As said in other reviews, it is definitely a mistake trying to compare this S&A to Hillside and Birkdale because it is different golf. Southport and Ainsdale plays as a links course however has a much bigger parkland/heathland element to it unlike its neighbours. Unfortunately we hit Southport and Ainsdale on a blustery day which made it very difficult to score well with the 143 bunkers that they have. The condition of the course was top notch, good greens, well maintained fairways and bunkers and lovely heather.
Some of my favourite holes would be the par 5 2nd which had heather both left and right and multiple bunkers plotted all the way up the fairway. The 5th hole was a tough par 4 playing straight into the wind making it an even SI 1 hole! Make sure you hit the fairway as missing it left or right may find you in the ditch or in their awfully thick rough that they have. The 6th hole was a great links hole but also playing tough with large dunes on either side of the fairway and 3 deep bunkers to the left and right of the green.
In my opinion, I preferred the back nine at S&A despite being much more challenging as it did have a greater variety of holes. The 10th was a short and slightly uphill par 3, the 11th was a tough par 4 with a blind second shot making it a lot harder. 13 is where it begins to feel a bit more like a parkland/heathland course as this is a short par 3 with trees on the right and a water hazard long of the green. Accuracy is important on this hole as the green is narrow. 15 is one of my favourite holes on the course although it is probably the hardest. On the tee it is very intimidating as there must be at least 10 deep fairway bunkers all in play off the tee and trees/gorse on your left. The 17th is also a great hole which is named 'heather' so as you can probably gather, it has a lot of heather. The elevated tee makes it a beautiful driving hole with the heather lined all the way down the left hand side of the fairway. A very good picturesque hole.
Overall, I enjoyed Southport and Ainsdale as it had a good bit of everything, I think it definitely deserves its place in the top 100 UK list and I reckon its quite harshly ranked on that also! Its a great golf club that is steeped with history so its definitely worth a visit if you get the chance.
Date: August 07, 2019