Merseyside is blessed with some of the most scenic and challenging golf courses in the world.
Having the wonderful western coastline, it is also home to some of the best links courses in the British Isles.
And once the current pandemic ends and courses re-open, golfers should be chomping at the bit to try out this selection.
Here is a list of our five must-play golf courses on Merseyside
- West Lancashire Golf Club
West Lancashire Golf Club is situated in Blundellsands, Liverpool. The club was formed in 1873 making it one of the ten oldest golf clubs in the U.K.
In 2023 the club will be 150 years old. The Course is a testing links, designed by C K Cotton, with both the 9th and 18th greens in front of the clubhouse.
This summer, West Lancs was due to host the 125th Amateur Championship in conjunction with Royal Birkdale. The links course annually hosts the regional qualifying for The Open Championship, as well as having the finest young golfers compete for the R&A Junior Open in 2014.
The black course is the longest and most challenging, with a Par of 72 and measuring just a shade under 7000 yards. The course has many quirks, the 1st hole being a demanding dogleg par-4 and great run from holes 7-9. The back 9 is splendid. An elevated tee shot on 13 gives great panoramic views, as you get into the blustery and picturesque closing holes.
- Hillside Golf Club
Located in a stones-throw from Royal Birkdale, Hillside is a cleverly designed golf course in Southport. A links course but not on the coastline, Hillside presents a different challenge. Formed in 1911, Hillside ranks 63rd in GolfWorld’s top 100.
Hillside held the 2019 British Master, hosted by Southport’s own Tommy Fleetwood. It was the first time the course had hosted a European Tour event. Youngster Matthew Jordan shot a course record 63 on Thursday at the event, getting his name engraved in the clubhouse.
The course is a case of two different nines. The front nine is flatter whereas the back nine is much more undulating with elevated greens and tee shots.
Special places on the course include:
The elevated 9th tee, which holds a tough tee shot.
The signature 11th hole. The green is surrounded by a forest amphitheatre backdrop.
The long par-3 16th, was a lot of danger to the right.
- Formby Golf Club
Formby Golf Club’s tag line is “One of the world’s greatest links course”. Formby is found in between Hillside and West Lancashire clubs. Founded in 1884, Formby is ranked 19th in the U.K. on the top 100.
Steeped in History, Formby’s iconic pine tree logo comes from former Landlord and President Charles Weld-Blundell, planting pine saplings in 1887.
In 2004, Formby hosted the Curtis Cup. Italian, Matteo Manassero, won the Amateur Championship in 2009 and most recently Formby hosted the Arnold Palmer Cup in 2016.
The course has some of the most breath-taking sights on Merseyside. Pine-tree lined throughout, the rough is thick and punishing for missing the shorter grass in the fairway. Hole 9 is one of the new holes after the course was changed due to sea erosion.
The Blue Course was created primarily to host Major Championships, known to the Members as “the Blue Monster”, The current course record of 66 is held by Matt Jaeger, during the 2009 Amateur Championship.
- Royal Birkdale
Royal Birkdale is neighboured by Hillside Golf Club, less than 200 yards separate the clubs. Formed in 1889 Birkdale is Hillside’s bigger, older brother. Nine gentlemen met at the home of Mr J C Barrett and it was here that they took the unanimous decision to form themselves into a Club, to be called the Birkdale Golf Club.
Royal Birkdale is the 2nd ranked course in the U.K. and 11th in the world. Being the last English course to be added to The Open Championship rotation, Royal Birkdale has hosted the oldest golf major championship 10 times, first in 1954 and most recently in 2017.
The 4th hole is a tough par 3, the longest of the par threes on the course. 200 yards from an elevated tee to a well-bunkered green, 30 feet below the tee. The 6th is the stroke index no.1 (tough hole on the course), a 499-yard par 4.
The closing 18th hole is in front of the iconic Art Deco clubhouse. The one of a kind clubhouse, it is synonymous with Royal Birkdale and definitely one to have a group photo in front of.
- Royal Liverpool, Hoylake
Like Birkdale, Hoylake has Royal status. Located in West Kirby, on the Wirral, Hoylake is halfway between the welsh hills and Liverpool’s historic skyline.
The oldest club on this list, and the second oldest links golf course in the world, Royal Liverpool Golf Club dates to 1869. It was Liverpool Golf Club founded as the Royal Hotel on Stanley Road, which is adjacent to the 17th hole, and used as the clubhouse.
In 2012, Hoylake welcomed the Women’s British Open for the first time.
The Par 72 has hosted The Open Championship 12 times, with some of the Golf’s greatest player prevailing there in Rory Milroy and Tiger Woods. The Open Championship returns to Royal Liverpool in 2022.
The Open Championship takes place at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in the summer of 2022 and to mark the return of the world’s oldest Major, the club is making some significant changes to the course.
Construction on a brand-new par-3 built began in February. The new hole is called ‘Rushes’, it is 139 yards to a raised green looking out to the Dee Estuary. The new 17th hole is set to be finished in June, if you time it right you could be one of the first to play it.