If you are venturing to the Merseyside area for the Ricoh Women’s Open Golf competition later this year, you might also be considering a game or two yourself at one of the many golf courses that fill the area. The Royal Birkdale course itself is neighboured by Hillside and Southport and Ainsdale golf clubs and within a few miles you have two more Southport clubs, four courses at two clubs in nearby Formby, a couple of clubs in Ormskirk and that is without looking further away to Preston, Kirkby, Crosby and so on.
But if you maybe do not want to venture to one of these main high class clubs, what are the pay and play options on offer? We will look at a few of the options here!
Not too far away from Birkdale, easily accessible by car, is the famous Aintree race course. Within the ‘country’ half of the course as it is known (that is the area over the Melling Road furthest away from the grandstands) lies a motor racing track and within that a truly excellent 9-hole golf course. It is a course I have played several times and am hoping to play again in the next couple of weeks. Turn up and play or if you are travelling, check their website for the telephone number and book in advance, just in case they are closed due to a horse or motor racing event!
The course, when first built, held the record for the longest holes in a 9-hole course in the UK. No one seems to known whether this is still the case, but at around 550 yards plus, the first and the ninth holes are long and excellent fun! Not all of the holes are this long and there are a few par three holes to ease the game.
But out of the memorable holes, this course has a few, but what could be more so than playing the ninth hole towards the grandstands of the race course? An excellent distraction as you are playing.
Nearer to the action in Royal Birkdale is the Southport Links, which is the Southport municipal course. Do not be put off by the municipal tag, it is an excellent course, in good standing and a trial to play with the third hole another long Merseyside hole of longer than 550 yards. The blind shot over the bunker on the fourth hole is a challenge and a half, you will see what I mean when you approach a bunker that must be 20 feet high! The rest of the first 9 are interesting holes, although the back 9 are a little up and down in places, over some very long par 4s.
For the not so serious there are a few other courses that are par 3s in the area, including Tarleton and the Formby Driving Centre, as well as a pitch and putt at Ocean Plaza in Southport. If you feel like hitting a ball or two, there are plenty of option.