.
    • Yearly 175-200: Koepka, Rahm, Steele, Matsuyama, Dechambeau
    • Recent 175-200: Leishman, Harman, Knox, Stanley, Howell III, Bryan, Reed,

 

  1. Par 4, 460 Yards: Have I mentioned the bunkers on this course? Oh right…. Well this hole presents a few of them from the tee shot. I suspect some will try and pull out driver, where others will look to simply hit 3 wood and walk away with 4… Thus, two ranges here: 125-150 and 150-175.
    • Yearly 125-175: Spieth, Fowler, Matsuyama, Koepka, Rahm
    • Recent 125-175: Stricker, Bryan, ZJ, Mickelson, Castro, Na, Finau, Henley, Streb, Fowler, Spieth, Grillo

 

  1. Par 4, 420 Yards:  Finally no bunkers to worry about off the tee… However you still need to have an accurate tee shot to give yourself a good look at the elevated green. I suspect, pending wind direction, players will hit at least one extra club. Therefore we want to look at 125-150 for the approach shots.
    • Yearly 125-150: Knox, Snedeker, Bryan, Hun-An, Stanley
    • Recent 125-150: Hun-an, Snedeker, Bryan, Hoffman, Finau, Spieth, Na, Fowler, Berger, Hoffman

 

  1. Par 4, 410 yards: After a one hole break, the bunkers return. A few different ways to play this as the longer hitters will take out drive and look to clear those aforementioned bunkers, whereas small hitters will law up shorter.
    1. Bombers(ranked 75th or better in DD)- <100
      1. Yearly- Mickelson, DJ, Berger, Day
    2. Non-Bombers( ranked 75th or worse in DD)- 125-150
      • Yearly- Hun-An, Molinari, Piercy,
      • Recent- Hun-an, Snedeker, Bryan, Hoffman, Finau, Spieth, Na, Fowler, Berger, Hoffman

 

  1. Par 4, 440: Back on the Bunker grind again. Two bunkers on each side lay between 270-320, so right in the landing zone of most players. Because of the length of the hole I can’t imagine many golfers not taking driver here. 125-150 will be key here.
    • Yearly 125-150: Knox, Snedeker, Bryan, Hun-An, Stanley
    • Recent 125-150: Hun-an, Snedeker, Bryan, Hoffman, Finau, Spieth, Na, Fowler, Berger, Hoffman

 

  1. Par 3, 180 Yards: Second par 3 that has this exact approach number. Bunkers guard the front left and right of the green.
    • Yearly 175-200: Koepka, Rahm, Steele, Matsuyama, Dechambeau
    • Recent 175-200: Leishman, Harman, Knox, Stanley, Howell III, Bryan, Reed,

 

  1. Par 4, 500 yards: Another absolute doozy of a par 4. Bunkers guide the right side of the tee, and one bunker on the left-hand side that will come into play for the longer hitters. Expect a 200+ yard approach shot to the difficult 13th.
    • Yearly 200+: Thomas, Na, Laird, Woodland, Fowler
    • Recent 200+: Kisner, Haas, Walker, Holmes, Castro, Howell III, Dechambeau

 

  1. Par 3, 200 yards: The final par 3 on the course, as Royal Birkdale finishes with 2 par 5’s and 2 par 4s. Like 90% of the holes on this course, this hole is protected by some pretty nasty pot bunkers. It normally hits into prevailing winds, but has an elevated tee to negate it. Look for it to play right on the number.
    • Yearly 200+: Thomas, Na, Laird, Woodland, Fowler
    • Recent 200+: Kisner, Haas, Walker, Holmes, Castro, Howell III, Dechambeau

 

  1. Par 5, 540 yards:  FINALLY A PAR 5! Most of the DK scoring will be done on the next 3 holes. Ready for this? This hole has 15 bunkers…yup 15. A shorter par 5 though could yield some eagles.
    • Yearly 225-250: Rose, Mickelson, Hatton, Vegas, Piercy
    • Recent 225-250: Na, Holmes, Steele, Finau, Berger, Harrington, Hoffman,

 

  1. Par4, 438 yards: No bunkers come into play on the tee shot here( though there are plenty on the hole) Needing a pretty long carry to cover some fescue, all golfers will be hitting drivers here.
    • Yearly 125-150: Knox, Snedeker, Bryan, Hun-An, Stanley
    • Recent 125-150: Hun-an, Snedeker, Bryan, Hoffman, Finau, Spieth, Na, Fowler, Berger, Hoffman

 

  1. Par 5, 570 Yards: Another par 5 here. Eagles will be had here as well as there’s not to much trouble off the tee. A few bunkers on the right hand side, but only handful of golfers will be able to reach them.
    • Yearly 225-250: Rose, Mickelson, Hatton, Vegas, Piercy
    • Recent 225-250: Na, Holmes, Steele, Finau, Berger, Harrington, Hoffman,

 

  1. Par 4, 473 yards:  Uh.Oh…. Out of bounds right on the finishing hole??? Spells disaster for Spieth when he’s got a three shot lead entering his 72 hole. Still a pretty easy driving hole other than that so most will be hitting driver here.
    • Yearly 150-175: Spieth, Na, Fowler, Kaymer, Matsuyama
    • Recent 150-175: Stricker, Bryan, ZJ, Mickelson, Castro, Na, Finau, Henley, Streb, Fowler, Spieth, Grillo

The Tally:

Let’s see where most of the approach shots will be coming from

  • <100 yards- 1 for the bombers that’s it.
  • 100-125 Yards- 1
  • 125-150 yards- 5 (1 more for the shorter hitters)
  • 150-175 yards- 6
  • 175-200 yards- 3
  • 200-225- 2
  • 225-250- 2

 

I hope you all enjoyed the first rendition of “Walking the Course”. When the information is available this article will be written! Want a bit more on the course? Be sure to read Tee-2-green First Cut where @grantbushman highlights some very important factors to consider! Hope you all enjoyed and good luck this week!