Joe at The British Open with Alex Wu-Ashen

Joe and Alex spent the week preparing for this weeks British Open at The Royal Liverpool Golf Club. The Royal Liverpool is steeped in history with past winners including Bobby Jones and Tiger Woods.

A hole by hole breakdown. Content from


No. 1 - Royal | 458 yards | Par-4

 A dogleg left, players will need to avoid the three bunkers in the landing area off the tee. Playing down the left side is ideal for an easier shot into the green. The green was redone in 2010 and is one of the more challenging surfaces on the course. There are four bunkers guarding the green and players may have a hard time getting long irons to stop near the pin. It was the seventh-hardest hole in 2006.

No. 2 - Stand | 454 yards | Par-4

 The second hole was lengthened by 18 yards and four fairway bunkers were removed. There are still three pot bunkers in the fairway and three more guarding the green. The green has a few undulations and pin placements that can make it very challenging. It played as the fourth-hardest hole in 2006, but did yield two eagles.

No. 3 - Course | 426 yards | Par-4 

 A sharp dogleg right, the third hole requires accuracy from tee to green. Out of bounds runs up the entire right side and is a factor both off the tee and on the second shot. There isn't much margin for error around the green and anything to the right can easily wind up out of bounds. There is a gully on the left side of the green that will pull the ball away from the pin. A lot of players will likely take an iron off the tee, then play to the front-center of the green and let their balls roll up to the pin.

No. 4 - Road | 372 yards | Par-4

 The shortest par-4 on the course, No. 4 is another hole that requires accuracy off the tee. An ideal tee shot will find the left side of the fairway, giving the players a better angle to attack the green. The green slopes from back to front and is guarded by bunkers in front and out of bounds behind. Depending on the wind, players could attack with a driver and leave a short chip, or layup with an iron and have a 9-iron or wedge into the green.

No. 5 - Long | 528 yards | Par-5

 The first par-5 on the course, No. 5 should be a very good birdie opportunity. It played as the third-easiest hole on the course in 2006 and the long hitters can attack it in two. Avoiding the fairway bunkers off the tee is key and doing so will cut the dogleg to the left and give players a solid shot at the green in two. The green is tricky with several contours and a new bunker guarding the front right.

No. 6 - New | 201 yards | Par-3

 The sixth could be one of the pivotal holes of the tournament. It's the longest par-3 on the course and doesn't leave very many places to miss. There were nine double bogeys on No. 6 in 2006, the most of any hole. The green is long and narrow with three deep bunkers guarding the front. Missing left will likely leave a tough shot from a bunker or the rough. Missing long could end up in the shrubs behind the green. Escaping with a par is a very good result.

No. 7 - Telegraph | 480 yards | Par-4

 The seventh hole was the fifth-hardest in 2006 and might be even more challenging this year. There is a new tee and it adds nearly 30 yards to the hole, making the dogleg right a little more of a factor. Accuracy off the tee is especially key at No. 7 with bunkers, thick rough and broken ground surrounding the landing area. Many players say the hole plays longer than the yardage indicates and missing short could find a greenside bunker. The green isn't one of the hardest on the course; getting there is the bigger challenge.

No. 8 - Briars | 431 yards | Par-4

Players will be forced to hit a blind tee shot on No. 8, sending their balls over an out-of-bounds hedge in front. If they manage to find the fairway and avoid the bunkers on the right and the shrubs on the left, there isn't much left to the hole. The green is large and fairly flat with a slope near the front and some runoff off the back. Players can take a 3-wood off the tee and still have a wedge or a high-iron into the green.

No. 9 - Dowie | 197 yards | Par-3

Once again, accuracy off the tee is the key. If players can find the green at the par-3 ninth, they should have a good opportunity at birdie and at worst a par. A slight miss either left or right, however, and it will be a scramble to get up and down. There is a slope off the left that will funnel balls down to either a bunker or rough and leave a very tough chip back up. The bunker on the right serves as a gathering area for missed shots and is another tricky up-and-down.

No. 10 - Far | 532 yards | Par-5

The 10th hole should be a prime birdie opportunity for most of the field. It was the second-easiest hole in 2006 and a good tee shot will leave many with a mid-iron into the green. There is some risk in going for the par-5 in two, however, with a very deep bunker guarding the front-right of the green. Players who do hit the green in two should come away with a birdie. There were only 11 bogeys or worse carded at No. 10 in 2006, nine fewer than any other hole.

No. 11 - Punch Bowl | 391 yards | Par-4

The shortest par-4 on the course, No. 11 is also the first of a stretch of holes that run along the coast. That could make weather conditions and wind a major factor if it's gusting. If not, the hole should be fairly straightforward and a solid chance at birdie. The bunkers around the green have been reworked to become bigger factors and the green itself has plenty of slope. Many players will have a short shot in, and should be able to position their ball well with a wedge.

No. 12 - Dee | 447 yards | Par-4

The hardest hole on the course in 2006, No. 12 will demand the best from the field. That starts off the tee where three deep bunkers await in the fairway for any shot that goes long. If players aim too far left to avoid the bunkers, they could wind up hacking out of the rough on their second shot. The green slopes from back-to-front and there are runoffs on the left and right. There isn't very much margin for error on the approach shot with thick rough surrounding the green. The hole yielded just 16 birdies in 2006.

No. 13 - Alps | 194 yards | Par-3

Players who can shape the ball from right to left will have an advantage at No. 13 with the slight dogleg to the left. Most of the field will play it safe on the par-3 and take a mid-iron to the center of the green. Club selection can be challenging with the wind. The green is long and narrow and those who miss short will be tested fully. Aim for the middle of the green, two-putt and get out with a par.

No. 14 - Hilbre | 454 yards | Par-4

The margin for error on No. 14 is extremely small. The hole was the third-hardest in 2006 and requires a decision off the tee. The longer hitters can attempt to cut the corner, leaving a wedge into the green. There isn't much room to miss when doing so and an aggressive tee shot can easily lead to trouble. The majority will hit an iron off the tee then have a long iron into the narrow green. There is no good place to miss with thick rough surrounding the green.

No. 15 - Rushes | 161 yards | Par-3

The final par-3 on the course, No. 15 can be a birdie opportunity for players who hit the green in regulation. The green slopes from both sides to the middle, meaning tee shots that find the center of the green will likely leave makeable uphill putts. Players who don't find the green off the tee will likely find trouble. There are five bunkers guarding the green, all of which leave tough up-and-downs.

No. 16 - Field | 577 yards | Par-5

The start of the closing stretch, No. 16 was the easiest hole on the course in 2006. It's the longest hole at 577 yards, but is reachable in two. An ideal tee shot will find the left side of the fairway and leave a long iron or wood into the green. There are three bunkers on the left of the green and a grass hollow called "Farrar's Folly" on the right. The hole yielded more birdies and more eagles than any other hole in 2006.

No. 17 - Lake | 458 yards | Par-4

Players who gain a shot at No. 16 will have to be careful not to give it back at No. 17. The hole was the second-hardest in 2006, thanks largely because it plays into the wind. There are multiple fairway bunkers, guarding both sides of the landing area. Four more pot bunkers guard the front of a challenging green. The undulating, multi-tiered green is a tough one to read. On Sunday, the 17th could break the hopes of players in contention.

No. 18 - Dun | 551 yards | Par-5

Typically the 16th hole during traditional play, the par-5 becomes No. 18 in The Open to create a dramatic finishing hole. The hole is reachable in two, creating the possibility of a two-stroke swing on the 72nd hole. Out of bounds along the right is the biggest obstacle leading up to the green with five bunkers and thick rough guarding the putting surface. Part of the reason the hole is used as No. 18 is because it can accommodate a massive gallery with 7,000 spectators expected around the green.


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About Joe

Joe Thiel has spent 40 years helping others learn and enjoy the game of golf.He is one of only a few golf professionals in the U.S. who has earned the prestigious PGA Master Professional designation. The local PGA region has honored him as the PGA Teacher of the Year three times - in 1993, 1995, and 1997. He was also inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the 'Millennium Who's Who in America.' Golf Magazine has also honored Joe with the title of Top 100 Teachers in America for many years and Golf Driving Range Magazine has also honored him as one of the top 50 Teachers in America. More About Joe.