The stunning Formby is unique in many ways, not least because it is a blend between Heathland and Links golf, but also because it’s routing traverses anti-clockwise around the shorter Formby Ladies Club. In fact, so good is the routing and so big is the property in which the course sits (470 acres), that despite working your way around the Ladies, you barely even see a hole.
Another unique quirk is that it is protected from the sea breeze by thick trees, but that certainly doesn’t make it any easier. The fairways play firm and fast, they undulate and contour like some of the best Links strips and when they aren’t extremely narrow, well positioned bunkering is waiting to swallow any wayward shot. The greens are firm and fast and creative shots are well rewarded here.
Formby takes you on a ride from the off. The first four holes play along a railway and you’ll wonder where this North West Links gem is. In fact, the first four holes are heathland and reminded me of Walton Heath. Suddenly from the excellent Par 3 5th, the dunes arrive, the fescue introduces itself and the trees narrow a little and you are off on your Linksland journey. Formby then throws one good hole after another at you. The 9th is a stunner, offering you a tantalising glimmer of the Irish Sea from an elevated tee box. The green is framed by trees and small fairway dunes interrupt the approach. The 11th plays through fescue clad mounds on either sides of the fairway with the green encased within circled dunes. The 13th has the best fairway on the property. It contours wickedly with 7 fairway bunkers to contend with. The 15th is another superb Par 4 with a downhill approach shot played through a narrow dune entrance. Holes 17 & 18 then return to Heathland to take you home along some huge properties, including Steven Gerrard’s, where you can see his stone European Cups adorning the top of his house.
Formby probably flies a little under the radar when it comes to his more renowned ‘Royal’ neighbours, but every tour to the North West should include this stunning rollercoaster of a course. You will not be disappointed!
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Date: June 23, 2021