Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club Course Review

A very natural layout, S&A is a welcoming club with a rich and interesting history.

Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club Course Review
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

A very natural layout with a selection of highly memorable holes, S&A is a welcoming club with a rich and interesting history.

Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 62

Previous Rankings

2019/20 - 60 2017/18 - 66 2015/16 - 69 2013/14 - 64 2011/12 - 58 2009/10 - 50

Summer Green Fees

Round - £165wd, £180we

Visitors: See website for more information, including package deals

Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,803 Yards (opens in new tab)

Changes since previous ranking

Changes to the 1st and 18th Holes. Dune work and grass paths added.

The green configuration of the 17th was altered back in 2018/19 by golf architect Marc Westenborg. Work to remove gravel paths and replace with grass paths has also been taking place over the winters of 2019/20 and 20/21.

Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club Course Review

Some interesting changes to the course in the last two years. – Gravel paths have been removed and turf pathways reinstated to match others on the course. Dunes have been slightly lowered on the 1st hole to create a better visual of the iconic green, and a substantial dune complex has been added on the 18th hole.

Related: Top 100 courses UK and Ireland

Gorse has been removed and sand areas opened up which has improved the aesthetics.

Southport & Ainsdale Golf Club was founded in 1906 and it has hosted numerous prestigious elite competitions over the years. In both 1933 and 1937, the club welcomed the fledgling Ryder Cup. The latter event witnessed the first victory by the USA on British soil.

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

The course dates from 1925 and was the work of five-time Open champion and prolific course designer James Braid. His design remains largely unchanged.

This is a very natural feeling links, that has just a touch of heath about it, set over undulating dune land that was previously used for grazing cows and sheep.

The course shows its teeth from the outset. The 1st is a challenging par 3 of almost 200 yards to a green guarded by nine bunkers.

The front nine delivers an excellent and eclectic selection of holes from the very long, straightaway par-5 2nd to the testing par-3 8th. Just 150 yards to a plateau green, anything coming up short will roll back some 30 yards.

Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club Course Review

There’s no let up on the run for home. A great emphasis is placed on straight hitting from the tee and anything straying off-line tends to result in five minutes of forlorn trudging through treacherous rough.

The 16th is one of the most challenging and unusual hole you’ll find. A par 5 of just over 500 yards, “Gumbleys,” it looks innocuous on the card but the prospect from the tee is extremely intimidating.

Your drive must find the fairway but it’s tough not to go left with the railway line waiting right. The second is then blind and over a huge sleepered bank.

If you manage to pick the correct line over the dune then this becomes a birdie chance, pick the wrong line and you’re in big trouble.

Assessor Feedback

S&A makes excellent use of the dunes with some raised tees (3rd, 17th), and the excellent par-3 8th playing on to a plateau green.

The club welcomes visiting golfers and the clubhouse has all the facilities and history to provide a good base for a golf-day: A thoroughly enjoyable experience walking in the footsteps of many of the game’s greats.

GM Verdict

A very natural layout with a selection of highly memorable holes. A welcoming golf club with a rich and interesting history.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?