Public Welcome: Any golfer can play all 14 links courses of The Open
The Open is the oldest major of them all, going back all the way to 1860.
It is also the most democratic. Every links to ever host the tournament is open to the public. There might be some hoops to hurdle to get on Muirfield or the Old course at St. Andrews, but both can be done with proper planning. All of these treasured links are spread throughout the British Isles - seven in Scotland, six in England and one in Northern Ireland.
Here are quick profiles of each host to go along with the photos in this gallery:
Old Course at St. Andrews
, St. Andrews, Scotland
Opens (winner): 1873 (Tom Kidd), 1876 (Bob Martin), 1879 (Jamie Anderson), 1882 (Bob Ferguson), 1885 (Bob Martin), 1888 (Jack Burns), 1891 (Hugh Kirkaldy), 1895 (John Henry Taylor), 1900 (Taylor), 1905 (James Braid), 1910 (Braid), 1921 (Jock Hutchison), 1927 (Bobby Jones), 1933 (Denny Schute), 1939 (Dick Burton), 1946 (Sam Snead), 1955 (Peter Thomson), 1957 (Bobby Locke), 1960 (Kel Nagle), 1964 (Tony Lema), 1970 (Jack Nicklaus), 1978 (Nicklaus), 1984 (Seve Ballesteros), 1990 (Nick Faldo), 1995 (John Daly), 2000 (Tiger Woods), 2005 (Woods), 2010 (Louis Oosthuizen), 2015 (Zach Johnson).
Open Course: Old Tom Morris, double greens, the Road Hole, Swilcan Bridge, the town of St. Andrews, the Dunvegan Hotel, The Jigger Inn - nothing beats an Open in the Home of Golf. The rules for getting a tee time will change in 2018, but for now follow these steps .
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
, Southport, England
Opens (winner): 1954 (Thomson), 1961 (Palmer), 1965 (Thomson), 1971 (Trevino), 1976 (Johnny Miller), 1983 (Watson), 1991 (Ian Baker-Finch), 1998 (Mark O'Meara), 2008 (Padraig Harrington).
Open Course: Royal Birkdale will host its 10th Open this summer. Only St. Andrews has hosted more Opens than Royal Birkdale since 1954.
Dunluce Course at Royal Portrush Golf Club
, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Opens (winner): 1951 (Max Faulkner).
Open Course: Martin Ebert is replacing the old 17th and 18th holes on this Harry Colt classic - among other tweaks - to debut in time for the 2019 Open, its first in nearly seven decades. Rory McIlroy might want to win this one, ya think?
, Gullane, Scotland
Opens (winner): 1892 (Harold Hilton), 1896 (Vardon), 1901 (Braid), 1906 (Braid), 1912 (Ted Ray), 1929 (Walter Hagen), 1935 (Alf Perry), 1948 (Henry Cotton), 1959 (Gary Player), 1966 (Nicklaus), 1972 (Lee Trevino), 1980 (Watson), 1987 (Nick Faldo), 1992 (Faldo), 2002 (Ernie Els), 2013 (Phil Mickelson).
Open Course: The recent vote to add female members has put Muirfield back on the rota. The fairest of all the Open venues is a tough get (here's how ). Guest play is only open Tuesdays and Thursdays. Don't forget to bring your jacket and tie, the required fashions for entry into the clubhouse.
Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry Resort
, South Ayrshire, Scotland
Opens (winner): 1977 (Watson), 1994 (Nick Price), 1986 (Greg Norman), 2009 (Stewart Cink).
Open Course: You might not like his politics but Donald Trump's money has reinvented Turnberry. Ebert's re-imagination of the Ailsa course has brought its coastal cliffs to life. The Turnberry lighthouse is now golf's most amazing halfway house and upstairs, a two-bedroom suite for the wealthiest of golfers.
Championship course at Carnoustie Golf Links
, Carnoustie, Scotland
Opens (winner): 1931 (Tommy Armour), 1937 (Cotton), 1953 (Ben Hogan), 1968 (Player), 1975 (Watson), 1999 (Paul Lawrie), 2007 (Harrington).
Open Course: The Barry Burn on the final holes of "Car-nasty" ruined the chances of Sergio Garcia and Jean van de Velde. Don't let it kill your card, too.
Royal St. George's Golf Club
, Sandwich, England
Opens (winner): 1894 (John Henry Taylor), 1899 (Vardon), 1904 (Jack White), 1911 (Vardon), 1922 (Hagen), 1928 (Hagen), 1934 (Cotton), 1938 (Reg Whitcombe), 1949 (Locke), 1981 (Bill Rogers), 1985 (Sandy Lyle), 1993 (Norman), 2003 (Ben Curtis), 2011 (Darren Clarke).
Open Course: This is another former all-men's club that recently voted to add women in hopes of landing another Open.
Old Course at Royal Troon Golf Club
, Troon, Scotland
Opens (winner): 1923 (Arthur Havers), 1950 (Locke), 1962 (Arnold Palmer), 1973 (Tom Weiskopf), 1982 (Watson), 1989 (Mark Calcavecchia), 1997 (Justin Leonard), 2004 (Todd Hamilton), 2016 (Henrik Stenson).
Open Course: The 'Postage Stamp' par 3 at no. 8 and the 'Railway' par 4 at no. 11 remain two of the most iconic holes in championship golf. Visitors can choose from limited tee times on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club
, Lytham St. Annes, England
Opens (winner): 1926 (Bobby Jones), 1952 (Locke), 1958 (Thomson), 1963 (Bob Charles), 1969 (Tony Jacklin), 1974 (Player), 1979 (Ballesteros), 1988 (Ballesteros), 1996 (Tom Lehman), 2001 (David Duval), 2012 (Els).
Open Course: Champions don't play in the sand. More than 200 bunkers defend this links.
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
, Hoylake, England
Opens (winner): 1897 (Harold Hilton), 1902 (Sandy Herd), 1907 (Arnaud Massey), 1913 (John Henry Taylor), 1924 (Hagen), 1930 (Jones), 1936 (Alf Padgham), 1947 (Fred Daly), 1956 (Thomson), 1967 (Roberto De Vicenzo), 2006 (Woods), 2014 (McIlroy).
Open Course: Donald Steel's renovation prior to the 2006 Open brought the links up to modern standards in its return to the rota for the first time in five decades. Woods and McIlroy put on driving clinics (with different styles) in their victory marches to the claret jug.
Courses no longer in the rota
Musselburgh Links, the Old Golf Course
, East Lothian, Scotland
Opens (winner): 1874 (Mungo Park), 1877 (Jamie Anderson), 1880 (Bob Ferguson), 1883 (Ferguson), 1886 (David Brown), 1889 (Willie Park Jr.).
Open Course: This nine-holer claims to be the oldest course in the world still intact. Playing the loop in the heart of Musselburgh, sharing the land with a horse track, is a pleasant walk with a set of hickories rented from the pro shop.
Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club
, Deal, England
Opens (winner): 1909 (John Henry Taylor), 1920 (George Duncan).
Open Course: The links many call "Deal" lost Opens in 1938 and 1949 when a sea surge flooded the links. A large seawall built in the 1970s protects the layout but also stole some of its views of the water.
Prestwick Golf Club
, Prestwick, Scotland
Opens (winner): 1860-72 (no tournament in 1871), 1875 (Willie Park Sr.), 1878 (Jamie Anderson), 1881 (Bob Ferguson), 1884 (Jack Simpson), 1887 (Willie Park Jr.), 1890 (John Ball), 1893 (William Auchterlonie), 1898 (Vardon), 1903 (Vardon), 1908 (Braid), 1914 (Vardon), 1925 (Jim Barnes).
Open Course: This tricky maze of blind shots and wild duneland is tricky to play, so bring your sense of whimsy and appreciation for history to enjoy the day. It hosted the first 12 Opens.
Prince's Golf Club
, Sandwich, England
Opens (winner): 1932 (Gene Sarazen).
Open Course: Prince's teams with neighbor Royal St. George's to host the 2013 and 2017 British Amateur Championship. A 12-bedroom lodge makes for a cozy stay-and-play.
The 27-hole Prince's Golf Club, a Troon Golf-managed facility that hosted the 1932 Open Championship, runs adjacent to Royal St. George's. Courtesy of Prince's G.C.
The third hole at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club plays difficult among the dunes. Courtesy of Kevin Murray/Royal Cinque Ports G.C.
The second shot to the blind 17th green must carry huge dunes called the "Alps" on the Old Course at Prestwick Golf Club in East Ayrshire, Scotland. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Break out the knickers and hickories to play Scotland's Musselburgh Links, the oldest course in the world and a host to many early Open Championships. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
No. 14 on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club is one of the most famous par 3s in the world. Getty Images
Royal Lytham & St. Annes' clubhouse has a dormy house, where golfers can stay overnight on site during their visit to the links. Getty Images
Royal Liverpool hosted the 2014 Open Championship won by Rory McIlroy. Ryan Lavner/Golf Advisor
The Postage Stamp at Royal Troon is one of Scotland's iconic par 3s. David Cannon/Getty Images
The dunes of Royal St. George's Golf Club are most striking around the fifth hole. Courtesy of Royal St. George's G.C.
Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England will host The Open this summer. Ryan Lavner/Golf Advisor
The iconic Turnberry Lighthouse is prominent at Trump Turnberry's Ailsa Course. Courtesy of Trump Turnberry Resort
Few rounds in Scotland are as coveted as exclusive Muirfield in East Lothian. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The Old Course at St. Andrews, home of more Opens than any other links. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
With loads of deep bunkers and the Barry Burn in play often, there may be no more challenging links in the world than Carnoustie in Scotland. Getty Images