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
kev paterson
I have to say this course is a joy the greens fairways tees in immaculate condition. The green staff were the best i've seen, I would rate it far better than the overated next door neighbour Hillside, ps the new 12th is unbelievable
February 03, 2009
10 / 10
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lexo
February 03, 2009
Yes its good but are you rating 'the green staff' ? please do not knock Hillside it is rather special (try asking Greg Norman !) - sorry if this sounds harsh but the rankings give the answer as to which course is the better.
moreski
February 10, 2009
Can't wait to see the calendar produced by these amazing looking Green Staff...Seriously, this is a fantastic website for independent reviews. What would spoil it is a load of people posting one sided reviews, boasting about their own clubs (or for some bizzare reason, the appearance of club staff).
kev p
February 22, 2009
I am not a boasting member i just think people should look at the golf holes for golf holes and not the sand dunes and backdrop and the condition of the course. S and A was a different class to that of Hillside... that is my independent review.
Alex
November 27, 2009
Greg Norman Is correct about some of things he said but 2 ryder cups and qualifiers for the open every time the event is in the local area s and a is no slack. I would rate the local courses: 1)Formby 2)S and A 3)Hillside 4)West Lancs 5)Formby Hall
Martin
December 02, 2009
It appears we could go around in circles on the subject "our course is better than yours". The Southport area is blessed with fantastic courses, in which all of the high profile clubs are worth playing. They all offer something slightly different and while one may be better than another course, everyone is a must to play and will not disappoint and like me you will wish you could play these courses every week.
Ronan O'Driscoll
What a great course! I particularly loved the par 3 8th - i pulled out an 8-iron for a 140 yard shot to an elevated green and my caddy insisted I went with 5. I was still short! The 16th "grumblies" is a classic too. Great value -£45 winter rate. S&A reminded me of Formby - another gem. A great test of golf and a classic links course.
October 22, 2008
8 / 10
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J Barber
Excellent course and a good test. Unfortunately my first round was rather spoiled by a 4ball of members in front, who held me up the whole way and wouldn't let me play through, then had the audacity to complain that I took some practice putts whilst waiting for them to clear the tee.
October 17, 2008
8 / 10
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Antony Eden
What a fantastic golf course. Definately on par with its neighbours Birkdale, Hillside and Formby. Plenty of history having held 2 Ryder Cups and a lovely club house. The course is 6700 yards but it plays much longer. A true test of golf - stay out of the heather!!!
May 22, 2008
10 / 10
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Hugh
September 04, 2008
A good course but no way is S&A comparable with Birkdale and Hillside, they are in the league above S&A in my humble opinion.
Richard Smith
The linksland in the Southport area is probably unrivaled in the United Kingdom. Adjacent to each other sit Royal Birkdale, Hillside and Southport & Ainsdale, three tremendous courses that all deserve their high rankings and the praise they have received. S & A is a links experience that is pure joy. The par three first is quite a challenge, followed by a difficult par five with an uphill approach. From there the course winds through a fairly level property but the holes have just enough twists and turns to challenge any level of golfer. We played the par 5 16th Gumbley downwind, but I can't imagine the thought of playing the hole into the wind and having difficulty surmounting the huge bunkered walls in the middle of the fairway. The day was capped off with a pint in the very nice clubhouse that overlooks the course, and the members were warm, gracious and kind in every respect. I would love to play S & A again, and in fact it would be a perfect course to be a member if you lived in the area. Richard Smith, Knoxville Tennessee
December 13, 2007
10 / 10
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Edward Reyes
I think this course is fantastic and a great test of golf. There are some very tough holes that need a lot of thinking but it's great fun to play. Definately well worth playing.
July 10, 2007
8 / 10
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Alex
As we played 36 holes here yesterday the items that stick in my mind was that this course was subtle, it has clever bunkering locations and it makes you think. All to the good as do not go here expecting huge dunes, as the layout is really quite flat. The reception from the Pro was not great but it was not a problem for us to play off the whites (which does add to the length but also means on a few of the Par 4’s you have to angle your drive as the tees are offset to the fairway). The heather had a tinge of purple and if being truthful is best to be avoided, as it is tough to play from. Great paced greens with a tough starting hole, but the best hole is the 16th – Gumbley’s (which runs alongside the rail track with views across to Hillside GC). Enjoy the spacious clubhouse and have a look at the super photos / memorabilia of the past Ryder Cups. Also nice to play the course in its Centenary year !
August 04, 2006
8 / 10
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Billy
S&A is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining links course. It's certainly not long, but in a way, it's all the better for it...no way is it a pushover though. The greens are excellent and, on our trip, even better than Formby & Hillside. Very friendly place and the clubhouse extension (when finished) will add even more to the overall delight of Southport & Ainsdale.
August 22, 2004
8 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
S&A adds to the run of brilliant courses on this stretch of coast. Used for many high class competitions now and coupled with being the venue for two Ryder Cups in the 30's, this is no poor relation to the other 'bigger' names in the area. Good golf is rewarded and poor shots are punished - as a decent course should do. Deep bunkers surround most of the quality greens. Best hole for me, probably the par 5 16th, known as Gumbleys - best tip here is when you play your blind approach over the 'railway sleepers', aim further right than you think ! Could save a shot or two ! Hope to return soon ..
August 18, 2004
6 / 10
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Hugh
It may be a relative youngster, but it feels old fashioned to me. The par three opening hole is an absolute cracker. Not a long course but it's used as an Open Qualifier - well worth playing.
June 13, 2004
6 / 10
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jamie
June 22, 2007
i have played this course many times, well worth going to
Golf Guru
May 23, 2008
A relative youngster? it is over 100 years old!