Formby Golf Club Course Review

This superb championship links is very distinctive and memorable, all the more so due to its heathland characteristics - a perfect blend of styles

The closing hole and excellent clubhouse with dormy
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

This superb championship links is very distinctive and memorable, all the more so due to its heathland characteristics - a perfect blend of styles

Formby Golf Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 41 Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 41 2017/18 - 39 2015/16 - 37 2013/14 - 38 2011/12 - 41 2009/10 - 41

Summer Green Fees

Round - £185wd, £205we afternoon

Visitors: welcome weekdays, and weekend afternoons subject to availability

Medal Tee: Par 72 - 6,725 Yards

www.formbygolfclub.co.uk (opens in new tab)

Changes since previous ranking

The approach to the 11th green has been redesigned by Martin Ebert as part of the course development programme. This has given a more naturalised feel to the approach, through the dunes. The 4th hole has also seen removal of a dune on the RHS, giving a clear view now of the bunkers and right hand edge of the fairway from the tee. This has also created a sand waste area for natural animal habitat.

Formby Golf Club Course Review

While Formby is without doubt one of our leading links, the presence of mature pines and swathes of heather give it more than just a hint of the heath.

The sweeping par-5 eighth

Formby is a historic, premier league club with a wonderful course that sits high in the Golf Monthly Top 100. Coastal erosion over many years has led to a few changes, and more are being very carefully planned at the moment by its forward-thinking members. These will safeguard the future and quality of this beautiful and varied links.

Founded in 1884, the original course at Formby was redesigned by Willie Park at the start of the 20th century. A plan of the course from 1912 hangs in the attractive and historic clubhouse, alongside a 1994 plan showing various alterations by the likes of James Braid, Hawtree & Taylor, and Donald Steel. Matteo Manassero won The Amateur Championship here in 2009.

The excellent, demanding and very attractive par-4 ninth hole

Strong par 4s abound, and the course is characterised by fast-running fairways, deep bunkers and firm greens. There is usually a breeze, to say the least, and this provides a reminder that the sea is just a few sandhills away.

Accuracy from the tee is key. Straying off line will usually result in a hack out of one of the deep bunkers or a sideways knock from the trees or heather. Around the greens, a full arsenal of chips and pitches is required.

The sixteenth is the final par 3 on the course

The course is kept in tip-top order and runs in an anti-clockwise direction around the lovely and very enjoyable Formby Ladies course, itself very much recommended. Visitors, especially those staying in the excellent Dormy House accommodation, should play both.

Assessor Feedback

A great links and challenging throughout from the opening tee shot. Good variation through the middle of the round. Excellent bunkering and greens. One of the tightest and toughest links courses out there - take plenty of balls.

GM Verdict

This superb championship links is very distinctive and memorable, all the more so due to its heathland characteristics - a perfect blend of styles

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.