WALLASEY GOLF CLUB

Wallasey Golf Club is just four miles from Royal Liverpool, but built on much more pronounced dunes than Hoylake. There are spectacular views across Liverpool Bay to North Wales.

I remember the Wow! feeling I had when I played there for the first time and walked from the third green to the elevated fourth tee. What I saw when I reached it was quite a sight, particularly because I’d been unaware of the elevation I was scaling. There you are, gazing across the expanse of Liverpool Bay and the Irish Sea to the Welsh mountains.

Walking down the dune onto the fairway I knew I was playing links golf at its best - natural hazards, hillocks, dips and undulating ground. Arriving on the 15th fairway the elevated green towers above you. A positive approach is required, no sloppy shots as you won’t make it, and it’s not much fun being short or wide.

The short but deceptive 16th of 200 yards hugging the dune on its right, is really longer than you think. The 17th is as good a par four as you could wish to play. The drive must be played to the right of the fairway for you to have a chance of making the green with your second. And the final hole rolls through the dunes, up and down and finishing beside the Victorian clubhouse - the oldest purpose built clubhouse in the area.

But Wallasey has much more than a fine course. It is the home of Stableford Golf where the first event was staged in 1932 by the man himself, Dr Frank Stableford. Many times he tried to sell the idea to the Clubs of which he was a member, but they proved hard to convince. After 30 years of persistence his scoring system was given its chance, and what a legacy he has left to the world of golf - his portrait hangs proudly in the Wallasey clubhouse.

The only time I am happy with a pencil in my hand whilst playing golf is during a Stableford Competition, so all praise to the good Doctor. Another must-see picture is that of Bobby Jones not only painted by the great J.A.A. Berrie, but also signed by R. T. Jones himself.

What a treasure.

​BROMBOROUGH GOLF CLUB

Bromborough Golf Club might well be the next stop on your tour. It is a fine parkland course with lovely rolling contours, a great variety of trees and fauna, and the rhododendrons in spring? Marvellous.

Founded in 1903 it was built on farming ground and the first Captain was the farmer Major Green; and revealing the Club’s foresight the Major’s daughter became its first Lady Captain the following year.
It was around this time that William Lever became involved with the Club. He was soon to become Viscount Leverhulme and thus began a relationship between his family and Bromborough GC lasting generations.

This coincided with Gladys Ravenscroft becoming a member too, and although she is associated with other Clubs in Wirral, including in 1958 as the first Captain of the Hilbre Club at Hoylake, it was at Bromborough that she learnt the game under the eye of the professional, Fred Robson. He was a legendary man who guided her to great things, including winning the title of British Ladies champion in 1911. To crown it all, in 1913, she also won the United States Women’s National Trophy. What a woman.

There is a fine portrait of Gladys in the Club hall commissioned by Lord Leverhulme and painted by Frank Copnall.

​HESWALL GOLF CLUB

Heswall Golf Club is five miles from Bromborough and has also staged its centenary. The original course was designed by Jack Morris. the professional at Hoylake. The Club’s founders were an enlightened lot and declared that, “One of the objects of the Club is the abolition of golfing widows in the district.”

Many holes have changed over the years but you will experience a fine course played in two halves: eleven holes by the clubhouse, and the other seven down by the banks of the Dee estuary, which ensure some excellent views throughout your round.

There are some really good par threes, one very long par five along the shoreline, and, in my view, two wonderful par fours on the 13th and 15th holes. I played recently with their Centenary Captain, Judge John Roberts, a fine player with his own style, a sort of thumping motion as the club approaches the ball, then a sort of whang! after the assault. Idiosyncratic but highly effective.

Heswall is a fine, testing course, and with the number of trees it boasts it is hard to believe one is so close to the sea. After the round a few beers on the terrace are recommended. The elevation gives you a great view of the course, the estuary and then onto the Welsh hills, quite, quite marvellous. But do ask to go upstairs as the view is even better.

Many say that Heswall has one of the finest balconies in golf. I would not disagree.

​CALDY GOLF CLUB

Caldy Golf Club is but five miles north of Heswall and another course in two sections. The first centres on the clubhouse on park land terrain, with ten glorious holes running through the woods to secluded greens. The other eight are on the cliffs above the estuary of the River Dee.

The first nine hole course of 1907 was designed by Jack Morris who was obviously rather busy in those days. The course as it is played now owes much to the redesign supervised by James Braid in 1930. It was 25 years after its founding that Caldy gained its first bar for the sale of intoxicating liquors. In my experience they have subsequently more than compensated for this delay.

Playing the course there are quite spectacular views across to Wales and further round you will see Hilbre Island. When the tide is in and the yachts are in full sail as the tide laps up to the shoreline beneath a clear blue sky you are in a calm and peaceful setting.

There are some fine holes, including the 6th with the name Donga. This is a local word for a pathway that runs in front of the green and was used in days gone by to transport goods to ships that moored nearby. It is now turfed and makes a great feature that you have to carry to make your par safely.

When you return over the Wirral Way, a footpath that takes in most of the west of the Wirral, you play the last eight holes around the clubhouse. What a contrast to the views from the cliffs over the Dee - the parkland surroundings make you feel you could be anywhere in leafy England.

If you would like to know more about Wirral golf, including green fees, and discover places to stay and dine and non-golfing things to do while you are here, visit the website of England’s Golf Coast - englandsgolfcoast.com
 
On behalf of Royal Liverpool Golf Club I wish you happy golfing in Wirral.