St Anne’s Old is better than I expected as I was told to avoid it. I scheduled the tee time to see the famous par three ninth and the tenth and eighteenth holes, which made up the original Royal Lytham & St. Annes before the club relocated. For the remaining fifteen holes I was told it was relatively nondescript. Yet the course was considered strong enough to host regional qualifying for The Open for five years, including 2022.
The course sits next to an airfield, open fields, some dull housing as well as the Blackpool amusement park far off in the distance. It is on a flat piece of land. We played it very dry so the course was firm and fast. The greens were in good shape.
The course is much better bunkered than I thought it would be be, although not consistently shaped or placed as well as the the more highly rated courses in area. There are several holes that add manufactured mounds to define the driving corridors.
I found all of the par 3’s to be interesting and several other holes were delightful. The fairways and course are mainly flat consistent with the surrounding landscape. There are nearly no trees. It is likely the flatness of the course, the lack of surrounding beauty, and many greens thar are uninspiring due to being flat that likely holds the course back from being more highly considered.
The routing returns one to the clubhouse after the ninth although the eighteenth requires one to cross in front of the tenth tee to return to the clubhouse. The one oddity of the course is that the four par 5’s are back to back at holes 5-6 and 17-18. One wonders if a better routing was available.
The course is a par 72 rated 74.5/143 from its blue tees at 6907 yards while the white tees are 6631 yards rated 73.1/138. I thought the ratings to be a bit high but my game occurred on a hot and low wind day.
1. Par 4 - 344. Longer hitters can reach this green from the tee. One cannot go left into the tall grass and mounds. There is a small valley fronting the green which is almost connected to the sixth green.
2. Par 4 - 410/399. Likely the most bunkered hole with thirteen including diagonal cross bunkers 40 yards from the green. The hole moves slightly right. The green is flat. With a more contoured green, this could be a memorable hole.
3. Par 3 -170. I very much liked this hole with its six bunkers including three diagonal bunkers short of the green. There is good contouring in the green surrounds. The green has good inner movement. Despite this hole being backdropped by bushes to block the road and unattractive housing on the left, it is a nice look at a hole with thoughtful bunkering.
4. Par 4 - 453/418. I liked this slight dogleg right with three fairway bunkers well placed. If the drive ends up with good length in the fairway, the hole is simple as the green is not much on the surface although the contouring in the green surrounds make the green complex more interesting. The back tee makes the drive significantly more challenging.
5. Par 5 - 565/539. While there are seven bunkers on this straight hole, they are not strategically placed to provide a meaningful defense. I liked the mounding on the left separating the fifth from the sixth. The green could be better as well as it is wide and flat before the green which is flat as well. There are small run offs at the green.
6. Par 5 - 563/529. This hole is a bit more interesting moving parallel the opposite way to the fifth. There is an early pond easily carried. A nice feature to the hole is the area slightly over halfway into the hole where there is a 50 yard area of a central bunker, grass bunkers, raised mounds. Bigger hitters going into this off the tee likely reduce their chance of reaching the greens in two. There is another pond off to the right just after this mounded area that should not be in play. There is decent contouring in the green surrounds but the green has no character.
7. Par 4 - 452/444. You reverse direction again other this hole is pointed left. There is a series of mounds and depressions down the left side. Shorter hitters will have to navigate the three cross bunkers about seventy yards short of the green. This green is distinguished by a grouping of small but ugly trees/bushes off the left back. The green is flat and needs better shaping.
8. Par 4 - 400/363. A slight dogleg right going the other direction back to the clubhouse. This hole features the same fairway mounding as the seventh, now on both sides. There is a series of mounds and bunkers as one nears the green. The green is slightly raised and humored with a taller mound off the back right.
9. Par 3 - 173/168. This is one of the most unique par 3’s I have played and I was fascinated by it. The green is long and thin set below the dunes on three sides by about twelve feet. A collection of four bunkers is before the green to prevent those trying to run a ball onto the green if the pin was in the front. There are two bunkers to either side although they stop halfway up the green as the green narrows even more. It s a visual feast and very fun to play as the dunes can bring a ball back onto the green.
10. Par 4 - 322/318. This hole plays slightly left with tall grass down the left side. Four bunkers are in the landing zone for most players. Longer hitters need to avoid the three cross bunkers coming in from the left as you get nearer to the green. This green has more movement as it is slightly crowned with a lower left section.
11. Par 4 - 367/348. There is not much noteworthy to this hole other than the green is thin.
12. Par 4 - 411. I liked twelve playing between mounds off the tee with the green set to the left. There are five bunkers near the green including three cross bunkers followed by bunkers on the front corner. The green complex has bushes close to the back left of the green.
13. Par 3 - 200. The two par 3’s on the back are the only two holes that go north -south on the course. This hole features five bunkers making up the green complex. Finally the course has an interesting green as this has a substantial four feet tier on the back half.
14. Par 4 - 375. A gentle dogleg left with eight bunkers before you reach the green. Another four bunkers await at the green which has slightly better movement.
15. Par 4 - 392/381. Seven bunkers front this green including the use for cross bunkers Set near the green again. The green is long and thin but flattish.
16. Par 3 - 176/171. A decent par 3 playing from an elevated tee to the south corner of the property. There is good mounding surrounding the green as well as seven bunkers. This s another crowned green.
17. Par 5 - 621/550. Two par 5’s return you to the clubhouse. The back tee makes this hole dangerous due to the out-of-bounds down the right. The left side has a combination of fairway bunkers and small mounds. The rear of the green is backstopped by small mounds. The green surface is disappointing.
18. Par 5 - 513/503. Out-of-bounds is down the right side. There is better mounding about 110 yards from the green. Six bunkers are before the green on lower ground. The green is on slightly higher green with some inner movement. It is an okay golf hole.
With much better green surfaces St Anne’s Old would be much better. I wished the routing had moved in different directions as well. But it serves as a decent round of golf for the seven- eight holes you will like.
Date: July 23, 2022