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Why The North West is The Best For Golf in England

By: Golfshake Editor | Thu 14 Apr 2022

With over 2,000 golf courses in England, you’re never too far from your next round. However, when you’re thinking of putting a trip together, the chances are that you’re going to want more than one great course to play. Several regions can put forward valiant claims for being considered amongst the premier golfing destinations in the country, notably Sandwich & Deal, and the courses around the Surrey heathland. However, let us lay out the case for why the North West might be the best area for golf in England.

Open Pedigree

Royal Lytham

Where else would we start than with the three Open Championship venues of Royal Lytham, Royal Birkdale, and Royal Liverpool? These layouts have been mainstays of the Open rota for decades, and each have their own iconic memories which are etched in the minds of golfers. Take Royal Lytham - with Seve from the car park, Woosie on the 2nd tee, or Adam Scott’s collapse. Or Royal Birkdale - with Seve (again) chipping to 18, Harrington’s fabulous finish, or Spieth from the driving range. And of course Royal Liverpool, with Rory’s masterclass, Tiger hitting irons EVERYWHERE, or Sergio in the yellow Sunday outfit (OK, most of us tried to forget that one …). The courses are just truly special, and must-plays for every golfer during their lifetime. You’ll struggle to find a tougher, yet more inspiring trio of tracks anywhere in the UK.

The Top 100 Stalwarts


Away from the ‘big three’, the North West still packs a heavier punch than most other regions of the country. Hillside is often said to feature one of the best back nines in the country, and a recent renovation to the front side only adds to the quality here. Formby Golf Club is a unique facility, with a start that winds through trees before heading out towards the water with a more links-like feel around the turn. It also features the splendid Formby Ladies within its grounds, a perfect addition to any trip to the area. The Open qualifying venues at both West Lancashire and Fairhaven also boast a great deal of quality and would have strong claims for being the best courses in the county if situated elsewhere in the country. Needless to say, all of these a regular frequenters of England’s Top 100 rankings.

The ‘No-Longer’ Hidden Gems

St Annes Old Links

It used to be the case that some of the North West’s other courses flew slightly under the radar. The likes of Wallasey, St Anne’s Old Links, and Southport & Ainsdale were generally enjoyed by locals for the most part, with some of the bigger names mentioned above attracting most of the visitor traffic. However, the internet has helped awareness for these fantastic courses grow exponentially, with positive reviews from the layouts reaching more golfers than ever before. At the same time, many of the trophy courses have nudged up their green fees, meaning golfers are now perhaps forgoing a round at one of the Open courses for an equally enjoyable (and slightly more affordable) knock at some of these more previously-hidden golf clubs.

If you’re in the region, make sure to check out Wallasey in particular, with the 18th hole featuring one of the most interesting fairways in golf! Additionally, the course was the home of Dr Frank Stableford, who gave his name to the method of scoring that most of us play each weekend - as such, the club is also steeped in history!

The Mix of Layouts


The quality golf isn’t limited to the coastline in the North West, with inland layouts such as Delamere Forest, Pleasington, and Ormskirk all hugely enjoyable and well presented, offering a more tree-lined experience. The North West is a multi-dimensional home for golf in England, and as a result churns out some strong local players, with Lancashire constantly boasting one of the strongest First Teams in the country. A visit to the area allows you take in pretty much any type of golf you’d like to play. That said, if you are looking for even more links layouts in the area, you’ll find another couple of great courses at both Hesketh and Fleetwood.

Sheer Numbers

After all that we’ve said, it should be no surprise that the last reason for the North West being so strong for golf is the sheer quantity of golf courses, with more than 140 in the area. The terrain here has lent itself perfectly for building golf courses for well over a century, and as a result you’ll find courses that have entwined with the local communities for generations. If you’re considering a move to the area, you’re in luck, with some fantastically welcoming golf clubs which are often more affordable to join - particularly when compared with the courses around London and the South East. However, those looking to just head up to the North West for a short trip are also blessed with a myriad of excellent courses to choose from. Whether you’re after an Open Championship layout, a club steeped in history, a woodland wonder, or simply a day playing golf by the seaside, you’ll find it all in the North West of England.

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