West Lancs is a beautifully pristine links, in the brilliant condition that you’d expect of an Open venue so it’s no wonder this place is often used for final qualifying. Routed with two loops of nine, this is a strong and true test of links golf where closely mown run-off areas are combined with thick rough to keep the examination tough and proper. Combine that with views out to the Liverpool Docks, the hills of North Wales and Gormley’s statues on the beach adjacent to the opening holes, and West Lancs has some great ingredients.
If you like your links golf unfussy and in front of you, then West Lancs is a course that you’ll thoroughly enjoy. Personally, I favour courses with quirk and character, and as good a course as this is, I felt West Lancs a little lacking in this department. There are no particular stand out or memorable holes, but instead it’s a series of strong holes, one after the other. If I was to name some of the more noteworthy, the 2nd with a centre line bunker in play from the tee and a sneaky pot bunker behind a dune before a slightly hidden green had some interesting traps up its sleeve. The 7th, a short par four with a grouping of bunkers protecting the corner of the dogleg was another of the picks from the front nine.
If we’re talking charm and character, I felt that the back nine had the edge over the front. A lovely mid-length Birkdale-esque par three at the 12th is followed by the excellent 13th, played from a raised tee box to raised green, with a view of the sea in the distance and a depressed dogleg fairway in between, this was the middle of my favourite stretch of holes through the course. A change of scenery follows at 14 and 15 as trees come into play, the first hole of these being long and blind and the other short and tight, both making good, strategic holes.
Overall West Lancs provides a good day out and is a hearty, genuine links but it’s probably a level below some of the other top class courses in this golf-rich region.
Date: August 11, 2019