Royal Liverpool - Cheshire - England

Royal Liverpool Golf Club,
Meols Drive,
Hoylake,
Wirral,
Merseyside,
CH47 4AL,
England


  • +44 (0) 151 632 3101

  • Golf Club Website

  • 10 miles SW of Liverpool on Wirral Peninsula

  • Welcome except Thu am or weekends - contact in advance

  • Simon Newland

  • George Morris, Robert Chambers, Harry Colt

  • John Heggarty


Royal Liverpool was the second English course to host the Open Championship and is the fifth most used Open venue after St Andrews, Prestwick, Muirfield and Royal St George’s.

Date Winner Country
1897 Harold Hilton England
1902 Sandy Herd Scotland
1907 Arnaud Massy France
1913 John H.Taylor England
1924 Walter Hagen USA
1930 Bobby Jones USA
1936 Alf Padgham England
1947 Fred Daly N Ireland
1956 Peter Thomson Australia
1967 R. De Vicenzo Argentina
2006 Tiger Woods USA
2014 Rory McIlroy N Ireland


The Open Championship returned to Royal Liverpool Golf Club in 2006 after a 39-year gap. Hoylake, as it is called by those in the know, has a long and illustrious history of playing host to the Open, and has now staged twelve, its first in 1897. Founded in 1869, Hoylake is the second oldest seaside links course in England – only Royal North Devon is the more senior.

George Morris, brother of Old Tom, and Robert Chambers originally laid out a 9-hole course on the site of a racecourse and for the first seven years, golfers shared the land with members of the Liverpool Hunt Club. Three extra holes were soon added and in 1871, the course was extended to 18 holes. In 1872, the club received royal patronage from Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught.

Bernard Darwin reported on the coming of the Haskell, which burst onto the scene at the Amateur Championship at Hoylake in 1902. The winner Charles Hutchings and the runner-up, Sidney Fry, used the rubber-core ball. Later that same year, Sandy Herd used a Haskell and won the Open at Royal Liverpool, sounding the death knell for the “gutty” ball.

Harry Colt made alterations to the 11th and 17th holes, named Alps and Royal. He also created a new 13th hole and changed the greens at the 8th and 12th holes.

In his book, Golf Between Two Wars, Bernard Darwin describes Colt’s changes and the alteration to the 16th, called the Dun: “I do not criticise the disappearance of the old cross-bunker at the Dun because that had been made inevitable by the modern ball and modern driving. It was sad to see it go if only because the soberest might fall into it after dinner – I have seen them do it – in finding their way home across the darkling links; but it had to go and the present Dun is a fine long hole. Trying not to be Blimpish and die-hard and to look at the course with eyes unblurred by sentiment, I solemnly and sincerely declare that Mr Colt made a great job of it”.

Donald Steel was commissioned to make alterations to the course; these changes included a number of new greens, tees and bunkers. The work was completed in 2001 stretching the course out in excess of 7,000 yards. We wonder if Darwin would approve of Steel’s alterations?

The land is unusually flat, offering little in the way of definition – three sides of the course are bordered by houses and the Dee Estuary lies on the western side. When you get out onto the course, the undulations become more pronounced and, as you move away from the houses, the overall experience improves. The holes alongside the shore (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th) are the most visually appealing and very challenging.

Without doubt, Royal Liverpool is a tough links. Only six holes are in the dunes – otherwise there is little protection from the ever-changing wind. There is nothing artificial about the course. It represents a traditional, genuine test of golf and it was heart-warming to see that Hoylake examined the very best players in 2006. They came, they saw and Tiger conquered.

During the winter of 2009/10, Martin Hawtree carried out alterations which included a new 17th green, removal of fourteen bunkers, seven new swales added to green surrounds, and broken ground was added to the rough on six holes to toughen the challenge. The course measured 90 yards longer (7,312 yards) for the 2014 Open Championship when Rory McIlroy claimed his first Open and third major title with a two-shot victory over Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.

At the start of 2020, having consulted with both the R&A and architect Martin Ebert, the club announced a series of course alterations to be made in advance of The Open returning to Hoylake in 2022.

These modifications included raising the front of the 4th green to allow more pin positions, moving the 7th green to the left of its current position and introducing new tees on the 8th, remodelling the 13th green with new runoff areas, creating a short par three 17th hole (with the new green positioned where the 15th tees were located), and lengthening the par five 18th.

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Reviews for Royal Liverpool

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Description: Without doubt, Royal Liverpool Golf Club is a tough links. Only six holes are in the dunes – otherwise there is little protection from the ever-changing Hoylake wind. Rating: 7.7 out of 10 Reviews: 73
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Mark
I played Hoylake a few months ago at the start of December, I couldn’t believe how good a condition it was in. With the wet weather building up to my round, I was sure it would be waterlogged, but it was in great shape. The greens in particular were very true and I can see how playing here regularly could improve your putting, you get just the right feedback from a good or bad putt. The links overall is very tough and was playing long given the lack of run, so was still a great challenge when many courses have been shortened to a driver – wedge length. The course felt a lot longer when I had been in the rough, the damp, thick rough wraps around your club and makes it really tough to hit greens if you miss fairways. It looks like the bunkers were being re-done, so they looked great, although some were GUR, I just hope I can avoid them when I play again in the summer. It seems like the challenge off the tee is well constructed as it’s clear that a well struck but offline shot will find the deep fairway bunkers. The bunkers are also a proper penalty and deterrent as it’s very tough to hit the greens from these hazards. I liked the 11th in particular, but overall I would say that all the holes are strong in their own way. The clubhouse looks great although there was an event on in the main rooms upstairs, so I am hoping for a proper tour of the memorabilia next time I play. Definitely worth the 2 ½ drive to play. I’ve just seen that it was labelled ‘The Home of Golf in England’ in this year’s Open magazine, it’s a lofty tag, but with the history on show and the quality of the course, I’d have to agree it deserves the title.
April 11, 2012
10 / 10
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Eugene Mc Daid
I was delighted to get to play Hoylake again, now for the 3rd time, but with a year or so since the last time. I have to say that I can see what people mean when they say it grows on you. Playing the course with some prior knowledge of where you need to be on the fairways to get the best shot at the green and how to avoid the killer bunkers really makes a difference. Talking of the bunkers, I managed to go in less this time, but when I was, I have to say the condition of them is second to none. There are no complaints or excuses when it’s a struggle to get out. Another thing I had in mind was that the 11th is a lot more challenging once you know more about it. It looks idyllic perched on the edge of the Dee Estuary with fantastic views 360 degrees around. Don’t be fooled, this is a tough Par 3 and a real highlight of the round. The other stand-out hole for me was the all new green on the 17th. I say green, but actually the new angle of attack makes it feel like a completely new hole... and a great one at that. It’s a tough landing area, with some intelligently placed bunkers and roll-off areas that offer a premium for accurate long iron play. Overall, I love playing at Hoylake and I can’t wait to get fit again after my knee operation and get back out ahead of the Women’s Open next year.
November 25, 2011
10 / 10
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Kevin Smith
I was a bit surprised by the comments concerning the course, unless the reviewers were playing on a calm day. I had the same impression of St. Andrews the first time I played it (in calm conditions), i.e. flat, featureless, etc. On the second round, Mother Nature kicked in and St. Andrews became a real tester. Add in the history, the round became a real experience. The same can be said for Royal Liverpool. Royal Liverpool demands precision golf to keep the ball in play and away from danger. Add in a blustery wind and this track can be a real challenge. The greens were in perfect condition, fast and rolling true. The bunkers appeared to be ready for the Open, as they were properly maintained and stone free. I would agree, though, that holes 8 through 15 have more character and the first hole is a bit underwhelming. However, thought 3 and 4 were very good holes. The layout for the Open would be my preference, i.e. 17 as the first, 18 as the second, and 1 as the third. This would make the current 16th a much better finishing hole – more risk reward and finishing with the club house framing the green. While you are there, spend a few minutes in the club house and soak in the history. Did you know the RL captains’ jackets were the inspiration for Bobby Jones and the green jacket at the Masters? If you like golf history, it’s worth the effort to stop in and take a look.
August 22, 2011
8 / 10
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Max Monroe
Overrated with a few nice holes. Most of the course is boring, flat, and non-memorable. There might be five holes that play amongst the sand dunes and they are good holes but nothing to celebrate. The Open should not be played here (take it to Ireland instead). The only impressive part of RLGC is the history of the club and its clubhouse. Don't plan a golf holiday around this club you will be disappointed, it's good at best. For what you pay to play here you wont get but half of your money in value.
July 23, 2011
6 / 10
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Luke Williams
July 25, 2012
guessing your Irish then, quite frankly royal Liverpool may provide, for the most part, a relatively flat round, but I can't imagine the R & A would choose the venue to host the open if it was unimmpressive and boring. At this years Irish open even when the bad weather turned up, royal Portrush was ripped apart by a modest field. If the same winds and showers appeared at hoylake scoring would be much higher. If portrush ever wanted to host an open championship it would have to make alterations to the course, particularly the two incredibly short par 5 9th and 10th and would also have to increase accessibility to the course.
Al
A very good course, but unfortunately a very slow round today, taking over 4 1/2 hours as a two ball. This ditracts from any enjoyment gained from the course, which was in great nick for the time of year. The problem was a group of 12 medocre players followed by a group of four lads who all hit the ball a long way off the tee. The course was playing extremely short due to forward tees, and the dry weather. Hence we waited on virtually every shot, often waiting for these lads to tee off...yawn yawn what a shame. We should have been fixed up with other players or told to bring others, and if players are capable they shouls play further back. I will think twice as it doesnt matter how good the course is slow play is no fun at all.
March 27, 2011
6 / 10
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Carl Tushingham
I have to agree in the main with many of the reviews on here that some of the holes here are a bit plain, but many of them are absolute crackers. We recevied a very wam welcome from all the staff and members. We pretty much had the course to ourselves as we set off in strong winds and rain. Best stretch of holes is from 8-12 when you get some glimpses of the sea from the par 3 11th, what a hole. Lots of rain had fallen before are visit but the course was very dry underfoot and the greens were brilliant, very fast and true, in fact better than Royal Birkdale's that we played the next day. This course it well worth a visit and we look forward to returning next year.
February 22, 2011
8 / 10
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Ian Henley
Playing any open championship track should be the pinnacle of your golfing experiences, but I admit to being somewhat deflated by the Royal Liverpool layout. It is crying out for a better opening hole that sets a greater anticipation for your round. Regrettably it is easily the poorest opening hole of any British Open course (no correction - worst of any decent links course that I have played!). The course takes a bit of time to get going and it is the stretch from the 4th to the 12th that earns this course its pedigree with a great mix of holes shaped magnificently between the dunes. If I were a member these are the holes you would play (when looking for a quick nine.....). Once you are clear of the 12th, the short 13th is a decent enough hole with a well guarded ground which typifies the courses great greenside defences. The remaining 5 holes though go back and forth along the flat almost common like land close to the clubhouse and I am afraid did not leave a lasting impression. I am sure they look and play better with great grandstands creating amphitheatres, but with no scenery of any note and just length to entertain you it is a shame that the round has to finish this way. So overall a mixed feeling - the conditioning of the course and its undoubted levels of maintenance and upkeep is not the question mark here, you are guaranteed a course in great condition I just will not have the same memories as I have had playing the other great open championship courses. I am in agreement therefore with Keith Baxter's Open feature and would place this at the bottom of the list when ranking our nine open championship venues. Ian Henley
October 10, 2010
6 / 10
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Joe
May 03, 2013
Need to get your facts right. When the open is played the opening hole is actually the 17th. All the holes re ordered differently. The 18th in the open is the dog leg par 5 16th.
Keith Baxter

Royal Liverpool is one of the best conditioned Open Championship courses I’ve played but, as I holed a monster putt for a bogey on the 18th after twice blading chip shots to the final green, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. A lot of courses have very bland opening holes but the 1st at Hoylake is an absolute stinker; a right angled dogleg round the practice ground to a green that has no real interest apart from a small swale. From that point on the course gets progressively better and there are some brilliant holes among the rippling fairways and dunes where the bunkering, especially at the greens, are truly magnificent. Unfortunately I found the much lauded closing stretch that starts at 14, aptly named Field, most uninteresting. Difficult and long holes they may be, but the up and down routing across the flat and featureless former racecourse left me cold. Hoylake is undoubtedly a supreme test of golf but as a course it didn’t float my boat.

October 06, 2010
7 / 10
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Tom Boys
With a history to match any club and a fantastic set up Royal Liverpool is a must play if you visit the North West. New improvements have been made to the course this winter and these will make this already tough and enjoyable layout even more challenging and fun. There are many good courses in the area but you will not find a more challenging yet enjoyable layout than at Hoylake.The par 3's are stunning, the opening hole one of the finest and most demanding in the world and the views from the 9th to the 13th beautiful and eclipsing any course in the area. The course has a mix of everything with gorse/long rough/deep and cleverly positioned bunkers and mounding protecting the tough to hit but pure and flatish greens. This is a real thinkers course and a true fair test.The condition of the course is always to a very high standard and this is set to improve further with a new irrigation system installed. The fantastic practice facilites/clubhouse and pro shop help complete a great setup and despite being a 'Royal' club the friendly and un stuffy atmosphere is a real welcome to this truly great club.
April 15, 2010
10 / 10
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therese
I had the opportunity to play Royal Liverpool GC the other week and it turned out to be a fabulous experience! The greens were fast and firm to my surprise as the season is only just kicking off. Both the fairway and green bunkers are challenging as they should be. I tried avoiding the bunkers, but got penalized a few times (!) and even this added to the experience. In my home country, deep bunkers are rare. So I got a few pictures snapped when I was in the green side bunker of the 8th hole. The comradeship and friendly atmosphere among the members is unmistakable and something I will bring back and share at my own golf club. A lady member kindly showed me to the ladies room to take my golf shoes off and then as a real bonus, she guided me through the pictures and boards in the hallway. With a memorable history, the members should be very proud of the heritage and it was breathtaking to take part of the history. During my visit I akso played Royal Birkdale and Formby GC. If you are planning a trip to some great links courses in England, make sure to include Royal Liverpool GC in your plans. It will be an unforgettable experience!
April 07, 2010
10 / 10
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