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.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Royal Liverpool

Average Reviewers Score:
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
TaylorMade
Stefan Hindmarsh
On a pleasant March Spring day I went to play at Hoylake yesterday on a society trip. And the experience of the entire day was just like the weather! By this I mean that although it was a lovely day, in the summer the day would have been hard to beat… with the sun is out, the rough up, and the G.U.R is nonexistent. However as one would expect we were off a reduced length, and plenty of the bountiful array of bunkers were out of action, so although the course was a treat we were probably playing it at its most benign.

However despite not experiencing the full test of the course, it was plain to see why it is one of the more popular Open Venues for both players and patrons! For a start, there is what first greats you as you arrive at the club, the great and illustrious clubhouse. Then inside the helpful starter greats you with the upmost hospitality showing you to the locker room and the extremely well stocked Pro Shop silently urges you to buy some of the great items for sale. As you go further into the clubhouse the sense of history and the ghost of golfing greats only go further to arouse the anxious feelings of the impending round.

And what a round it is! You know right from the off that you need your 'A' game at hand! The first is probably the hardest opening hole I have played. The clubhouse windows on the left shudder in fear of the horrendous hook shot that may fly off your club, and to the right Out of Bounds lies the whole way up the hole. Then also the fairway narrows to less than 20 yards at prime 3-wood range, so you are left with the quandary lay up and face a 200 yard approach shot over Out of Bounds or try and carry the corner with the big stick, personally I was happy to take a five! The second is a great short hole where again the emphasis is on driving accuracy, however once on the fairway good luck stopping the ball on a green that slopes away from you into deep swales. The third is a great risk/reward Par 5 where bunkers are a plenty but a good score is to be had so long as you find the right tier on the green. The fourth is a great par three with another tricky green, and cavernous bunkers awaiting the wayward tee shot. The fifth is another tight hole where accuracy on the drive and the approach are vital. There is a reason why it is S.I 1!! The sixth, although with a daunting tee shot is actually a kind respite from the previous 5 holes. But nevertheless danger still lies in wake! The seventh is another must hit Par 3 as complex swales leave a very tricky up and down. The eight is a cracker of a Par 5! You drive towards a narrowing fairway and there is a distinct possibility of leaving yourself a chance of getting on in two! However too close to the large mound at the end of the fairway and there is no choice to lay up! If you do go for it in two avoid the front right bunker at all costs! It is deep… The front nine then finishes with a great short Par 4 at which a 4 is a very good score!

At the start of the back nine the course comes into its own, with 10, 11 and 12 along the shoreline, where the views over the Dee estuary are so beautiful they make the sudden growth of bogeys on the card seem not that bad! The 13th is another Par 3 but where length is not the issue, but again accuracy. Miss this green at your peril! The 14th is a superb 3 shot Par 5 with danger lurking in the form of bunkers at the drive, lay up, and approach. The 15th is one of the hardest holes on the course, with Out of Bounds to the right and two big blows required to reach the green! The 16th is the final time that the Out of Bounds comes into play, but avoid that and there is a strong possibility of a rare birdie. The 17th has plenty of protection from bunkers at the front so take an extra club on the already long approach! Then the 18th closes the round in the same way it started, danger left and right off the tee and with a new bunker front right, there is an imperative on accuracy with the approach!

In all this is a course that is not for those who like the undulations of St Andrews, nor for those who like to smack a driver on every hole (I used mine 3 times!), but if one wants a supreme test of golf and great history, Hoylake is the place.
March 20, 2010
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Jason
What a place Hoylake is, I played there this week and it was a real treat. I have played here many times through the years and I can understand what people say about it being flat, but the course makes up for this in many different areas. For starters you have to be on top of your game right from the first tee, with the prevailing wind it makes it tough to reach the first in two shots of the back tees. It has four great par 3’s all challenging in different ways as they play in four different directions. The 11th is the most visual of all the holes. I have played the course off both the yellow and green tees and the greens tees are very demanding for visitors. When there is a good breeze the yellow tees are just perfect.The club boasts absolutely brilliant practice facilities with one of the biggest putting greens I have been on. It also has two chipping greens that are just good as the greens on the course well worth a visit before the round.There have been some extensive changes made to the course and I am definitely going to come back in the summer to see how they look and will be telling all my friends to go play because it really does deserve the rank of number 6.That is the course and the clubhouse matches it. Seeing Tiger Woods 2 iron on display in the bar is a nice touch. The clubs heritage is a wonder to see through out the clubhouse. All the staff were very welcoming it felt as if I was a member something I can only dream of.Royal Liverpool is a must for any golfer no matter their standard.
March 05, 2010
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Ian Keenan
Royal Liverpool Golf Club gets my vote for the most accessible Open Championship venue. Right from arrival you are made to feel special. There are no visitors parking spaces (not even the captain gets his own space), no visitors changing nor is there a members only bar. If you are a members guest or a paying visitor you are treated as a member for the day and you are free to roam around and enjoy all of the trimmings that the members enjoy on a daily basis. The golf course is subtly brilliant. It may not have the sand dunes of a Birkdale or the tree lined fairways of Formby but the course is a joy to play. The views for the stretch of holes 9-12 are simply stunning (I wanted to stay on the 11th green forever!). The course is also very tough and with recent changes coming into play this coming spring, it promises to be even tougher when the pros next come to town. Overall, it was one of my most enjoyable golfing experiences and I look forward to my next visit.
February 08, 2010
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Paul Shaw
Having played Hoylake a number of times when I was younger, when my handicap was higher, I can understand why some comment that the course is less visually appealing away from the coast and ultimately a fairly flat layout. It never struck me as exciting as other Open venues. However, having played there more regularly over the past year, I have fallen in love with this classic golfing gem. The place is inspiring both from the history in its halls to the immense golfing challenge that it sets. Having now experienced the full gamut of conditions I can vouch for the fact that it tests every department of a single-figure handicapper’s game, you find you are rarely hitting the same shot twice in a round.I think the mix of dunes and flatter areas ensure that you get an experience that is tough but fair, I have played many dune based courses were it feels like you have to give away too much control of your own destiny to the vagaries of the land. At Hoylake, if you hit a great shot you are likely to be rewarded, if you go astray you will really start to struggle. I also think that the greens really live up to the saying that ‘if you can’t putt at Hoylake, you can’t putt anywhere’, they are true, excellently manicured and have a sensible balance of flat putts and some swales & ledges.I’ve also seen some comments about the routing of the course, especially around the internal out of bounds. I personally think that 1, 15 and 16 that border the OOB are amongst the best on the links. Hole 1 is a fantastic opening hole, it’s a simple layout, dogleg around the OOB, but the visual impact of that divided wide open space makes it difficult to place the ball where you need to, then a long iron into the green tucked in against the OOB tests the nerves before you’ve got into your stride, especially with the prevailing wind pushing you towards the boundary. Later in the round the 16 runs alongside it again, and offers a great risk reward to get an achievable birdie, but with the opportunity of blotting a good score card. Overall though, the route along the coast from 9 to 12 is an exceptional piece of golfing real estate, with fantastic and varied views across the Dee estuary. In particular hole 11 offers a striking par 3 with a huge green that reduces to a sliver of bright green back on the tee.For anyone who has not played the course in the last year or so, it’s worth another visit to see the new links changes, the bunkers are better positioned, tighter and there are some great new run-off areas, with a new 17th green complex being built as I write. Overall, a great golfing experience although I think that the club should open up the longer course to visitors. Playing the green tees (in the summer) is the only way to really appreciate the course with all of its subtleties.
November 28, 2009
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Mick Valerio
Royal Liverpool is a very pleasant experience BUT...6th best in England? - no way! - OK so I played it in very benign conditions and off shortened tees but I wouldn't hurry back - my acid test for greatness is how many truly memorable holes the course offers up and Hoylake has hardly any - if you're visiting this part of the world and planning to play some of the links, do yourself a favour, drive past Liverpool and go just a little further north to Royal Birkdale...it's in a different league
October 22, 2009
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Neil Moores
November 23, 2009
It is interesting to see such varied comments regarding Hoylake. I think those who really appreciate a true test of Golf, appreciate how good this course is. Yes is looks disappointing stood on the first tee, because this part of the course is flat, but once you get into the round you realise the subtleties of the challenge ahead. Getting the ball round in sub 80 is a tough task for any single figure player. I would think the better players are those who left the most complementary comments. This really is a great course; but don't take my word for it, read what Tiger Woods had to say!
Sam Baldwin
The course without doubt is a very special place. The clubhouse has some great touches throughout, namely all the Tiger handouts. When you get there its hard to believe the place has hosted a modern Open as its a relatively small place. I do understand all the reviews where people have been slightly let down with the course. Before playing it one guy said he hated the course because it was just a 'ploughed field' but I completely disagree with this. It, to me, is a course that hasn't been changed a great deal from when it was first designed, much like Royal North Devon. The greens are small, contoured and fast. The fairways are tight with out of bounds on most (each side!) and the tee boxes are flat and in great nick. In general the condition was excellent, especially for April. My main criticism is the overall length of the course. I feel that this is a huge problem with all the Open courses. When we played the course it was roughly a 1000 yards shorter than when Woods and co played it. The main issue is that most of the bunkers on the fairway are out of play and the ones around the green are hard to hit as you are hitting mostly short irons. I phoned a couple of Open venues and all had shortened the course by at least 800 yards. I understand that they have to maintain their standards but when your playing the massive green fees then you expect to play the full course. Overall though the course was a massive inspiration to me and relit my passion for the game, just wish I could afford to play the other Royals in the area!
October 05, 2009
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Jon Karlsen
A good golf course, but not as great as I expected. The course is flat, and not very spectacular. The best holes are 9, 11 and 12. The opening hole, and nr. 16, where you on both play around the corner of the driving range (which is OB) are the weakest holes on the course. Condition where reasonably good, although they had been doing work on both greens and fariways
October 03, 2009
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Paul
I was raelly impressed by the set up, the friendliness of the pro shop and bar staff. Loved the clubhouse and sense of history. With the course I was a little disappointed. It is very flat and lacks much definition. No doubt tough but not my favourite. Played West Lancs same few days and found it preferable. Not bad but not in my top 20
September 25, 2009
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Ronan O'Driscoll
I played Hoylake on a winters day - however there wasn't a breath of wind, so the course played relatively easy. I loved Royal Liverpool. The moment you arrive you have a sense of history. Surprisingly flat - I would consider it unusual, interesting and very enjoyable. Very pleasant and welcoming - and the bast bacon sandwich around!
October 05, 2008
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Andrew Grant
Tough, tough, tough, very tough! I loved it, did I mention that Royal Liverpool was tough? Nearly as good as Wallasey.
August 25, 2008
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful