Royal Birkdale's unparalleled status within English golf has become less a matter of opinion than a statement of fact in the eyes of many good judges.
It cannot be denied that the host of the 2012 Open has a certain aura. It is unrelenting, demanding and at times barbarically difficult.
While countless links courses across the British Isles are more attractive to behold, few are as unremittingly tough. When the wind gets up Hoylake can be brutally difficult.
In a historic region of seaside golf – most notably the three Open-hosting Royals of Lytham, Birkdale and Liverpool – Formby offers welcome respite.
It’s taken a while for Hillside to gain this sort of acknowledgement, but a day out round here is guaranteed to satisfy the senses.
A gorgeous piece of rolling links land effectively sharing the same turf as Hillside and Birkdale. It's not exactly in-land but you never get close enough to see the sea.
The design is simple, obvious and flawless, and that’s the essence of West Lancs. A gem, and easy to underestimate due to the lack of fanfare surrounding this course.
The home of Stableford scoring, you'll be thankful not to have to record every shot around this supremely challenging and exceptionally kept links.
Every bit as authentic a seaside course as its famous neighbour, Lytham, St Annes Old Links is a century-old layout that has stood the test of time.
Found within the feted Formby course, Formby Ladies is a charming links that might be small but can still pack quite a punch