The layout of Royal Lytham & St Annes has remained faithful to the original created by the Club's first Professional, George Lowe, over a century ago. The only significant changes were made in 1919 when the club asked Harry Colt, the pre-eminent Course Designer of the time to make recommendations for improvement.
Over the next four years he repositioned some of the Greens and Tees added numerous bunkers and lengthened the course.
It is not a conventionally beautiful golf course, surrounded as it is by suburban housing and flanked by a railway line, but it has a charm all of its own. It is a Links Course that is a long way from the sea yet close enough for the sea breeze to have an effect on one's game and was aptly described by Bernard Darwin, the leading golf writer of the thirties, as 'a beast of a Course, but a just beast'. He went on to say that 'no one could fail to be impressed by its difficulties, which sets a golfer just about as ruthless as an examination as any Course of my acquaintance'.
Ryder Cup Captain Mark James wrote:
"And Lytham was set up magnificently in 2001 (for the Open Championship), perfect for the world's premier golfing event. I do not think they could have prepared that Course better. It was a perfect combination of width of fairways, length of rough and pace and quality of greens. It should be used as a model for future Opens. Everyone who knows Lytham knew that it would be the one Course where Tiger Woods would not have a big advantage because of the distance he hits, as there are relatively few holes where you can carry the trouble. Tiger could not tame it".
It is renowned as a Course on which is it hard to scramble a good score, after all, there are 206 bunkers peppering the Fairways and surrounding the Greens. It may not be the longest of courses but it is one where careful thought and accurate shots are required.
As Darwin wrote:
'Hit your ball to the right place and the way to the hole is open to you, but hit your ball to the wrong place and every kind of punishment, whether immediate or ultimate, will ensue'.