Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Course News

This page is designed to keep members up to date with plans for project work this winter and other projects that are in the pipeline.

The Green Committee along with the Course Manager has set out a winter programme for 2021 / 22. The main objective of the programme is to continue the process of clearing the scrub areas of the course as well as carrying out drainage works and bunker renovation. As with all Winter Programmes, the weather will play a part and objectives may change, however, this document will be kept up to date to ensure members are fully informed. 


With more extreme weather patterns set to continue and the impact of these patterns are having on our course the Club were keen to explore remedial works to the current drainage system. Part of this was to have a report commissioned by a drainage expert who has been employed by the R&A to visit and report on all their host venues. The report outlined some issues we have at the Club in terms of a high water table and how quickly the water can be transported off the golf course. Since receiving the report the Club are in the process of investigating the following.

  • Dropping the current pipework deeper into the ground which will pick up the water table quicker, particularly from the lower area of the course from 13th to 11th and through to the 8th, 7th, and 6th. It is hoped that should we be able to drop the levels of the pipework we can then also run a trench to the 12th to alleviate the water build-up in that area.

  • We must ensure that the outlets off the golf course are able to transport the water away and this will require further discussion with Sefton Council. 

  • The possibility of installing a pumping station at the lower end of the course which would provide the club with irrigation water in the summer and then have the ability to pump water off the course in the winter. Initial discussions regarding feasibility have been positive.

We hope that being in a position to remove the water quicker and reduce the water table will have an impact on the playability of the bunkers in the winter and reduce the issues of having wet areas on the course. Importantly the dry profile will discourage broad leaf grasses and aid in the overall objective of providing firm links conditions all year round.


You will be aware that the Club has had a report commissioned to advise on the ecology of the golf course. The objective of the report was to give the Club a definitive plan for the work rather than an ad-hoc approach. We understand that members are concerned about certain aspects of the report, especially the removal of trees, however, the author and the local Natural England representative, who are custodians of the SSSI will be here at an Open Meeting on 3rd November to answer members questions. If you would like to attend the meeting but have not yet signed up please follow this link.

The work outlined below is recommended by an ecology report produced by Bob Taylor Ecology we received this year. The full document can be viewed by clicking here.

Area 2B - Left of the 2nd fairway - Continue to manage the gorse.

Area 4B - Clear the snowberry and other degenerate scrub from the back of the green leaving only the better gorse bushes.

Area 13A - Right of the fairway - Remove the majority of the gorse from the higher dunes. Retain the individual stands of gorse to the foot of the sandhills.

Area 13B - Sandhill left of the approach - Remove all scrub from the sandhill back and to the pine to reinstate sandhill topography.

Area 13C - Back of green and back left of the green - Reduce the gorse from the crest of the sandhill, working down the dune, leaving the gorse through the lower one third only. This work will need to be undertaken very informally and naturally, aiming to retain more fragmented groupings of gorse, particularly stronger stands of gorse through the lower level. Sycamore was noted to be increasing through the upper section of the scrub, and again this will need to be removed with the gorse.

Area 13D - Back right of the green - Remove all degenerate gorse over the tall sandhill. Retain the local stand of gorse just right of the walk-off path until the area fully recover and the two windswept hawthorns immediately back or southeast of the gorse.

Area 14B - Gorse to the left of the 14th - Implement a 50% coppice through the gorse left of the hole. Manage from north-south working from the east side to centre

Area 15F - Sand Dune - Tall sandhill to right of fairway becoming overgrown with invasive thorn and ivy which needs to be cleared and treated

Area 15G - From the maintenance track through to the green (right-hand side) - Through this section, cut and remove all scrub growth and follow the root
removal and scraping, reinstating the surface sand thereafter prior to overseeding with a light fescue seeds mix and occasionally sprigged marram.

Area 16A -  Remove the remaining willow through dune slack to the right of the general tees. Whilst undertaking this work, clear the Berberis spp. and remaining bramble just north of the walkway to the championship tee. Scrape as required to improve the surface condition.

Area 16E -  To the right of the hole, ie from the cross-connecting bunkers and to the back of the green, sea buckthorn and hawthorn are pushing outwards into the line of the spectator route and towards the playing area.

Area 17E - Left of Green - Total clearance of all scrub and restoration of sand surface, to involve excavating, burying and sand winning. Ensure a good 1m of sand remains over the restored surface prior to seeding. Use a rough seed mix of 80% red fescue (close to native strain) with a minimum 15% sweet vernal grass and 5% common bent.

Rough Management

As suggested by the Ecology Report 

Bunker Renovation & Other Turfing Works - As usual the course team will be renovating bunkers and repairing worn areas around the course, as soon as tasks have been completed we will update the table below.

Bunker Renovation - All below tasks completed

1st - 'Jutlands'
7th - Back of Green
10th - Fairway
13th - Fairway cross bunker
Practice Bunker

Other Turfing Works

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