From a stunning Open venue in Royal Liverpool to a parkland beauty at Mottram Hall, Cheshire has it all.
The Best Golf Courses In Cheshire
The top course in the county is obviously the Open Championship venue of Royal Liverpool which has seen golfing greats like Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Peter Thomson, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy win there.
But the county of Cheshire is not a one trick pony, in fact there is great variety on offer from many of the courses we have looked at below, from parkland golf, to heathland and links golf. Take a look at our 9 best golf courses in the county here.
Related: Golf Monthly’s UK&I Top 100 Courses
The mighty links at Hoylake by the Dee estuary on The Wirral, where the first Amateur Championship was staged in 1885, took Open Championship centre stage again in 2014 after a successful return to the rota in 2006.
This is a venerable links of contrasting landscapes, starting and finishing over flatter ground visible from the clubhouse, before playing its way out to a memorable mid-round stretch closer to the estuary. Much like Birkdale, the par 3s are particularly impressive, from the much-photographed 11th – Alps – along the estuary, to the shorter 15th, where a narrow green and five deep pot bunkers pose a test of accuracy rather than length.
The Mere is home to a fantastic 18-hole course and has a great hotel and spa on site as well. Designed by James Braid and the clubs first professional George Duncan, the layout was finalised in 1935. Using water, ravines, mature trees and flowering banks, The Mere provides a stunning backdrop to your game of golf that challenges you too.
The toughest hole on the course is the par-4 13th which measures at a whopping 484 yards off the back tees. With trees and a few houses looming on the right, a lost ball is a real possibility after any errant shots. A narrow fairway and fairway bunker make the target small from the tee and the second shot provides the same sort of conundrum. Thankfully the hole does open out to the left as you get 100 yards in from the hole. It may not appear so from the tee, but the space is definitely there, so the main lesson here is, go left not right.
There’s a real feeling of space as you gaze out over much of the course from the clubhouse, and it didn’t disappoint when out there. This is heathland golf at its best after much gorse- and tree-clearing, and some fabulous bunkering work by Tom Mackenzie.
I loved the short par-5 2nd along a rollercoaster fairway to a fine green backed by pines, and the testing long par-3 4th, where, mercifully, the green does at least gather the ball in.
The 9th and 18th enjoy splendid clubhouse backdrops, the former playing to a plateau fairway then across a wide gully, and the latter from an elevated tee over trees. The 13th and 14th are both fine holes, too, with 13 a classic, heavily bunkered risk-reward short par 4 and 14 dropping down to another well-bunkered green.
Although not a heathland course, Harry Colt’s Prestbury, could easily have been, reminding me very much of Ashridge in Hertfordshire. I like courses to start with visually strong openers, and that’s certainly the case here with a lovely down-and-up par 5. There are shelf greens to negotiate on the 3rd and 5th, sandwiched either side of a memorable downhill par 3.
Coming home, the 10th is a tough yet enjoyable par 4 in par 5’s clothing, while the 13th presents a very pretty downhill approach. For the quality of the offering, the day rate at Prestbury represents excellent value
Mellor & Townscliffe
Mellor enjoys wonderful views from the higher ground, making the climbing over the front nine worth the effort. The opening duo drop down to a delightful punchbowl par 3, from where you climb steadily, and occasionally sharply, until the 9th. The short 11th is the prettiest hole, playing to a green guarded by two tall trees, while the 12th plunges down more precipitously than any par 4 I’ve played.
Sandiway offers varied holes that play through a mix of heathland and woodland. It boasts impressive design credentials, with 1912 Open champion Ted Ray creating the original layout before improvements in the ‘20s by Harry Colt and the ‘50s by Fred Hawtree. The downhill approach to the mid-length par-4 9th is one of the visual highlights. The finale may be a par 3 but beware – OOB lurks menacingly close on the right.
Lymm, which plays alongside the Manchester Ship Canal, grew from nine to 18 in the 1970s, with the original holes blessed with more of a heathland feel in places. The par-5 6th is the pick of the outward half, hugging the canal all the way to a very pretty green backed by trees. Keep your guard up on the par-3 13th, especially if the pin is at the back, for there is water long and right. The 16th then demands your full attention, a dauntingly long par 4 where you must twice negotiate streams.
Wallasey is a splendid links towards the north-eastern tip of the peninsula, playing through rugged duneland for the most part.
The 2nd, where anything too far right spells danger, is the tough par 4 that inspired Dr Frank Stableford to refine his points scoring system, but it is perhaps the 3rd that really brings the links alive, climbing gradually to a raised two-tiered green guarded by a solitary pot bunker. The fourth is also spectacular.
The back nine starts with a right-angle dogleg where the approach is played steeply uphill, and then my two favourite holes back to back – a superb par 4 along a hog’s back with a fearsome bunker front right, and the wonderful downhill par-3 12th.
The course at Mottram Hall is an expansive parkland affair created by Dave Thomas in the 1990s that plays over a 270-acre estate set around the grand hotel. The two nines contrast markedly, with the front nine playing over mostly gentler terrain that affords the better scoring opportunities.
Both nines are bookended with par 5s that certainly offer up chances off the yellows, but the par 3s are perhaps the standout holes heading out. The 3rd requires a short- to mid-iron across a pond to a shallow green, while the 7th is a much longer prospect at around 200 yards. The back nine takes on a different character, with more changes in elevation and greater variety. The long par-4 13th serves up a demanding drive before an uphill approach, while the par-3 16th is very much the wrong side of 200 yards, even off the yellows.
The piece de resistance, though, is undoubtedly the excellent 17th, a monster par 4 that doglegs gently to the right and demands a well-placed drive and precise strike with a long-iron or hybrid to traverse the stream and make it home in two.
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