Southport Golf Tour
Some of the countries finest Links courses within a stone through of each other.
Southport Golf Tour
There are very few golfing regions anywhere in the world with as many attractions as Southport. It has an Open venue alongside many other distinguished courses, and it is no exaggeration to say that Southport provides the best collection of golf courses anywhere in England.
Thoughts of golf in the area immediately drift to Royal Birkdale, a nine-time Open host and the venue for this year’s Women’s British Open. Many consider Birkdale to be the best course in England, and you need only look at its list of champions, which includes Arnold Palmer, Peter Thomson and Tom Watson, to get a sense of how good the links are.
With holes running in constantly changing directions and fairways flanked by massive dunes, it’s easy to lose your bearings, but there is something special about a links course where each hole is divorced from the others.
If Birkdale is the leading light in Southport, then it is backed up by a quite exceptional supporting cast. Hillside shares a border with Royal Birkdale and is therefore somewhat cast into the shadow of its more famous neighbour. However, the course offers championship golf at its very best, and will host final qualifying for the Open this year. Hillside is a course of two halves, with the front nine occupying flatter land and running alongside the railway line that separates it from Southport & Ainsdale.
You will need to avoid a stream that repeatedly comes into play and generally plot your way around. On the back nine, the golf is on an altogether grander scale. More dramatic, with enormous dunes, this is more akin to being in Ireland.
Southport & Ainsdale, or S&A to the members, shares a border with Hillside, and offers a historic James Braid layout which hosted the Ryder Cup twice in the 1930s. This is a course with an inland feel in places, stands of Scotch pines and firs as well as heather blending with the more typical links features of gorse and deep bunkers. Big, rugged, tough and demanding, you get exactly what you deserve here – and nothing more.
To the north side of Birkdale is Hesketh, the oldest club in the Southport region. Like many of the Southport courses, this part links, part parkland layout has been used as an Open qualifying venue, and Hesketh has also hosted many other national championships.
Move south again and you come to Formby (above), which hosted the 2004 Curtis Cup and has held the Amateur Championship on four occasions. Playing Formby, you always strike the ball from gorgeous linksy turf, but the pine-tree backdrop provides a different feel for an exciting and contrasting experience.
Drive further south towards Liverpool and you arrive at one of England’s most under-appreciated links at West Lancs. The course measures over 7,000 yards from the back tees and is a classic links challenge.
Southport is blessed with an array of top-quality golf courses, but there is much to see and do in the area once you leave the fairways behind. The entire stretch of coastline is blessed with some truly outstanding sandy beaches, and sitting on Southport Beach is the town’s pier, the oldest iron, and second-longest, pier in the country.
Formby Golf Club
Golf Road, Freshfield, Liverpool L37 1LQ
Formby Golf Club, is a fantastic links course that has...
7.031 yards Par 72
Hesketh Golf Club
Cockle Dick's Lane, Southport, PR9 9QQ
Hesketh is the oldest golf club in Southport, established in 1885....
6,718 Yards Par 72
Hillside Golf Club
The Clubhouse Hastings Road Hillside Southport PR8 2LU
Hillside Golf Club is situated in Southport, the home of ...
7,029 Yards Par 72
Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club
Bradshaws Lane, Ainsdale, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 3LG
Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club is a true championship links...
6,836 Yards Par 72
The Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Waterloo Road, Southport, England, PR8 2LX
Royal Birkdale needs no introduction, host to The Open, Ryder...
- Royal Birkdale
6,817 yards Par 72
West Lancashire Golf Club
Hall Road West, Blundellsands, Liverpool. L23 8SZ
Situated just over 6 miles north of Liverpool City Centre, Blundellsands...
- West Lancashire
7,055 Yards Par 72