Top 20 Golf Courses in Cheshire 2015
Cheshire Best in County rankings updated
Cheshire’s geographical extent is a little smaller than the region we've defined because we align our coverage of this county with the Cheshire Golf Union, which historically includes clubs located in the nearby conurbations of the Wirral and Manchester.
Nowadays, there are more than a hundred clubs attached to the male golf union and female golf association in Cheshire. Together, these two governing bodies represent tens of thousands of amateur men and women in the county, with both authorities also operating separate sections for junior and senior golfers.
We maintain a Top 20 ranking list for golf courses in the region so, following a recent exercise to reappraise the relative merits of these layouts, we’d now like to present the latest edition of our revised Cheshire chart, where the top six positions remain exactly as they were two years ago.
That means Royal Liverpool is still our number 1 course in Cheshire. Host to a dozen Open Championships since 1897, this world-class links is a demanding test, as intimated recently by one reviewer: “It can be flat at times with little definition to the holes. But that itself provides its own challenge. Depth perception is very difficult … strategy and trust to hit your lines is paramount”.
Hard on the heels of Hoylake, the old Herbert Fowler-designed course at Delamere Forest is at number 2 in our county listing. The club celebrated its centenary in 2010 and has since engaged architects McKenzie & Ebert to redesign many of the bunkers on the layout and extend some of the tee boxes to keep pace with modern golfing demands.
Wallasey, just pipped for the runner up slot, occupies the number 3 position in the Cheshire Top 20. Old Tom Morris originally laid out the links in 1891 but it’s undergone a number of significant redesigns since then, starting with Alex Herd and Alex Hilton at the start of the 20th century. James Braid, Fred Hawtree and J.H. Taylor all carried out work there in the 1920s and 30s, with Donald Steel also contributing three new holes a decade ago.
At number 4, Sandiway is a lovely old Ted Ray design which was subsequently altered by Harry Colt in the 1920s then by Fred Hawtree in the 1950s. Located just off the Northwich bypass, it’s an unassuming track with tree-lined fairways routed around a beautiful heathland landscape.
Prestbury at number 5 was set out by Harry Colt in the early 1920s and it’s situated around a mile from Macclesfield, where fairways weave across a 140-acre sand-based, free-draining parkland landscape.
The last of our non-movers at the top of the table is Stockport at number 6, which Sandy Herd designed in 1905, three years after he won the Open, and he was joined by the Great Triumvirate of Vardon, Braid and Taylor in an exhibition match to mark the official opening of the course.
Three courses make upward moves in the top half of the chart: Wilmslow (up one to 7) has been in play since 1903 when the club moved to its present site, Dunham Forest (up four to 8), which is laid out within the Earl of Stamford’s woodland estate, and Mere (up five to 9), a James Braid design that first opened in 1934.
Further down the listings, the Harry Colt-designed course at Ringway moves up two places to number 13, Alister MacKenzie’s layout at Reddish Vale climbs three spots to number 15 and both the Cheshire course at Carden Park and the 18 holes at Bramall Park rise one position to number 18 and number 19, respectively.
Finally, there’s only one newcomer to the new Cheshire standings and it’s Mottram Hall, where this impressive golf resort is now operated by QHotels. Set within a magnificent 270-acre estate, the course hosted the PGA Seniors Championship on the European Senior Tour in 2013, when Paul Wesselingh won the event by four shots with a 20 under par total score.
We’re grateful to everybody in the county who helped with our re-ranking process for Cheshire. To view details of all the courses in our Cheshire Top 20 rankings click the link. If you have extensive experience of playing across the northwest region of England and would like to contribute to our next re-ranking exercise then please email Editor-in-Chief Keith Baxter at [email protected].
19 September 2015 Respond to this article