FORMBY GOLF CLUB
Formby was opened in 1884 and the sight was unchanged until 1978 when the 8th, 9th, and 10th, was rebuilt to counter the effects of sea erosion. The first hole is typical of the course, the drive is menaced by the OB Merseyrail line on the right and the approach is fraught with dangerous bunkers guarding the flat fast green. It was at this green that Sam Snead won his second World Senior title in 1965 by beating Charley Ward on the first hole of sudden death. The British Amateur Championship has been held at Formby four times, including 2009.
HILLSIDE GOLF CLUB
Widely regarded as the finest English golf course not to have staged an Open Championship, there are those who believe that it presents a tougher challenge than many of the courses on the current “rota”. None other than two-time Open champion, Greg Norman, once stated that Hillside's back nine was "the best in Britain" and, in similar vein, compatriot Rod Pampling described it as "the toughest course I have ever played" after competing over the Open qualifying course in 1998. Hillside shares many of the natural attributes of its neighbor, Royal Birkdale, and its back nine is as good a nine holes of links golf as you'll find anywhere.
Located in the western Liverpool suburb of Hoylake, and thus it’s popular nickname “Hoylake”, this is where Bobby Jones won the second leg of his Grand Slam - the 1930 British Open. Roberto Devicenzo won the Open here in 1968, Tiger Woods in 2006 and Rory McIlroy in 2014. Although relatively flat, the lay of the land is vulnerable to the strong prevailing winds which are likely to blow here, and some sloping fairways that can run a nicely placed shot into the rough or bunkers. Many tactical shots are required and many hidden hazards await, including several in-course out-of-bounds.
ROYAL BIRKDALE GOLF CLUB
Host of the 2017 Open Championship, this links course on the Southport Coast is considered among the very best tests of golf anywhere (ranked #31 by Golf Magazine in 2013). Birkdale has staged a multitude of major events, including the British Open on numerous occasions and the Ryder Cup (site of "The Concession by Nicklaus to Jacklin). With most of the fairways being flat and the greens generally well defined, Royal Birkdale is a much fairer test than many traditional links. There are some great holes on the course including the 186-yard 12th set amoung the sand hills close to the sea, and the heavily bunkered doglet 18th.
ROYAL LYTHAM & ST ANNES – Lytham & St Annes
Founded in 1886, the present course was constructed in 1897 and is one of the premier links courses in the world (ranked #59 in the world by Golf Magazine in 2013). It has hosted ten Open Championships, two Ryder Cups and numerous other major tournaments including the Women's and Seniors Open Championships. Bobby Jones won his first Open here in 1926 (see the plaque on the leftside of 17th fairway). It opens with a par 3, has lots of OB, and the small greens are normally quite fast, but the biggest defense is the 202 bunkers, which clearly dominate your club selection. No doubt you will be in many of them, and you will find this perhaps the hardest course you play on your trip.