Hall Road West,
L23 8SZ ,
- +44 (0)151 924 1076
9 miles north of Liverpool.
Weekdays only, not before 9.30am
West Lancashire Golf Club is the oldest surviving golf club in Lancashire, although, strictly speaking, Blundellsands is now part of the borough of Merseyside. In 1901, Harold Hilton, one of the finest amateur golfers of all time, was the Secretary of West Lancashire Golf Club. That same year, he won the British Amateur Championship at St Andrews, beating J Low by one hole. Hilton was also the British Open champion in 1892 and 1897, a feat only surpassed by Bobby Jones, who won the British Open on three occasions, also as an amateur.
The club was founded in 1873. The course was originally designed by the hands of an unknown architect, but this is such a natural links that we suspect Mother Nature did most of the work. We do know that Ken Cotton and Fred Hawtree made significant revisions to the layout in the early 1960s.
Its esteemed Royal neighbours keep West Lancs out of the limelight but it is a truly classical links course, located on a charming stretch of prime links land. On a clear day, to the north, Blackpool Tower can be seen in the distance. To the southwest, there are panoramic views across the Crosby Channel to the Birkenhead peninsula and Liverpool Bay beyond.
James Finnegan, in his book All Courses Great and Small, articulately sums up the characteristics of West Lancs: “On the 355-yard 13th, we fire away from an elevated tee, the fairway curving left along a dune-framed valley to a green on a cunning low plateau. The next hole, 412 yards, also begins on a high tee in the sandhills, but this time the downhill drive is blind, over a ridge, and the fairway bends sweepingly right, around a thick stand of pines, finally disclosing a raised green tucked in the lee of a wooded hillside.”
The Guinness Book of Golf Facts and Feats tells the amazing story of Peter Richard Parkinson who, on 6th June 1972, at West Lancs, performed the British Isles’ longest hole in one. It was on the 7th hole, and clearly it was a mistake because the 7th is called “Folly”, a 393-yard par four. Either way, it was one hell of a biff!
Stuart King commented on James Finnegan’s description as follows: “I have been a member at West Lancashire for over 40 years and never seen the 14th tee that is reported as being in the sandhills!”
West Lancashire may be the oldest club in the county, dating back to 1873, but the present course has only been in use since 1960. There are two circles of nine holes with the front nine, in particular, having a somewhat natural, wild feel to them (very like parts of Ballyliffin Old course in places).
The 13th through 15th holes though have a very parkland ambiance (and our three ball of visiting golfers felt the blind tee shot at the 14th was unfair without a marker post to indicate the line of play). The prevailing wind was directly in our faces over the last four holes which made for a difficult finish in front of a clubhouse that looked very dated from outside (we never did get inside to find out what the interior looked like).
Pro shop staff were very helpful in letting us on the course early in front of a bus load of ladies who arrived in a coach for a visitors day out. I’m sure that they, like us, would have enjoyed their time on this tough little cookie.