Fairhaven Golf Club Course Review

Fairhaven Golf Club in golf-rich Fylde on England's north-west coast is one of the UK's most well-bunkered courses and a joy to play

Fairhaven Golf Club - 9th hole and clubhouse
Looking across the 9th green to the Fairhaven clubhouse
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Fairhaven Golf Club Course Review

GF Round: £55-£88 Mon-Weds, £66-£105 Fri-Sun
Par 73, 6,750 yards
Slope 135
GM Verdict – A fine, particularly well-bunkered course close to Royal Lytham that bears all the hallmarks of a seaside links despite being a little way inland.
Favourite Hole – The 161-yard 17th, a lovely par 3 played through an avenue of trees to an elevated green fronted by a ring of pot bunkers.

Today’s layout at Fairhaven, close to Royal Lytham & St Annes in Fylde, was designed by the prolific James Braid when the club migrated inland from its original seaside location in 1924. Even in very strong company in this part of the world, Fairhaven will usually feature on most lists of the best golf courses in Lancashire.

Fairhaven Golf Club - general view

Fairhaven Golf Club moved slightly inland from its original location on the coast nearly a century ago

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

The course starts and finishes with par 5s, which is good news for those who feel these represent the best birdie chances. Downwind in firm conditions, that 1st hole will seem eminently gettable, but you still need to negotiate nine of the bunkers that form an integral part of the Fairhaven defences at various strategic points to steer it home in two.

Fairhaven Golf Club - 6th hole

Strategic bunkering is a key feature at Fairhaven as here on the excellent short par-4 6th

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Indeed, Fairhaven used to close with three par 5s in the last four holes, but the 16th has now taken on a fiercer dimension as a truly challenging 470+ yard two-shotter even off the yellows. Between start and finish, the course plays over essentially flat terrain, with often quite deep revetted bunkers to bypass on many a hole. There are 118 of them in total, several of which are to be avoided at all costs. From a course strategy perspective they very much bring to mind the challenge presented by the excellent bunkering on Carnoustie’s Championship course in Angus.

Fairhaven Golf Club - 17th hole

A ring of sand protects the raised green on the par-3 17th

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

The shortish par-4 6th stands out, requiring strategic thinking and good placement to negotiate the path from tee to green sand-free. This is easier said than done, for there are ten in total to avoid, including three that pinch the fairway in at driving distance leaving you a choice between laying back or taking them on. Another bunker-rich hole is the shortish par-3 17th where the front and sides of the green are protected by a ring of eight traps, so there are no prizes for underclubbing… nor indeed straying right or left with the correct club!

Fairhaven Golf Club - 18th hole

The 18th hole and elegant clubhouse beyond

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Greeting you at the end of the 18th hole is one of those grand-looking, classic old golf clubhouses that seem so prevalent in this part of north-west England. Fairhaven is a splendid course to be enjoyed year-round, but it might just be worth brushing up on your bunker play, driving accuracy or both a little to reap maximum pleasure!

 

 

 

Jeremy Ellwood
Jeremy Ellwood

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf