Formby Ladies

Formby Ladies

It's a mistake so many of us have made; making a trip to Southport to play the great links that sit cheek by jowl along this celebrated strip of Merseyside coastline, and not having Formby Ladies on the itinerary.

Set within the feted Formby course - host of the Amateur Championship and Curtis Cup - Formby Ladies enjoys the same delightful combination of coastal sand dunes, tall pines, heather, well-bunkered greens and fabulous turf.

It was founded in 1896 as a nine-hole course when the men decided to revamp theirs, and extended to 18 in 1908.

From the tees – and there are only one set here – it is 5,374 yards, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. There are a number of holes here that would comfortably sit in the layout of its more illustrious sibling and the tight drives, and tiny greens, mean that whether you are playing the holes on the flatter land or among the dunes, there is always enough interest and danger to keep you focused.

After a gentle start, the 2nd, a short par 5 with a forced carry over the heather to a tight landing area, accelerates matters in some style. And it never really backs off. The next, a 129-yard par 3, should be nothing more than the shortest of irons but there are five bunkers in attendance and a green that measures only 22 yards from front to back.

The 5th and 6th are huge highlights – the first a little chip to a putting surface that is set on a ledge with trouble lurking everywhere and the next a right to left dogleg that sweeps round the pines and some trickily placed bunkers.

This place is about fun. The elevated tees provide excellent views over the course and towards the Irish Sea and the short holes, topped by the incredible 12th, are the match of anything you’ll see next door.

You’ll bag birdies and doubles in equal measure, and you’ll be smiling all the way round. So close to making England’s Top 100, Formby Ladies' position in our Fun Top 100, ahead of many, many big names, illustrates how highly our panel rate it.