I had visited Formby GC in 2014 nd walked some holes but had not played it. I went to the area again in early June and again missed it, but this time during The Open it was the moment to go there and experience it. I had received many good reviews and comments about it, but just needed to play it myself and really taste it. It is very close to Hillside and Birkdale, which usually gives you the same climate and wind, although here the piece of land is maybe more ondulated and tree lined in the front 9 at least and final 2 holes.
We played in a rainy day, which usually makes it a little bit nasty with literally puring rain when we played holes 12-15, but in the end after a very bad forecast we could complete the round and watch The Open at the Club House having lunch, which was really great.
About the course ... the first nice touch is to arrive to the 1st tee and have starter in jacket and tie welcoming you and giving the basics of the Club anb the Course to make it more enjoyable.
The course starts maybe with its 3 weaker holes, plain, tree lined and with nothing really special on them, maybe only the green design and complexes were special.
Then you arrive to the first great hole, short par 4 fourth were it is mandatory to lay up, there is no need to go for it and really no benefit. I went for it and paid with a very silly bogey. Par 3 5th has a great green and the wind across which really didn't show due to trees was the challenge. Par 4s 6-7 are amazing and totally different: the first one a typical old links hole with a blind second shot over mounds and a very tall flag (at least 3.5mts) while 7 is a tree lined dog leg right with a tough approach to a hidden green where it is very difficult to find the correct line. Par 5 8th is excellent again, reminding me of 5th hole at El Desafío in Argentina, where placing the tee shot is extremely important. 9th is another of the great ones, where fairway ends at 290 yds before heading to a very nice shot to a left to right breaking green and where you have your only views of the Ocean.
The flow of par 4s from 11 to 15 is maybe the toughest part on the course, where wind, cross bunkers and greens will make it a great strech of holes to be challenged. It is then when we found the heavy rain and it was maybe the toughest part of my 10 days trip, specially 15th where blind second shot into the wind was a nightmare. The last 3 holes are kind of soft and not tough, where you can aim to recover a couple of shots you will for sure have lost in the previous holes.
As many courses in the UK it will never be as famous as The Royals, Sunningdale, Wentworth or other Tour Venues but Formby is a great challenge and very nice design. Greens rolling at very good speed even in the rain, course maintenance even better than Lytham and Hoylake. Don't miss it if you are there, it is really good.
Date: August 03, 2017