How tough for amateurs is Royal Liverpool, host course of the 151st Open Championship?

Will next week’s test at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) be a bloodbath of bogeys and more, or provide endless scoring opportunities for the professionals to scorch the links course like what happened last year at St. Andrews in the 150th Open Championship?  

Tour pros have been known to take it deep at Royal Liverpool. Amateurs, not so much. You see, average Joes and Janes don’t hit 70% of their fairways and greens. Nor are they usually adept at 2-putting from >40 feet, getting up and down out of pot bunkers, or playing in a +2 club-wind – heck, any wind for that matter. Golf is a tough sport. Playing golf at an Open Championship Rota course like Royal Liverpool, tougher! If you don’t believe us, here’s a little taster. (@dannyp_72)

Royal Liverpool has hosted The Open 12 times, but after Roberto De Vicenzo was crowned Champion Golfer of the Year in 1967, the venue was deemed not to have the infrastructure necessary for a Major. That same year, Gary Player set the 18-hole scoring record with a 67 in the third round. There was real doubt after that tourney if whether or not The Open would ever return.  

The often sunbaked course did make its return to The Open Rota in 2006, and that year Tiger Woods hoisted the Claret Jug for the 3rd time. A summer heatwave provided a ridiculously fast-running links that was, uh, played on “brown” grass. Only glimpses of green stuff was seen sprouting at Royal Liverpool that week. In case you don’t remember, in ’06 Tiger only pulled out his driver once. Yes, once in four rounds. And finished with a mind-bending 270 (18 under par). “I AM TIGER WOODS!”

Then in 2014, Rory McIlory captured his first Open Championship with another off-the-charts 72-hole total of 270, which included a workman-like 71 on Sunday.

Now, nearly a decade later, here we are, back at the famed course. No doubt the draw of the weather will determine how low the professionals will go. If the wind is blowing and Mother Nature has her say, it will provide a tougher test for the world’s best than it did in 2006 and 2014. But the real question is: How would you, Mr. Average Joe or Mrs. Average Jane, fair at Royal Liverpool?

Our data partner Shot Scope, who just so happens to be based out of the British Isles (majestic Scotland), shared with us performance-based data which they collected over the past five years from thousands of golfers who were lucky enough to play Royal Liverpool. For nerds like us, we love the data. Eighteen under is never going to be the litmus for how well we play the course. But Shot Scope’s data certainly will be.


Editor’s Notes:

  1. The data provided below pertains to amateur golfers, not professionals.
  2. For The Open Championship next week, the course will be routed differently than how it is normally set up. The data—and corresponding holes referenced—is relevant for the traditional routing.


Right off the bat, amateur golfers will be challenged by Hole 1, which proves to be a butt-puckering tough opening hole with the most double bogeys recorded. That happens 27% of the time (on average). Could it just be the nerves from teeing off at a Major venue?

However, the par 4 Hole 3 is actually the hardest hole on the golf course, with an average score of nearly one shot over par (4.96). Good luck and God bless to us all who tee it up on #3, especially if the wind gets to howling.  

The easiest hole happens right after you eat your tuna sandwhich at the turn – Hole 10, with the average score hovering just above par at 5.37. Hole 10 is also tied for the most birdied hole on the course with Hole 15 at a 13% rate. We intend to circle our scores on both 10 and 15 next time out.  

Editor’s Note: Professionals play Hole 10 as a par 4, but amateurs play it as a par 5.

Shot Scope shared with us (so we are sharing with you) additional interesting numbers that help tell the whole picture of what your actual chances would be to shoot an all-time low number at Royal Liverpool like Tiger and Rory. Woot!


Average Golfer Royal Liverpool Data Points

  • Average Score
    • 83.9
  • Hardest Hole
    • Hole 3 – Par 4
    • Average Score to Par: 4.96
  • Easiest Hole
    • Hole 10 – Par 5
    • Average Score to Par: 5.37
  • Green with Most 3 Putts
    • Hole 5
    • Percentage of 3 Putts: 13%
  • Up and Down
    • Hole 11 – Easiest
      • 49% Success
    • Hole 4 – Hardest
      • 30% Success
  • Hole with Most Birdies
    • Hole 10 – 13% Birdies
    • Hole 15 – 13% Birdies
  • Hole with Most Double Bogeys
    • Hole 1 – 27% Doubles
  • Hole #3 is the Most Difficult
    • Insights: High Fairways in Regulation (FIR) at 60%; however, Greens in Regulation (GIR) is low at 20%.
    • #3 green is narrow and has lots of runoff areas, so it’s easy to miss the green.
    • Up and Down% is one of the lowest at 31%. Hey, we always tell you to practice your short game more!
  • Hole #10 is the Easiest Hole on the Course
    • Insights:
    • Note: Pros are playing the hole as a par 4, but amateurs play it as a par 5.
    • GIR% is one of the highest on the course at 47%, so you may not need to rely on getting it up and down.
    • In terms of missing the green short, this hole is second lowest at 27%. Golfers are getting the ball to the green.
    • Average tee shot distance is 225 yards (huh) – one of the longer average tee shot holes (double huh). Get up there at grip & rip and let that driver of yours set you up for a birdie chance.

Data doesn’t lie. And neither do our eyes. Royal Liverpool is a beautiful beast. We can’t wait to watch the pros Attack, Attack, Attack next week in the 151st Open Championship.  

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