Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Situated on the golden links of the North West coast in Southport, Royal Birkdale is possibly the finest of all courses in England. Royal Birkdale has held more Championship and International events since World War 2 than any other course in the world. Open Championships, Ryder Cups, Women's British Opens, Senior Opens, Amateur Championships, Walker Cups and Curtis Cups. Royal Birkdale Golf Club has been voted the number one golf club in England, one of the top five clubs in the UK and amongst the top 35 in the world.
With Royal Birkdale hosting the 2017 Open, and an expected web traffic increase of 2500%, Absolute were commissioned to update the current website, which wasn’t currently responsive or equipped to handle the volume of traffic it was about to receive.
Challenging the elements is what makes the Royal Birkdale experience unique. The best way to capture this was through video. Wind, rain, sun and the terrain, all played a role in creating an atmospheric essence film that encapsulates the spirit of the course.
Absolute planned a three day location shoot over at the club, including a couple of 4am starts. Through a combination of meticulous planning and pure, celestial luck the Great British weather gave us everything we needed – four seasons in three days. The completed video acts as a promotional piece on the website and a window into the reality of what it means to play on one of Britain’s most challenging golf courses.
With a new modern look for the brand, a new suite of photography was required. The new website needed a real sense of life. The clubhouse, the members, the course and its challenges all needed to be showcased.
It was clear from the outset that traditional, highly staged golf photography was not going to work. We wanted a sense of realism and grittiness, so we cancelled the make-up artist, dropped the temperature to around 4ºC and ordered a rainstorm. The resulting imagery captures a sense of atmosphere and works alongside the video show that no two rounds of golf are ever the same when you’re playing at Royal Birkdale.
We looked at the project holistically, and whilst a globally recognised Golf Course with visitors from all over the world, Royal Birkdale lacked a cohesive and modern brand. So in keeping with the values and traditions of the club, we updated the typeface, and brought in a nice understated colour palette to convey a more premium feel. We developed a tone-of-voice to be used throughout the site, which was aspirational yet inclusive.
Website design & development
Once all of the assets were in place, Absolute began the next phase of the process, which was to design and build responsive website.
As part of our user story analysis we were able to break down the common tasks that the site users and administrators are likely to perform, we then broke these tasks down into logical blocks of functionality. From this, we then worked on User Journeys and assessed the most commonly used features of the website, taking into consideration not only prospective customer’s usage, but also the requirements of the existing members.
This insight was then translated into a sleek, simplistic website, with emphasis on a lighter navigation, less clicks to get to content, and a seamless mobile experience.
The website was built in Absolute Control, our own bespoke CMS. We worked on a modular basis, ensuring easy updating in the CMS for the client.
The result is a clean, modern website, which accurately depicts the essence of the prestigious Royal Birkdale Golf Club and its members.