Played by NCG: Formby Golf Club
Reason for a Formby Golf Club review
It was the North West qualifier for National Club Golfer’s Secretary’s Day. The top two booked a berth in the grand final at Woodhall Spa that October.
Where is it?
Close to the coast between Liverpool and Southport, Formby is easily accessible from the motorway network. You can get there in an hour from Manchester Airport.
What to expect?
‘One of the World’s Greatest Links Courses’ – it’s a bold claim that shouts out at you from the club website but there is no doubt that Formby is a very enjoyable experience.
Willie Park was behind the original incarnation, with James Braid adding alterations a decade later, and Donald Steel adding more modern input.
What the trio produced is a links that runs through sand dunes and pinewoods. You’ll encounter undulating fairways, difficult tee shots and well-protected greens.
My best bit…
Although I’d enjoy a lovely run just after the turn, crowned by a birdie at the 11th, the highlight has to be the 7th – a par 4 that would be in my list of the best holes in Britain.
With the pines encroaching on either side and the fairway appearing to narrow the further away you go from the tee, it seems like there’s barely a speck of turf on which to land your drive.
Even if you get that far, the second isn’t easy with the green perched up as you try to hit a short iron from an undulating lie.
The par 5 8th divides opinion among some but I am a huge fan. A well-placed drive, avoiding massive slopes on either side of the fairway sets up for a crack at a raised, tiered green.
Just don’t do what I did, which was to pull it left and into a tricky piece of scrub a few yards off the green.
Playing from a tight lie, I couldn’t hold it on the putting surface as I posted my only blob.
It’s all part of a very good finish to the front 9 and sets you up nicely as you get into the turn.
What to look for…
Make sure you take a stroll around the clubhouse. The original building was destroyed in a fire and the current incarnation – costing £7,000 – opened in 1901.
It’s wonderfully grand with a huge entrance hall, big staircases and massive rooms. It oozes history and is one of those classic structures that were a feature of their time.
If you play at Formby, consider staying in one of the Dormy rooms on site and enjoy a couple of frames in the snooker room.
When I go back…
I’ll hit a straighter drive on the 18th, a wonderful closing hole, and spend more time sampling the Formby hospitality.