England’s Golf Coast, Part 2

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Formby Golf Club

I first played Formby in 2002, in the British Mid-Amateur Championship and my abiding memory of the course was how good the greens were.

So almost 20 years later, on my return visit, would the greens live up to that memory? The answer is a definite yes, they did!!

Formby, which was founded in 1884 and promotes itself as one of the world’s greatest links courses and it’s certainly a claim that they can back up. It is different from a traditional links as many of the holes are shaped by mature pine trees and it is surrounded by woodland.

The approach to the first green

It’s a championship golf course, especially from the back tees which stretch the course to over 7,000 yards. I remember back in 2002 that I hit a lot of fairway woods for 2nd shots, without much success so decided on this occasion to play off the yellow tees, which at just shy of 6,500 yards was a stiff enough test for my golf game.

The course was fast and running which allowed me to get reasonable distance off the tee but this also brought a lot of the fairway bunkers into play. I managed a couple of early birdies at the 4th and 5th holes although they only served to offset the early bogies……

The 7th hole

One of my favourite holes on the front 9 is the 7th. The fairway looks narrow from the tee but there is banking on both sides of the fairway that gives you some leeway if you are not too wide of the tee.

The view of the 7th from behind the green

Hit the fairway and you are left with an uphill, blind shot to an elevated green so do not be short, or it will run back down the hill. I managed to chip and putt for a par and walked off delighted!

That delight was short lived as I tried to cut the corner on the par 5 8th from the tee, all I can say is that it’s further than it looks….

The inward 9 holes are 300 yards shorter than the outward 9 but there is little respite. Whether you hit driver, 3 wood or long iron off the tees, you need to hit the fairway to give yourself the chance to go for the green.

The 12th hole

My two favourite holes on the back 9 are the 12th and 15th holes. Both play just under 400 yards from the yellow tees and again, being on the fairway leaves you a medium iron to both greens.

The approach to the 15th

Accuracy with your approach shot is paramount, especially on the 15th. The green is guarded by small dunes, both left and right and if you are slightly offline will snag up your ball and leave a tricky chip to a green that runs away from you. That the voice of experience speaking……

Before I went out on the course, I had really fond memories of my previous visit to Formby. Playing it again made me realise that, even if you don’t score well, Formby is a delight to play and the putting surfaces are excellent and were a reasonable pace, not something you can always say when playing links golf.

It’s a long time since I putted this well but when the surfaces are this pure, it certainly encourages you to be bold.

Formby, it’s always a pleasure and I will be back!!!!

At a glance:

  • Located 60 minutes from Manchester Airport and just 14 miles from Liverpool
  • A championship links to rival the Open courses nearby
  • Undulating fairways and fantastic greens
  • A must visit if you are in the area
  • Traditional UK golf club with loads of history
  • Learn more at https://www.formbygolfclub.co.uk

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