An area so rich in great courses that it markets itself as 'England’s Golf Coast'

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The Best Golf Courses In Lancashire

Lancashire is home to ‘England’s Golf Coast’ containing some of the UK and Ireland’s very best links courses.

It features two Open Championship venues – Royal Birkdale, and Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Other highlights include Hillside, next door to Birkdale and host to the 2019 British Masters, Formby, Southport and Ainsdale, West Lancashire and much more.

Related: Top 100 Golf Courses UK and Ireland

Below we look at some of Lancashire’s best golf courses…

The Best Golf Courses In Lancashire:

Hillside

Hillside 17th IMG_5201

The back nine at Hillside takes you on a roller coaster ride through the dunes

To a degree, Hillside is a game of two halves, for despite an excellent front nine, there’s no doubt that the wow factor increases from the 10th, a tough uphill par 3 to a green surrounded by banks, bunkers and pines.

From here the course takes on the dramatic demeanour of a modern Irish links with towering dunes and elevated tees providing a thrill-a-minute ride through some of the finest holes you’ll play.

The course ranks 30th in the current Golf Monthly Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland and is the venue for the 2019 British Masters hosted by Tommy Fleetwood.

Southport and Ainsdale (S&A)

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The well-protected green on the long opening par 3 at S&A

The 1st, like Royal Lytham’s, is a none-too-easy par 3 stoutly defended by no fewer than nine bunkers, and at 204 yards off the backs there must be days when it is almost a driver.

A good and varied stretch follows from five to seven comprising a narrow par-4 enticing you down the left when the pin is on the right, a short blind par-4 where finding the line is tricky, and a monster par-4 off the yellows with a wasp’s waist of a fairway.

Southport and Ainsdale ranks 66th in our current Top 100.

West Lancashire

West Lancs 1

West Lancs – one of our most natural, and sometimes toughest, links courses

West Lancs is one of the 10 oldest clubs in England, and for many, one of its 10 toughest too!

It sets its stall out from the start with a long, challenging opener and a number of holes that test your shot-making skills to the full.

Like S&A, West Lancs has a run from seven to nine where line off the tee is crucial, but it’s hard to resist really opening your shoulders on the elevated 13th tee with everything spread invitingly below you.

The course has hosted regional Open qualifying and ranks 78th in our Top 100.

Royal Birkdale

Royal Birkdale

Looking across the 18th green towards Birkdale’s distinctive white art deco clubhouse

This wonderful links wends this way and that over a tough opening stretch, with the 1st undoubtedly one of the toughest holes on the links.

The holes play along valleys with several green complexes nestling amphitheatre-like at the foot of tall dunes.

Birkdale boasts a strong cast of par 3s with the 12th perhaps the pick of the bunch, playing over a marshy area to a false-fronted green protected by deep bunkers right and left.

It has hosted 10 Open Championships, most recently in 2017, and is 8th in our Top 100, the highest-ranked Lancashire course.

Formby

Formby 16th revised

Formby

Formby is predominantly a links, but the presence of mature pines and heather gives a hint of heathland.

The club is just south of the trio of Birkdale, Hillside and S&A along the train line and more than matches those three.

Founded in 1884, the original course at Formby was redesigned by Willie Park at the start of the 20th century.

With the pines framing fairways and greens, this is arguably the most attractive course in the north west.

It currently ranks 39th in our Top 100.

St Annes Old Links

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The long narrow green on the par-3 9th hole at St Annes Old Links

St Annes is a very fine links, where it would be hard to pick out any one hole, though the club promotes the 9th as its signature hole – a modest-length par 3 to a heavily bunkered punchbowl green that’s a full 46 yards long from front to back.

But the par 3s at the far end of the course – the 13th and 15th – are of equal merit, along with several other holes.

Royal Lytham and St Annes

Royal Lytham & St Annes

Looking up Lytham’s closing hole where Adam Scott came a cropper in 2012

Royal Lytham is probably England’s Carnoustie – not the most scenic of surroundings, land-locked as it is by houses, but a genuine test of your game that rises to a crescendo down the stretch.

The par 3 1st and long 2nd and 3rd holes can all be real brutes into the wind, but the closing sextet of par 4s, including some of the toughest on the course in the 15th and 17th, is where you will probably be most fully tested.

Even here there is sometimes a little respite to be found in the shorter 13th and 16th holes.

It ranks 11th in our Top 100.

Pleasington

The lovely short 8th at the far end of the course

Situated just to the west of the industrial town of Blackburn in Lancashire, Pleasington is a delightful parkland course.

The course really gets going from the 4th tee which is an outstanding dogleg left par-4 down towards the railway, followed by the par-5 next which comes with some great views of the valleys beyond.

At the far end of the course, the 8th is a lovely short hole with the delightfully named and very pretty hamlet of Hoghton Bottoms to the right.

There is a thrilling drive from the elevated 14th tee and a delightful short hole to an arbour green two holes later.

Manchester

The beautiful par-3 4th

Manchester Golf Club is blessed with a wonderful Harry Colt course that sprawls over a glorious expanse of gently undulating countryside.

Not far from  the coastline that boasts several Golf Monthly Top 100 Courses in this list, the lovely inland setting provides an excellent alternative to the county’s historic links.

Fairhaven

Fairhaven seen during a PGA Lombard Trophy North Qualifier. (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

The inland links at Fairhaven is just down the road from Royal Lytham and St Annes and St Annes Old Links and has been a regional Open qualifying venue.

It also hosted the 2012 Junior Open Championship.

Fairhaven is an old club, founded in 1895 and the course was laid out by James Braid and J.A Steer.

It plays as a links but is also lined with trees and heather in what is a beautiful aesthetic course.

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