I played Formby back in June on the hottest day of the year, on a perfect day on which you are lucky to play a links style course. However whilst Formby is often described as a links, you are never really next to the sea and the only real sight you get of water is on the 9th and 10th tees, which both provide a beautiful panorama across the course to the dunes and sea beyond. Upon arriving at the club you become very aware that you are somewhere steeped in much history - the famous clubhouse (that we were not allowed to enter due to COVID) is imposing and stands adjacent to the 18th green - I had seen pictures before of many great championships hosted here with the clubhouse in the background, but in the flesh it truly is something to behold. The golf course here is nothing short of sublime and in an area blessed with great courses, I could only believe that it is tough to get any better than this. I haven't yet had the opportunity to play at any of the other 'big' courses nearby but if they are all on a par with (or, alleged to be better than) Formby, then the West coast of England must truly be the golden triangle of links golf in the UK. This is a tough golf course, no question, and it is easy to see why the course has championship pedigree - hosting the Curtis Cup, the Amateur Championship and the Female Amateur Championship previously. Bunkers are the main defence of the course as well as its length (the course is over 7000 yards from the tips). I was fortunate to play on a still day but I can imagine the wind could wreak havoc if it were to really get up. I won't go through a hole by hole review here but I would have to give notable mentions to the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th holes which are brutally difficult but equally stunning, as well as the 16th hole which is an absolute gem of a par 3; short but well protected by deep bunkers, it is the epitome of a classic links par 3. The 18th too is a great finishing hole and putting for the last time under the watchful eye of the clubhouse, I paused and reflected on what a great day's golf I had just had. This is indeed a very special place to play golf and worthy of a 5.5 rating, minimum. Top marks all round and *definitely* include it in any West coast golf trip.
Date: September 23, 2020