Southport & Ainsdale - Lancashire - England

Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club,
Bradshaws Lane,
Ainsdale,
Southport,
Merseyside,
PR8 3LG,
England


  • +44 (0) 1704 578000


Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club hosted the 1933 and 1937 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Great Britain. Team Captains in 1933 were Walter Hagen (US) and J.H. Taylor (GB). It was an exciting contest in 1933, which went down to the very last match between Easterbrook and Shute and it turned out to be a putting contest on the final green. Shute had a four-footer for the USA to retain the Ryder Cup, but he missed. GB 6 ½ - USA 5 ½. The 1935 Ryder Cup was played at Ridgewood.

Team Captains in 1937 were Ben Hogan (US) and Henry Cotton (GB). Despite unpleasant weather, the first US victory was achieved on British soil thanks to fine performances from rookies Byron Nelson and Ed Dudley. USA 8 - GB 4. After a 10-year gap due to World War II, the next Ryder Cup was played at Portland in 1947.

Only the Belfry has hosted more home soil Ryder Cups than Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club. But everybody flocks to play S&A’s royal neighbour, Birkdale. If only they knew what they were missing a couple of miles down the road.

Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club was originally founded in 1907 with George Lowe laying out the first course. At that time, golf was played across a stretch of links land between the railway line and the main Liverpool road. In 1922, the council decided to build another road into Southport and they decided to route it across the links, splitting the course in two. Fortunately, some new land was identified and James Braid, the greatest golf course revisionist of all time, was called in to sort things out. By 1924, Braid had built six new holes and updated the remaining twelve.

So, in the scheme of things, Southport & Ainsdale is a relative youngster and it is set amongst exhilarating dunes and tangly heather. S&A has a very natural feel to the layout, although it is somewhat old-fashioned with some blind drives and obscured approach shots. This is not your traditional out-and-back layout. In broad terms, the course is laid out in two loops, with holes 2 through to 6 forming the inner loop. The fairways wind their way through gaps and valleys between the dunes and many of the greens are raised on tricky-to-hold plateaux. S&A is a serious golfing test, the layout measures over 6,800 from the back tees with par set at 72 and from the yellow tees, the length drops to 6,396 yards, but the par also drops down to 71.

Gumbley's bunker - photo by Alex SherrattThere are many memorable holes at S&A and the 8th is a bunkerless par three, measuring 157 yards. The green is sited on a raised table and only the best tee shot will stay on the putting surface. The 16th, measuring 506 yards, plays directly into the prevailing wind and when the wind’s up, three solid strikes will be required to reach the green. The hole is called “Gumbley’s” and it has a fine example of a sleeper-faced bunker. It’s a monster, set into the face of a large, tussocky sand ridge. Avoid this one like the plague.

Southport & Ainsdale has hosted many important amateur events over the years and the good old Dunlop Southport and Swallow Penfold professional competitions were held here in the 1940s and 1950s with Max Faulkner, Fred Daly and Christy O’Connor emerging victorious. But S&A will be remembered for the 1933 and 1937 Ryder Cups. Britain won in 1933, but 1937 heralded the first American Ryder Cup victory on British soil, but it wasn’t their last because the USA retained the Ryder Cup for the next 20 years.

Marc Westenborg was engaged by the club in 2018 to improve the aesthetics on the closing hole through the installation of dunes to screen the fairway from the driving range and the removal of weed trees from around the tee complex. Material for the new dunes came from “slabbing” blocks of marram grass from elsewhere on the course, affording the work an immediate mature look.

In addition, bunkers were removed from the 1st, 17th and 18th greens as part of an overall plan to reduce the number of sand hazards around the course.

Southport & Ainsdale should be played not only from a historic perspective but because this is a very natural and challenging links course, one of Braid’s finest seaside examples. It stands up remarkably well against its regal neighbours.

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Reviews for Southport & Ainsdale

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Description: Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club is a relative youngster and it is set amongst exhilarating dunes and tangly heather. Rating: 8.1 out of 10 Reviews: 30
TaylorMade
David Oliver

Very little to choose between S & A that makes the Top 100 list and Formby and West Lancs that do not reflecting the increasing competitiveness as new courses are built and older courses upgrading. More in the Hillside, Formby bracket with a mix of landscape design part links, part parkland, part heath. Favourite holes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 14 and the epic 16th.

April 18, 2017
8 / 10
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PNW
Played S&A in June 2013 in one of the Open competitions – at £55 each, which included refreshments, it is fantastic value.Unlike many of the top rated clubs (S&A is 46th in England), the welcome here is fantastic from ALL the staff, especially the starter who was really helpful with a few tips. We were all category 2 or 3 handicappers, so thought we might find the course a bit tough. But the course is a really fair test of golf with accuracy rewarded – keep it straight and many of the greens are reachable with mid/short irons.There are some great holes: 1st is a tough par 3 with lots of punishing pot bunkers; 3rd has a great elevated tee, 4th short but looks fantastic off the tee with bunkers everywhere, then 15, 16, 17 & 18 are a great finish.This part of the word has some fantastic courses along a short stretch of coast. Having played them all, I would rank this course equal 2nd (1. Birkdale, 2.=S&A/Hillside, 4. Formby, 5. West Lancs). Hillside has a great back nine, but the front nine is weak and the overall golf experience not as good.We had a drink outside with some members at the end of the round who could not have been friendlier.Look forward to playing here again, even if we have to pay the full green fee. Birkdale is awesome – get a few mates together, pop £20 a month away, and treat yourself to an S&A/Birkdale double with a night over in Southport!
February 04, 2014
10 / 10
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Kevan Voce
Played this for the second time end of April (first in 2000) and I must say it was a lot better than I remembered. I’ve played all the courses in this great golfing neck of the woods and it is well worth a visit. It isn’t as tough as Birkdale or Hillside’s back 9 but is certainly on a par with West Lancs and Formby. There are a couple of blind shots (6th drive & 16th second shot to a Par 5) but that’s no bad thing. All the holes are different and I can picture most in my mind now (an acid test of a good course). I particularly loved the stretch 3 to 9 all great holes – with 4 being my favourite. The 10th probably the only weak hole but that’s probably because I 3-stabbed. The short 8th is also terrific. On balance I would say Hillside has the edge but only because of the back nine – both S&A nines being better than Hillside’s front. It was my father’s 80th birthday treat and he had a great day. Lovely clubhouse, great food and very friendly locals – plenty of cheeky scousers in the bar and we even got some inside gossip on “King Kenny”.
April 25, 2012
8 / 10
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Will
I played here in the summer, 36 holes in a day.I have to say, because it was only my second experience of links golf, and I played straight after seing the RICOH women's british open at Birkdale, I was impressed by this course. A true test of golf, the premium on deadly accuracy, seeing as though some of the landing areas on 440 yard par 4s is about 15 yards wide at most, so the course plays extremely long if you are playing safely off the tee.It was in excellent condition, the bunkers were deep however fair, and the greens were fast, and they double cut them the next week when I played the junior open there so they were even faster.This WILL be one of the hardest ourses you will play, a god example being the 17th, a very long par 4 off an elevated tee. I am relatively ling, however I was struggling to reach with a driver and 4 iron into the wind.It was great value, too, a practice 'day' for a junior was £15, and for my uncle i think £60, and it looked every bit as good as Birkdale. Highly recommended (I say this even though I didn't break 85 off a 6 handicap, playing reltively well)
October 18, 2010
10 / 10
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Russell Lambert
S&A is a very nice course, no.3 in a town full of great golf. Not as good as Birkdale or Hillside, but still very good, would have it just behind West Lancs in my rankings. Not too many blind shots, as another review suggests, but the 6th and 18th tee shots are a bit of a lottery for a first timer. The 16th is the most famous hole but for me, best hole is the 5th, a difficult par 4 played between two dunes to a pretty green framed by pine trees.Would definitely go back, it's pretty good value for money.
May 09, 2010
8 / 10
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Paul
Afraid that I disagree with most reviews. My main problem is the number of blind shots that mean you don't really know where to aim. We were held up and it was very slow, called the pro shop but they were unable to get a marshall out. If you play there regularly probably fine and may be one that you need to play a few times. I think that Hillside is better, and Formby is better still. As a true links go to West Lancs. The greens at S&A are great, and general condition great, but too many blind shots.
September 25, 2009
4 / 10
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Pete Sanderson
Good course! not as good as Hillside and more parkland but greens are great and rough is more forgiving which helps to play a little easier which helps! very friendly and welcoming well reccommended!
August 12, 2009
10 / 10
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Christian Abrahamsen
Challenging course which is well-bunkered throughout to catch anything but the straightest of shots. I enjoyed playing it despite wind and rain, which proved to be too tough a test.
May 18, 2009
6 / 10
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Vorndron
Very good golf venue. Very fair course with a very strong finish. Excellent clubhouse and very helpful staff. A must play if on the west lancashire coast.
March 05, 2009
8 / 10
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gary
I played Southport & Ainsdale and Hillside and also West Lancs in the summer and by far the best golf course was S&A the greens where truely unbeliveable. I ve been playing golf for 30 years and i never played at a course that was so good i would tell everyone to go and play there.
February 04, 2009
10 / 10
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Response
kev p
February 04, 2009
What a great review try telling lexo whose been brainwashed by the 1980s greg norman letter in which he does'nt seem to mention the dull front 9 at Hillside
lexo
February 05, 2009
sorry i am not ''brainwashed'' - i have plyed both courses and i rate Hillside over s+a, check any of the magazine course rankings and hillside has the edge. my s+a review is listed below 11 july 2007 ''as we played .....'' not a bad word mentioned is there ? i do rate the course but it just does not have towering dunes and the few stunning holes that hillside does (i even prefer Formby + West Lancs over s+a but these are just my thoughts, i still rate s+a and it is quite rightly a joy to play)