Played by NCG: Southport & AinsdaleJanuary 12, 2018 Courses and Travel
A gorgeous piece of rolling links land effectively sharing the same turf at Hillside and Birkdale writes equipment editor James Savage
Reason for a Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club review
I was lucky enough to represent the media team at TaylorMade’s annual golf match between the golf trade and golf media – a Ryder Cup-style singles matchplay event.
The match was tied at Prestwick in the week of the Open at Royal Troon so neither side was in possession of the trophy in the 2017 edition ahead of the Royal Birkdale event.
Where is Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club
A few miles outside Southport heading south along the A565.
Of the town’s three famous courses it’s actually the furthest away from the centre.
What to expect
A gorgeous piece of rolling links land effectively sharing the same turf at Hillside and Birkdale.
It’s not exactly in-land but you never get close enough to see the sea. There’s a railway line between the coast and the course
The opening par 3 is a fantastic introduction but the 2nd is a wonderful rolling par-5 framed by dunes on the left and heather and gorse down the right.
Everything is laid out in front of you from the tee box but you really have to plot your way carefully up along the left, avoiding the bunkers as you go.
Once you make it to the green there’s still plenty of work to do with severe undulation in places.
My best bit
After the trauma of the 16th – where you play a blind second shot over the top of a 20ft high bank of sleepers called the Gumbleys -the elevated tee shot on 17 offers the best views of the course.
I managed to hit my drive so far left I actually ended back just to the side of the second fairway – narrowly avoiding a bunker.
But I somehow managed to wallop a hybrid to the front edge of the green and close out a 2&1 victory.
What to look for
There are quite a few blind shots. I was lucky enough to be accompanied by an experienced caddie called Steve who expertly guided me round.
Purchasing a course guide or downloading a flyover map are well worth doing if you’re playing here for the first time.
It sounds daft but knowing where you are going is the key to not losing too many balls here.
When I go back
I’ll try and play from the right fairway on 17 and try to remember some of the no-go areas which I still somehow ended up in despite being told exactly where to go.