The golfing spotlight returned to the Wirral in 2006 when the Open was staged at Hoylake. But the Wirral peninsula has something for everyone, from the award winning village of Port Sunlight to Tranmere Rovers Football Club. On the edge of the River Dee estuary lies Caldy, one of the Wirral’s least well-known golf clubs.
It a surprise to us that Caldy is not more widely renowned. The club was founded in 1907 and it’s located only a few miles to the south of Royal Liverpool Golf Club. According to the Caldy Golf Club website; “It was Jack Morris, nephew of Old Tom Morris who drew up the course plan in 1906 for nine holes, which were opened in 1907. Twenty-three years later, five times Open Champion, James Braid, presented his plans for an extended eighteen-hole course, which was opened in 1931.”
Wonderful views are on offer from this cliff top layout and if it’s variation that you are looking for, then Caldy will provide it in spades. Add in the vagaries of the ever-present wind and you’re in for a treat. The pick of the holes run parallel to the River Dee, but the inland holes represent an interesting and varied challenge.
In 1981 Caldy was used as a qualifying course when the European Open was hosted at Hoylake. Seve Ballesteros was pushed into second place with Australia’s Graham Marsh emerging as a two-shot winner.
The Caldy Festival of Golf is held here during August and the club opens its doors to all comers. It’s a golfing extravaganza with events for Men, Ladies Juniors and Seniors. There’s even a sponsored corporate day at this popular event. So if you'd like to play in the Caldy Festival, remember to book early.
Caldy is situated at the end of the Wirral Peninsula, alongside the river Dee, and enjoys some wonderful views whilst playing the series of cliff top holes on the front nine. Looking across the estuary towards Hilbre Islands and the coast of Wales one can really appreciate the fabulous setting.
Meanwhile the inland holes, on the other side of the Wirral Way, offer a more secluded and tree-lined experience yet still benefit from firm-ish turf for the most part, or at least it was in mid-April 2017 when I visited to play the 36-hole Caldy Quart scratch competition. On this section of the course you are sheltered from the wind but the holes are tighter and you must plot your way round a bit more.
There are a number of stand-out holes throughout the round. The first is an inviting opener whilst the par-three second is the first of a particularly good set of short holes with the 17th, played over Thor’s Dyke, the pick of the quartet.
The four par fives at Caldy didn’t really excite me although the 11th and 18th do a decent job of getting golfers back up the hill to the elevated clubhouse which offers a wide view out to the course.
The greens and their surrounds throughout the 18 holes played nice and firm and there are plenty of modest run-offs which can leave some tricky recovery shots.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.