Top 20 Golf Courses in Lancashire 2015
Lancashire Best in County rankings updated
With more than 140 golf clubs located in Lancashire, there’s absolutely no shortage of good golf courses to play in the Red Rose County. Pride of place goes to the dozen or so mainly links layouts that line the coastline between Bootle and Blackpool, where twenty Open championships have been held since 1926 at Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Of course, there’s a lot more to golf in Lancashire than the top tracks strung out along “England’s Golf Coast” so our Top 20 chart for this area features many of the inland venues that might otherwise get overlooked. As we’ve just concluded our biennial re-ranking exercise for this region, we’re now presenting the latest edition of our listings for this county.
Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham & St Annes remain at number 1 and number 2 in the new Top 20. And because both courses enjoy such a high profile in our World rankings, don’t expect to see either of them ousted from their current positions in the county chart anytime soon. The Open returns to Birkdale in 2017 and the Walker Cup was held very recently at Lytham St Annes, cementing the credentials of these two courses as top golfing venues.
Formby climbs one place to number 3, swapping position with Hillside in the revised county listings. Formby is set out with a 470-acre Site of Special Scientific Interest where a number of respected course architects have had a hand in its design. Hillside celebrated its centenary in 2011 and the course was extensively remodelled in the 1960s when Fred Hawtree fashioned a new back nine for the club.
The remaining places in the upper half of the Top 20 are as they were last time, except for the number 10 position which Ormskirk now occupies, having risen one spot from number 11. This fine 18-hole layout, designed by Harold Hilton in 1903, has undergone a couple of extensive reconstructions since it was first built, evolving into an engaging tree-lined parkland challenge.
Three other courses make upward moves in the county chart. The first of these is Manchester (up one to 12) which Harry Colt designed in 1912. Described by one reviewer as “a big, strong golf course” with “great greens, fast fairways and tough rough,” this 18-hole layout is set out on open moorland to the north of Manchester, where the wind is a constant factor.
The course at Formby Ladies Golf Club advances two places to number 13. Set in the centre of Formby Golf Club’s expansive property, this 18-hole layout extends to almost 5,400 yards, with golfers of both sexes permitted to play a very entertaining track. Opened as a 9-hole affair in 1896, the course was expanded to a full 18-hole configuration within twelve years of its inauguration so it’s been in play for over a century now.
The third and final chart climber is Lancaster (up three to 17), designed by James Braid in 1932, which is laid out close to the estuary of the River Lune. It’s actually the fourth course that the club’s used. Their original layout was formed in 1889, the second one was built in 1901 and the third 9-holer – now used by Lansil Golf Club – was established in 1905 before the club moved to its current location.
There’s only one new entry in the Top 20, with West Derby making way for Preston at number 20. The club dates back to 1892 but the layout is a 1923 redesign by James Braid, the most prolific course designer in the first half of the 20th century. Officially opened with an exhibition match between Abe Mitchell, Ted Ray, Arthur Havers and the architect, the course is famed locally for the excellence of its USGA-spec greens.
We’re grateful to everybody who helped with our re-ranking process for this region. To view details of all the courses in our Lancashire 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].
24 September 2015 Respond to this article