The Open Championship – the most historic and prestigious golf tournament of them all – has been staged at 14 different courses since the event was established in 1860. Ten of those courses remain on the ‘Open rota’.
Here we look at five of the best remaining Open venues and look ahead to the 149th staging of the annual showpiece, scheduled for the middle of July..
The Old Course, St Andrews
Arguably the most famous of the Open venues, the Old Course at St Andrews has long been rated one of the finest layouts in the world – the Holy Grail of links golf – where enthusiasts fly from all over the globe for tee-times booked months in advance.
Golf was first played at St Andrews 600 years ago, with the Open first staged there in 1873, and the honours board includes Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Peter Thomson, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.
Nicklaus and Woods have both won two Opens at St Andrews, bolstering its status as the premier Open venue. It has hosted 29 Opens and the 30th is scheduled for next year.
Royal Liverpool, Hoylake
A Merseyside Open always brings with it a special atmosphere – sports-mad locals line the fairways and are bursting with excitement – and Tiger Woods was given a hero’s welcome on his way to lifting the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool in 2006.
Rory McIlroy triumphed on this track in the last Open it staged – in 2014 – and the Open is set to return to the layout in 2023.
This brutal layout became known as Carnasty after humbling the Open competitors during savage conditions in the 1999 edition. Jean van de Velde needed only a double-bogey six or better on the final hole to secure the Claret Jug, but he went to pieces, ending up in the Barry Burn on his way to a triple-bogey seven.
Six over par was enough to top the leaderboard and Scotsman Paul Lawrie won a playoff on home turf. Francesco Molinari won the last Open at Carnoustie in 2018. A ninth Carnoustie Open is yet to be scheduled.
Royal Birkdale, Southport
Jordan Spieth’s last victory of any kind came in the Open at Birkdale in 2017 – and he became world number two. The Texan is close to drifting outside of the world’s top 100, so will be eager for a return, but there are no further Birkdale Opens on the horizon.
There have been ten in total. Birkdale staged the lowest round in the history of Major competition – Branden Grace’s 62 in the 2017 event.
Royal St George’s, Sandwich
This year’s venue was last used in 2011 – when Darren Clarke prevailed – and that was the 14th time it was employed. It was the first club outside of Scotland to host the Open (1894).
At 7,204 yards, par-70, it is a stiff test and four under par is the average winning score in the last six Opens there.