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Home of the Open 2011 - Royal St George's

The Open returns to Sandwich

Posted Jun 03, 2011 by Chris White

The starters hut at the first hole

The Royal St George's Club is the venue for this year's Open Championship between 14th and 17th July, the 14th time the Kent course has hosted the event.

Current champion Louis Oosthuizen will look to defend his title at the course, based in Sandwich in Kent was designed by Dr Laidlaw Purves of the Royal Wimbledon Golf Club, and established in 1887 to serve the needs of London golfers who were only able to play their golf on often crowded and poorly maintained courses.

It remains extremely natural in appearance, as if the course had simply emerged from the wasteland. As a British seaside links course should be, Royal St. George's has no tress, no water hazards, and is rugged, plagued with blind shots, deep pot bunkers, strong winds, and treacherous rough.

It is a wonderful venue from a visitor's point of view due to the layout of the course and the many natural vantage points affording great views of the action.

American Ben Curtis was the winner of the last Open to be played at Royal St George's back in 2003, finishing 1-under par, one-shot ahead of Thomas Bjorn and Vijay Singh, and two shots clear of the American duo of Tiger Woods and Davis Love III.

The Links provides a severe test for even the greatest of golfers and the fact that only three Open winners, Bill Rogers in 1981, Greg Norman in 1993 and Ben Curtis in 2003, have managed to be under par after 72 holes, speaks for itself.

Many holes feature blind or partially blind shots, although the unfairness element has been reduced somewhat, after several 20th century modifications. The course also possesses the deepest bunker in championship golf, located on its fourth hole.

It was given the name St. George's to become the English rival to the great Scottish course, St. Andrew's.

It became the first club outside of Scotland to host the Open in 1894, and was given royal status by King Edward VII in May 1902.

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