Hesketh - Lancashire - England

Hesketh Golf Club,
Cockle Dick's Lane,
Southport,
Merseyside,
PR9 9QQ


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Hesketh Golf Club is completely overshadowed by Royal Lytham & St Annes to the north and Royal Birkdale to the south but Hesketh pre-dates them both. Southport Golf Club, as Hesketh was originally known, was founded in 1885 and the original course was designed by James Ogilvy Fairlie Morris, son of Old Tom Morris and the little brother of Young Tom, and it soon developed a reputation for excellent greens and a stern test of golf.

After three moves and an amalgamation with the Southport Golf Club, Hesketh Golf Club finally settled down just off Cockle Dick’s Lane on the site of the original course, flanked by the Victorian villas of Hesketh Park, Southport's premier residential area.

It was the landowner of many names, first Charles Hesketh Bibby, then Charles Hesketh Bibby-Hesketh and finally Charles Hesketh Fleetwood-Hesketh who, in 1902, reintroduced the original 1895 course with more than a little help from George Lowe, the professional at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.

The Bentley brothers – Harry and Arnold – were perhaps the most illustrious pair of brothers in the history of amateur golf and they were a firm feature at Hesketh Golf Club for decades and undoubtedly the club’s most famous members.

The roadway up to the clubhouse passes a par three of some repute, a short hole that Henry Cotton described as the best in Lancashire. The 16th measures 187 yards from the back tees and it is ringed with six pot bunkers, which laugh in the face of par. The green is framed by dunes and raised on a plateau with a nasty steep run off to the right. If you miss the green slightly to the right, your ball will be flung across the road leaving you with a treacherous chip back up to the green.

Henry Cotton was a regular visitor to Hesketh and he competed here in the famous Dunlop Southport tournament and won. Hesketh Golf Club regularly hosts Open Championship Qualifying when the Open comes to Royal Birkdale and we have no doubt that even on a calm day it’s a tough test of golf.

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Description: Hesketh Golf Club is completely overshadowed by Royal Lytham & St Annes to the north and Royal Birkdale to the south but Hesketh pre-dates them both. Rating: 5.4 out of 10 Reviews: 18
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EG Ohman

Hesketh could be your only option if you are looking for links golf on a week-end morning in the Southport area. Do you get out of bed or not?

Having read reviews on this site, my expectations were quite low. The weather on the day was not great either. However, I was very positively surprised. The course has a bunch of very good holes, not only on the clubhouse side (holes 1-2 and 14-18).

In fact, many of the holes across the road (3-13) are very cleverly planned, with obstacles and narrowing fairways exactly where you would land your tee-shot. As a result, I played 3-wood or hybrid off the tee on several occasions and probably would do on a couple more on my next visit.

Not in the class of Birkdale, Hillside, S&A, Formby or West Lancs but not as far behind as I thought beforehand.

Definitely worth playing on an extra day in the area and to play twice (or with a member of similar ability who knows the course well) if you have not played it before.

June 03, 2019
6 / 10
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Ed Battye

A round at Hesketh is very much a game of two halves. Well almost.

Whilst there is no doubting this is a true links golf course seven of the holes are certainly more 'linksy' than the others. What makes this difference perhaps even more apparent is the need to cross the busy Fleetwood Road which dissects the two varying parts of the course.

The first time you drive into Hesketh Golf Club you are treated to a glimpse of its highlights. The par three 16th runs parallel to the private road leading into the car park and is a magnificent hole with a green set amongst dunes and framed by fiendish pot bunkers. You then get to see the 18th green, the climax of another fine hole which tightens the closer you get to the green. And then the opening tee-shot and the whole of the first comes into view, a straight hole with a green once more sheltered by huge dunes. If the course lived up to this early teaser it would rival many of the notable courses in the Southport area. Sadly it doesn't.

That's not to say it isn't a good course but after playing the first, followed by an excellent par three to a plateau green, everything then goes a little bit flat for a while, eleven holes to be precise. That's perhaps a bit unfair because the next five holes are arguably very solid holes but there's no doubt that the atmosphere has now changed.

Hesketh has three truly excellent golf holes and these make it worth a visit alone. It also has a handful of other very good holes but in my opinion holes eight through 13 offer very little. Fortunately, these come in the middle of the round and the last five holes try their damnedest to make up for it and always leave you with the feeling that you will return to sample the finest parts of Hesketh once again.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

March 23, 2017
6 / 10
Hesketh
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Warren

Hesketh starts so promisingly. The view down the fairway through the dunes on the 1st tee is fantastic but is definitely the high point of the course. The holes on the club house side (1,2,14-18) are all proper links (maybe 17 being an exception) but holes 3-13 on the other side are on flat, lush ground that are not links holes. Unsure what the authors of "True Links" were thinking - maybe they just did a drive by, saw the first and 18th and that was enough to include. Ponds, not a sand dune in sight, lush fairways etc all suggest parkland golf to me. This is not to say it is a bad course, just a bit flat and boring for my liking and is a strong 3 baller. They have made attempts to tart it up with a set of moguls on the 12th I think but they are unnatural. The clubhouse holes are played over undulating land with dunes all around. Some excellent holes not out of place on its' more seemed neighbours but not enough to get it into 4 ball territory. Warren from Australia.

July 08, 2016
4 / 10
Hesketh
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Jonathan Crickmore
Given the age of the reviews here I thought I ought to add something more current.The greens in particular have had a bit of a slating in the reviews on this site, this is something that has changed - they are simply some of the best & I would say most consistant in the area currently.The design is a good one and changes to holes over the road have made the course both more playable & challenging in that area, although I would think that players who do not appreciate this course are generally those who expect an easy-ride when they play a new course & have been beaten-up the the old girl.You should try to play this course on a breezy day to appreciate it fully as I think it stands up well to its neighbours in testing conditions.
August 19, 2013
8 / 10
Hesketh
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Colin
October 13, 2013
Played this on 11th October after playing Royal Birkdale the day before. Two totally different experiences. Hesketh was a mix of links and heathland I guess and whilst the links holes were great the heathland ones could have been anywhere. The club was very welcoming and friendly and lots of history which was really interesting. Would I go back, despite a 35 point haul, probably not and the £60 fee was as has previously been said perhaps a little steep. Don't expect it to be easy though as there are lots of places to lose balls and with the wind blowing it presented some real challenges. It would be a perfectly good course and one I would happily play as a member, but stand out then probably not.
Hugh
October 14, 2013
Agree with Colin's comments other than to suggest the holes on the opposite side of the road to the clubhouse are not heathland they are laid out on former marshland.
Gary Wilde
Hesketh today was bathed in sunshine with barely a breath of wind. Given the recent rain it was remarkably dry and the greens were very good for the time of year. It is a course which has seen much improvement gradually within the last ten years. New greens have been constructed, former marshland drained creating ponds and bunkers moved/changed. The holes around the clubhouse are completely different in character to those on the other side of the road and the pick are 14 & 15 which are played when you cross the road back to the clubhouse side to play the final 5. Holes 3 to 14 are played on the much flatter seaward side and it shouldn’t be forgotten that the raised public footpath which runs to the left of holes 6 & 7 is the former sea wall. The pick of these holes are 3 & 9 which both require good drives to set up the approach shot to the green. Hesketh is the ugly duckling of the four Southport courses (including S&A, Hillside and Royal Birkdale) and I do think £60 is a little steep to play there with £40 is nearer the ‘value for money’ marker, we played on a 50% green fee deal and undoubtedly this was good value.
September 15, 2011
6 / 10
Hesketh
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wim van der ark
March 05, 2012
Played this gem last week, for the time of year the greens are nothing short of excellent, fast and true and going to be really good this season, the bunkers make me think of a british open style. The course is a little boring on the marshside but still enjoyable. Will return next yr again, office staff very helpful indeed and the Pro has lots of knowledge on all things golf.
Rick Wakefield
Unfortunately Hesketh lives in the shadow of it's neighbours and falls well short . There are a few interesting holes on the old part of the course around the clubhouse , but the ones on the other side of the road are a bit of a mix up . Not somewhere I would return for the prices they charge !!
July 29, 2011
4 / 10
Hesketh
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David Duggan
Having played this course in early March 10, i have to say i was pleasantly suprised with the condition of the course, the greens especially were very fast and true and althugh the course was slightly wet, it was completely playable, the work carried out over the Winter has been excellent, especially the new green at 15, me and my fourball will certainly make the visit in the Summer to play the course again, clubhouse was very friendly and proshop staff very helpful all in all 8/10
March 10, 2010
8 / 10
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g
Played the course over the last few days and have to say that I am somewhat disappointed with the condition of the greens. The best one was the practice putting green and the ones on the course seemed to lack consistency. As other reviewers have been saying the holes on the clubhouse side of the road are very good, especially 14 and 15. The welcome from the staff was excellent and the facilities in the clubhouse were also excellent along with the food.
June 27, 2009
4 / 10
Hesketh
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DAVID TITCHMARSH
Having travelled from the Midlands at some unearthly hour on Monday morning so we could play 36 holes we were all somewhat dissapointed after we had played the first 18. The opening and closing holes are rated as good but the standard of the holes 'over the road' were very poor and the condition of the whole course left a lot to be desired. Oh well another course ticked off but I and my playing partners will not be returning when there are such excellent courses nearby. We played at West Lancs on the Tuesday and what a difference, the course should be rated so much higher. An absolute pleasure. Hesketh, you need to improve otherwise players like us will not return!!
June 12, 2009
1 / 10
Hesketh
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Christian Abrahamsen
The course was unfortunately a bit of a disappointment - I found the holes on the clubhouse side of the road enjoyable, whilst those on the other side with a more parkland feel quite dull. The green fee was £75 on a weekend and felt steep for the quality of course, and feels overpriced compared to what you can get locally. However, the banter in the clubhouse was great and the members gave us a friendly welcome which more than made up for it.
May 19, 2009
4 / 10
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