Review for West Lancashire

Reviewer Score:


West Lancashire is a fine links golf course, not quite at the level as many of the other courses nearby perhaps due to having fewer distinctive land features. The course is essentially flat with a few holes on the back incorporating trees. What I most admired about the course is many interesting green complexes, particularly the use of narrow channels/swales set about three feet below the edges of the greens as opposed to using sand bunkers.

The course is relatively consistent in look and feel and plays firm and fast. It is a very natural looking course. Two holes have trees which I believe half of which should be removed. The final hole has a pond very much in play which is out of character to the rest of the course. We played it on a low wind day. As the course sits close to the sea, it is more likely that winds can be a primary influence on the day’s play.

There is a restrained use of bunkers on the course, but where used they are well placed. None of the bunkers are overly deep but if one is near the face of them, they will likely drop a shot.

The majority of the green surfaces are flat and lack sufficient contouring. One would not have to do much to make them more interesting, simply raise or lower some areas by 3-4 inches, create some plateaus and hollows.

It begins with a good starting hole, a longer dogleg right of 428 yards with three inner corner bunkers on this dogleg right. The green features three bunkers with the early right front bunker the bigger danger.

The dogleg right par 5 second features two center-line bunkers off the tee and a single central bunker near the green. The green is placed off to the right where smaller dunes make the view of the flag more difficult if coming in from the right. For better players this is a short par 5 at only 513 yards.

I really liked the par 3 third at 154 yards with it’s two front bunkers and two on the right side. The left side features the grass channel down the entirety of the left side. The green is sloped to the back and to the right with good inner movement.

The fourth is shaped like the second, only this time as a long par 4 of 449 yards instead of a par 5. Out of bounds is down the left and the right side features a large valley. The entrance to the green is better from the left side of this sharp dogleg right with a narrow opening. There are various small mounds and depressions fronting the green which sits exposed surrounded by short grass. It is a good hole.

You turn back to the clubhouse for the next hole. Five is a short dogleg left par 5 of 511 yards with three fairway bunkers followed by five bunkers that make up the green complex. There are higher dunes down the left of the fairway. It is a challenging drive as the fairway narrows at the point of three bunkers. The green is one of the more undulating greens on the course although not overly difficult. It is defended by four bunkers of which three are on the left. A final bunker is on the right short of the green. I think this hole plays easier for shorter hitters who do not have to make a decision off the tee or on the second shot.

The sixth is a mid-length par 3 well defended at the front with three bunkers and run-offs on all sides. There is not anything unique regarding the hole but it is a solid hole.

Seven is a short par 4 dogleg right with four inner corner bunkers. There are no bunkers at the green although this is a substantial sharper fall-off of the left and rear. Like the fifth, I think this hole is more difficult for longer, better players who want to try to cut the dogleg while shorter hitters do not consider this option.

I liked eight which is a dogleg left playing away from the taller dunes down the left side and inside the mound on the right. This is one of the more interesting green complexes on the course with mid-sized dunes down the left and rear on this long green requiring one-two extra clubs depending on hole location.

Despite the blind tee shot I did not think much of the mid-length par 4 ninth which is a dogleg left and lacking definition.

Ten is a par 4 moving away from the clubhouse with three fairway bunkers for the shorter players and two more farther down for the longer players. The green is flat with a single deep pot both on the right. It is a hole merely to start the back nine.

I liked the eleventh, a longer par 5 with four well placed bunkers for the tee shot including a central bunker. Further up are three more bunkers down the left that come diagonally into the fairway. The railway line serves as out-of-bounds down the right side.

Twelve is the best par 3 on the course playing from an elevated tee across a valley to a green placed on higher ground with a sharp fall-off at the front and rises behind the green. The green is also fronted by two deep bunkers. The left side of the green is very shallow and sloped down. This would be a good hole on any course.

Thirteen is a gem from the back tee but not quite as good from the forward tee. The tees are elevated playing to lower ground on this par 4 dogleg left. There are three inner corner bunkers as well as a mound down the left. You must clear the corner to have a view of the green. The green has a substantial fall-off in a semi-circle around three sides. For me this is the most memorable hole on the golf course.

Fourteen is a fun hole as a sharp dogleg right with the green tucked on higher ground off on the right. Trees are down the right side as well as an inner corner bunker. If one hits a tee shot too far and straight they will go into a ditch, yet one must hit far enough to clear the corner to have a view of the green. If too short off the tee the smart play is to hit a positional shot to see the green. The green is raised with a sharp fall-off front and left. It is likely the hardest approach shot on the course. For us it was our second favorite hole on the course.

Fifteen is a short hole that feels like sharp dogleg right par 4 with trees going down the right. Yet the green sits back to the left. The tee shot needs to take on out-of-bounds wall down the left side that fronts the railway line.. Two bunkers bracket the front of the green with higher dunes surrounding three sides. The green is sloped left. Others liked the hole, I thought it was merely okay.

The mid-length par 5 sixteenth left me wanting more. For shorter hitters the set of bunkers for the second shot are the bigger danger. Otherwise, this hole is straightforward.

Seventeen is a mid-length par 3 except from the back tee at 196 yards. While three pot bunkers guard the green, it needs a more interesting green surface.

Eighteen is a par 4 of medium length where the tee shot needs to be placed between the two bunkers left and the hidden pond down the right. It has a decently contoured green awaiting the player.

West Lancashire is an enjoyable course that can be admired by players of all abilities. It offers enough challenge for the longer, better players as well as interesting greens and strategic bunkering for the lesser, more average index player. The course is well routed. I suspect the members are quite pleased with their course even if it sits in the shades of nearby courses that are more well known. If it wants to rise in the rankings, it would require more interesting green surfaces to create more memorable holes.

Date: July 26, 2022

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