Paul Eales began his link with Lytham in 1987 when he became assistant to the club professional. The 37-year-old Lancastrian plays all over the world, but regards Lytham as his spiritual home and lives only seven miles from the course. Here, he casts an expert eye over the links he knows best.
1st: 206 yards. Par 3
The bushes which hid the left of the green have been trimmed back and now provide a view of the bunkers. It's difficult to feel the breeze as the tee is sheltered but the prevailing wind is from the right. Often your tee shot appears destined for the middle of the green only to veer left into a bunker as it emerges from the funnel of trees.
2nd: 438 yards. Par 4
The ideal line is over the bunkers on the right of the fairway to open up a left-to-right sloping green. The trees, even further right, which screen the railway line, often have the effect of pushing you too far left. It's virtually impossible to reach the green in two if you drive into one of the two bunkers down the left.
3rd: 458 yards. Par 4
A dangerous hole where it is again tempting to drive down the left because of the scrub and out-of-bounds to the right. The left-hand bunker at 250 yards poses a serious threatso the hole favours a fader. Many pros will hit a long iron off the tee and then aim a four or five iron at the middle-front of an upturned saucer of a well-bunkered green that is better missed right than left.
4th: 392 yards. Par 4
This shortish, right-to-left dogleg is the only hole on the front nine which plays into the prevailing wind, which blows from the left at 10 o'clock. The best line is down the right which provides a flat lie for a short iron to a generous green. The left-hand line leaves a blind second shot over sand.
5th: 212 yards. Par 3
This green is a small target. It's better to miss it long and right than anywhere else, but this is easier said than done due to a stretch of dead ground in front of the green. The bunkers left are not the place to go. Depending on the wind, you can hit anything from a mid-iron to a driver.
6th: 494 yards. Par 5
A birdie chance. The rough over the bunker on the left at 240 yards has grown up so you can't bounce off the downslope. The tee shot should start on the tall chimney in the distance and draw into the fairway. The left side of the tee has been extended to make the hole more right-to-left.
7th: 557 yards. Par 5
Not so easy to reach in two. The line is left, avoiding the bunkers at 240 and 274 yards. The mounds right are even less desirable, but overall the hole's shape suits faders. After a lot of eagles in 1988, the green was extended to the left behind the front bunker to create a trickier pin position.
8th: 419 yards. Par 4
The line is just left of the middle of three bunkers 40 yards short of a plateau green. A bunker on the left at 250 yards will catch the slightly errant drive and out-of-bounds threatens on the right. The second shot often comes up short while one landing on the green may bounce over it.
9th: 164 yards. Par 3
A wonderful short hole. You can see all the trouble from an elevated tee. It usually plays between a seven and a nine iron. You mustn't be too aggressive – the green is surrounded by nine deep bunkers.
10th: 335 yards. Par 4
A short par-four with a blind tee shot usually played into the wind. The ideal line is between the V in the distant row of trees and the church spire to the left, and most of the field will be playing a long iron from the tee. Anything further left will end in thick rough while a push could find the bunker just off the right of the fairway.
11th: 542 yards. Par 5
Long hitters might take on the 260-yard carry over two bunkers in a mound to the left of the fairway. The better line is over two bunkers on the right which is a carry of 230 yards. That leaves a clear shot up the fairway. It should be out of reach for most of the field, so the all-important shot is the third, usually a pitch from around 100 yards.
12th: 198 yards. Par 3
My favourite hole. The first 120 yards are sheltered but there's usually a strong breeze from the left. The green slopes from eight o'clock at the front to two o'clock with out of bounds on the right, so a left-to-right shot is required.
13th: 342 yards. Par 4
The last of the easier holes – an iron should find the fairway, just inside the bunker which protects the left corner of a dogleg right. If Woods is pressing he might have a go at driving the green. But the right side of the fairway, with bunkers, rough and bushes, is definitely not the place to go.
14th: 445 yards. Par 4
The start of the toughest five-hole finish in golf. It's vital to avoid the bunkers and hillocks to the right, though a drive left leaves a restricted view of the green. A long-iron second should land 30 yards short to chase on to the green, but beware a deep bunkerright front and the out of bounds.
15th: 465 yards. Par 4
Mainly into the wind. Most drives will carry the bunker at 220 yards, but two more have been put in there. The line up the left leaves a longer second and there's a new trap there as well. If you lay up, avoid the nest of bunkers 100 yards short of the green.
16th: 359 yards. Par 4
You can see the green at one o'clock, but the line to the fairway, which is blind, is at 11 o'clock. In 1979, Ballesteros sliced 150 yards right into a car park en route to a famous win. Five years ago, Ernie Els turned a two-iron over into one of the left-hand bunkers when a birdie would have put him one behind Tom Lehman.
17th: 467 yards. Par 4
A right-to-left dogleg. Go as left as you dare to shorten a blind second. If you're in trouble, lay up short of the bunkers 100 yards from the green. If not, a right-to-left shot is required.
18th: 412 yards. Par 4
A daunting drive, especially as the prevailing wind off the left and against brings the bunkers and bushes on the right into play. A well-struck drive should finish short of the three bunkers on the left and set up a medium iron second.
Out: 3,340 yards. Par: 35
In: 3,565 yards. Par: 36
Total: 6,905. Par: 71Reuse content