LYTHAM, England – A hole-by-hole look at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where the 141st British Open will be played July 19-22:
No. 1, 205 yards, par 3: The only course in the British Open rotation that opens with a par 3. The difficulty is gauging the wind because the tee box is enclosed by trees and the green is exposed. Seven bunkers form a horseshoe of protection around a relatively flat putting surface.
No. 2, 481 yards, par 4: This hole plays 43 yards longer than in 2001, bringing into play three pot bunkers to the right of the fairway. They now require a carry of some 265 yards, and depending on the wind, some will have to thread their shots to the left of them. The green slopes from left to right.
No. 3, 478 yards, par 4: The tee shot must avoid two bunkers down the left side, though not to the point that the shot drifts too far right toward trees and out-of-bounds along the entire right side. The approach is to a slightly raised green.
No. 4, 392 yards, par 4: Generally played into the wind, this hole turns back toward the clubhouse with a sharp bend to left. It requires a tee shot down the right side to give a clear view of the green. Anything too far left leaves virtually a blind shot to the green. Seven bunkers are littered along the driving zone, with five more protecting the green.
No. 5, 219 yards, par 3: The longest of the par 3s requires a straight shot with a middle iron, depending on the wind, to avoid bunkers on either side of the entry way to the green. What makes this hole difficult is a large area of dead ground short of the green that makes the hole play longer than it seems.
No. 6, 492 yards, par 4: The length of this hole was reduced 2 yards and turned into a par 4. It features a sharp dogleg left, with deep rough and a bunker at the elbow of the dogleg. Four cross bunkers stretch across the fairway well short of the green, and five bunkers guard the green. The second shot has to carry a sharp left-to-right slope in front of the putting surface.
No. 7, 592 yards, par 5: A new tee makes this hole 35 yards longer than in 2001, though it still can be reached in two in reasonable conditions. The fairway bends slightly to the right between a nest of bunkers. The green is offset in a hollow in the dunes, with a particularly dangerous bunker at the front left.
No. 8, 416 yards, par 4: Much like the third hole, this also runs along the rail and features out-of-bounds to the right. It's an elevated tee, and most players will use an iron to avoid the deep bunker on the left. That leaves a short iron to an elevated green set beyond a row of three bunkers, though there is 40 yards of ground between the bunkers and the green.
No. 9, 163 yards, par 3: The shortest hole demands the greatest degree of accuracy. The only gap in the circle of bunkers that surround the green are in the back, and that leads down a slope to an out-of-bounds fence. The green slopes from back left to front right. Par is difficult for anyone missing the green.
No. 10, 387 yards, par 4: From the far end of the course starts the journey back to the clubhouse. This will be an iron off the tee down the left side to set up a classic pitch-and-run into a severely uphill green with bunkers to the left and right. Any approach too long will leave a tricky recovery.
No. 11, 598 yards, par 5: A new tee has added 56 yards, making it difficult to carry two pot bunkers at the elbow of this slight dogleg to the left. The rough can be thick if the shot goes left of those bunkers. Jim Furyk took a 10 on this hole in 2001. The slightly elevated green is exposed to the prevailing wind.
No. 12, 198 yards, par 3: The last par 3 on the course, and perhaps the most difficult because there is out-of-bounds close the right edge of the green, which is raised and slightly angled. There were only 28 birdies on this hole in 2001, and 35 birdies in 1996. Last time, Pierre Fulke took an 8 in the final round.
No. 13, 355 yards, par 4: Thus begins a tough closing stretch of six par 4s. This is a gentle start, and perhaps the best chance at birdie, though it has some bite. There are 15 bunkers from tee to green. Some big hitters might try to reach the green depending on the conditions.
No. 14, 444 yards, par 4: The tee shot should avoid bunkers and sand hills on the right to provide the best angle to the green. Out-of-bounds to the right comes into play on the approach, and contours in the fairway can move the ball in that direction. David Duval made par from the right rough, a key hole in his 2001 win.
No. 15, 462 yards, par 4: Seven bunkers along both sides of the fairway make this a tough tee shot, and the longest hole of closing stretch plays into a prevailing wind. The green is 34 yards deep and slopes at the back, with three bunkers around it.
No. 16, 336 yards, par 4: A short par, though it can be troublesome. The tee shot is blind. The left side of the fairway allows for the best angle. Or players can follow the route of Seve Ballesteros, who in 1979 drove into an overflow parking lot and still managed a birdie on his way to his first Open title.
No. 17, 453 yards, par 4: The landing area is tighter than usual between a range of bunkers on the left and bushes to the right. The best tee shot is to the right, which opens up a green well-bunkered on both sides. This is where Bobby Jones made a remarkable recovery from the left rough when he won in 1926. And it is where Darren Clarke made double bogey from the bunkers to end his challenge in 2001.
No. 18, 413 yards, par 4: Two lines of bunkers cut diagonally across the fairway up to 300 yards from the tee. The ideal tee shot moves slightly to the right half of the fairway beyond the final bunker, allowing for a good view of the green that is positioned between seven bunkers.