Golf Course Architecture - Issue 74, October 2023

22 Ten-time Open Championship venue Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, has started work on a series of course changes by golf course architect Tom Mackenzie of Mackenzie & Ebert. Among the changes will be the introduction of a new par-three hole, on land between the current fifteenth green and sixteenth tee, which will play as the new fifteenth. According to the club, the design will add variation to its set of par threes, and will play towards the clubhouse. The existing par-five fifteenth is being redesigned and will become the new fourteenth, with the existing fourteenth green being converted into a short-game area; the tees will be used for a nineteenth hole. Another hole to be redesigned is the par-four fifth, with the aim of bringing the hazard on the right more into play with the addition of significant fairway bunkering. The seventh will also become a short par three with an elevated green. Renovations to bunkers, tees and pathways are also part of the project. GolfLink Evolve began construction in early October, with the first phase expected to be complete in spring 2024. The next will begin in autumn 2024 and conclude in spring 2025, with all work set to be finished in time for the club to host the Open in 2026. Royal Birkdale begins course changes ahead of 2026 Open TEE BOX Photo: Royal Birkdale Work on the fourteenth and fifteenth at Royal Birkdale is already under way