I don't hate Royal Lytham & St. Annes. In fact, I respect its lofty ranking of 57 in Golf Magazine's Top 100 in the World. I just don't want to see it on the British Open rota anymore.
For the 2012 Open, Lytham served up 206 mostly penal bunkers and wrist-fracturing, knee-high rough. A proper test for the pros, or a recipe for dull, defensive golf? I say the latter. Anybody can make a golf course hard. Just narrow the playing corridors with hazards and rough grass.
The trick for a designer is to make it supremely challenging, but infinitely interesting at the same time. Lytham fails in this regard. All of the bunkers are artificial, the greens are flat, the holes are cramped and there's little elevation change or routing shifts to provide variety. There's not even a view of the sea from any point on the course. Not exactly a classic links in my book.
(Related Photos: British Open Rota)
Hey, I'm a huge golf history fan. I'm quite cognizant of all of the hallowed names who have captured Claret Jugs at Lytham -- including this year's winner, Ernie Els. However, just because a big name wins somewhere, it doesn't necessarily make it a big-time course.
Give me strategy, variety and views, with sufficient length for the modern hitter -- be it Kingsbarns, Royal Portrush, Royal Dornoch, Castle Stuart, or yes, even Trump Scotland -- not a tricked-up aging lady trying to cover her faded beauty with a veil of bunkers and rough. Tell me I'm wrong.