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England Courses

Formby Golf Club

North West England

Founded in 1884, Formby Golf Club is a parkland-style layout located northwest of Liverpool (famous hometown of The Beatles — John, Paul, George and Ringo). The original 18-hole layout was redesigned in 1912 by two-time British Open champion Willie Park Jr. and revised again in 1937 by H.S. Colt. Formby was the site of the British Amateur Championship in 1984 (won by Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal) and the Curtis Cup in 2004. It is also often used as a qualifying site for the British Open. Even though many of the holes here are tree-lined, Formby plays much like a links — with firm and fast greens and undulating fairways. And when the wind is up, this 7,024-yard tract (championship tees) can play pretty tough.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

North West England

Originally founded in 1889, the course was redesigned by Fred Hawtree and five-time British Open champion J.H. Taylor in 1932. Since then, Royal Birkdale has become one of England’s most famous championship courses. Ten British Opens, two British Amateurs, two Women’s British Opens, two Ryder Cup matches, one Walker Cup match and one Curtis Cup match have been held here. Like most links layouts, Royal Birkdale features fairways running through towering dunes. Unlike most links, though, the fairways here are flat. Plus, there are no blind shots to contend with — also quite uncommon for a links. The rough, however, is usually very deep, placing a premium on accuracy. Royal Birkdale measures 7,018 yards from the championship tees.

Royal Liverpool Golf Club

North West England

Historically known as “Hoylake”, Royal Liverpool is England’s second oldest golf club. Founded in 1869, the original nine holes here were expanded to 18 in 1871. Royal Liverpool was the site of the first British Amateur Championship in 1885 and the first Walker Cup match in 1921. In 2014, the British Open was held here for the twelfth time (its first was in 1897) and saw Rory Mcllroy claim Claret Jug. Bobby Jones claimed the Claret Jug at Hoylake in 1930, the year he won the “Grand Slam”. Partly due to its length (7,210 yards from the championship tees) and partly because of the strong wind that can blow here, Royal Liverpool is considered one of the most challenging links layouts in the world.

Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club

North West England

For a course that’s so highly respected around the world, Royal Lytham & St. Annes is rather unique for a number of reasons. It’s a links-style layout that is nowhere near the sea, it’s surrounded by beautiful brick homes, it’s within sight of an amusement park called “Pleasureland”, and its first hole is a 206-yard par three. The club’s original course was designed by George Lowe in 1897. In 1930, it was remodeled by English architects H.S. Colt and Charles Allison. Over the years, the British Open has been conducted at Royal Lytham & St. Annes eleven times. The first was in 1926 (won by Bobby Jones); the last was in 2012 (won by Ernie Els). At 6,905 yards from the championship tees, Royal Lytham is one of the shortest courses used for the Open.

Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club

North West England

Better known throughout England as “S & A”, Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club was organized in 1906. The club’s course, however, was not completed until 1923. It was designed by James Braid (five-time winner of the British Open) and laid out in an area of both dunes and heathland. In 1933 and 1937, S & A was the site of the Ryder Cup matches. Other prestigious events that have been conducted here include the British Amateur and the British Ladies Amateur, and it has been used as a qualifying site for the British Open on seven occasions. Like Lytham & St. Annes, S & A is not long by today’s standards (6,703 yards from the championship tees) and its first hole is a par three. Also like Lytham, S & A is a fine test of golf.