The 20 miles of coastline between the city of Liverpool and the town of Southport is Elysium for connoisseurs of the links.
Travelling north towards Southport and before you reach the great triumvirate of Hillside, Southport & Ainsdale and Royal Birkdale, you?ll find Formby Golf Club. It was founded in 1884 and the original course was constructed adhering to the architectural precedents set at St Andrews, Westward Ho! and West Lancashire. At the start of the 20th century, Willie Park was commissioned to redesign the course and his amendments are evidenced by the plans still hanging in the clubhouse. Over the years other notable designers have added their touches to the layout ? Braid, Taylor and Hawtree, among others.
Formby is something of a contradiction in terms. It?s a sheltered links. It?s unquestionably a links featuring fast-running fairways and greens, deep bunkers and imposing sand hills. But as the course is set a little below the level of the dunes and pine trees line many of the holes, it feels a very secluded and peaceful place to play.
It?s a fabulous, varied and challenging course that demands accuracy from the tee and a deft touch around the greens. The finish requires particular concentration and it?s not unusual to have evidence of sandy turf on the face of every club in the bag by the time you walk off the 18th.
Local Final Qualifying took place here before last year?s Open Championship at Hoylake and Formby?s own professional Jim Payne came through the 36-hole test.
In 2009 Formby will be the venue for the Amateur Championship. Last time the competition was held at the Lancashire links an 18-year-old
José Maria Olazábal beat a 20-year-old Scot called Colin Montgomerie 5&4 in the final.
address: Golf Road, Formby, L37 1LQ
t: 01704 872164
stats: par 72, SSS 74, 7,028 yards
gf: £90wd per day, £100we per day
GM TOP 120 RANKING: 43