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Sean_A

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Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour New
« on: March 16, 2015, 07:27:22 AM »


For anyone who has played Formby Ladies it is obvious the course wasn't thrown together...somebody with design acumen layed out a well thought out course.  So far as I can tell that someone is a Mr Douglas McEwan of club making fame.  Although, it seems likely there are other persons of interest involved in the tale of Formby Ladies, but who knows where or when.  What we do know is the original 9 holes were built in 1896 and a further nine added in 1908.  The Ladies club is independent of the main club and all decision-making remains in the hands of the ladies.   

Set in the middle of the well known main course at Formby, the Ladies Course is fairly compact, featuring less than generous fairways and diminutive greens.  With only one set of tees (my heart sings  :D ), the total package is a tad shy of 5400 yards. Much like the main course, the terrain covers flat and dunesy/crumpled ground.  I suppose with the lovely springy turf and heather abound one is apt to label the Ladies a heathland course, but for the technically minded this does raise the question of what the main course is; links or heathland? 

Many golfers will notice the shortcomings in terms of very short par 5s, several par 4s hovering around the 300 yard mark and the lack of yardage spread in the par 3s.  However, just as is the case with championship courses, one must look at the course in terms of who it is designed for....and in this case it is ladies.  If male golfers can keep this one over-riding principle in mind, enjoyment of the Ladies is easier to come by.  This will likely mean some men must scale down their game to suit the course.  If they choose not to it may make for a long day in the heather and rough which will take its toll. 

Short and tempting, the first can be a dangerous hole.  There is precious little space to bang a driver up near the green of this 261 yarder.The hole turns left enough to create doubt as to how much heather should be taken on.


One of three very short par 5s, yet the second is no push-over because of astutely placed bunkers.




The short 3rd doesn't look like it is up to much, but the green runs away from play. In some ways this is ideal design as all is not what it seems.


The 4th is quite short at 287 yards, but the centre line bunker and raised green do give pause. Although, I have to wonder as to why there are bunkers short right.




Sometimes cited as the best hole on the course, the 5th.


The course opens up a bit onto flatter land for the 6th, the only par 4 over 400 yards.  The curve of the dogleg is severe, to the point where these bunkers can't be seen from the tee. 


The green is quite interesting with its rolls.


The drivable 7th turns back and like the first, offers the temptation of a green light.  More very well placed bunkers will encourage some golfers to take on the treacherous left side of the fairway.


The 8th, a 428 yard par 5 with a tricky approach and another miniscule green.


On 9 we dramatically re-enter the dunes.  The drive is interesting because one gets the impression that if he can drive the upper fairway anything might happen...including reaching the green.  I usually don't like obvious cuts in dunes, but the temptation of seeing the flag for a short 4 is an excellent ruse.






Behind the green.


The back nine commences with the final par 5 of the day, a sweeping legger left.  Perhaps the best hole on the course, the 11th swings right and uphill to a plateau green.  On holes like this it is very tempting to suggest that a large bunker should cover the crook of the turn...but this is a ladies course and for member play such a bunker would be extraneous.   




Another lovely hole awaits in 12.  Play is from a perched tee to a two-tier dell green. 


That feeling of this is all too good to be true is finally justified by the final third of the course.  The holes aren't poor, but that high level of joy to be alive of the opening twelve holes isn't nearly as prevalent for the final six.  Although, on an individual basis 15-17 are worthy holes.  #15 asks the golfer to take on fairway bunkers and OOB down the right for the best line of approach to a raised green.




With a mere zephyr of wind about the short 16th can play very tricky.


A variation on the opening hole, the 17th requires some thinking as to how far one can cheat to the right. 




The home hole isn't particularly inspiring even if the view to the main clubhouse is.


The Ladies house can just be seen left of the proshop.  The difference in the houses neatly sums up the difference between the main course and the Ladies; Lilliputian VS grandiose, yet both serve their purpose well at Formby.  It should be no surprise I was very impressed with the Ladies.  The course was in good nick given the torrential rain.  Greens flooded and quickly drained when we continued the round.  I was particularly impressed with the balance of hole movement in terms of doglegs and straight holes; it is just about perfect in not favouring any particular ball shape.  The bunkering is often inspired, although perhaps some could be given a higher visual profile to heighten anxiety levels.  While I wouldn't suggest the course change its name, the Ladies monicker likely holds back some men from having a go. This would be a mistake.  If the spirit of the design is taken as intended, there is no reason why any golfer shouldn't have a grand time playing the Ladies. 2016

Formby
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32146.msg631133.html#msg631133

Previous Tour Stops on the 2014-15 Winter Tour:

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,60660.0.html  Stinchcombe Hill 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32228.0.html  Huntercombe

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,33988.0.html  Notts

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48115.0.html  Moseley 
 
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,47211.0.html  Worplesdon 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,60107.0.html  Walton Heath New 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,59831.0.html  Cumberwell Park Orange 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,30926.0.html  Kington

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html  Cleeve Cloud 

Future Scheduled Stops: Little Aston & Sandwich

Ciao 
« Last Edit: March 07, 2020, 05:37:05 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Ed Tilley

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Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 11:40:11 AM »
Thanks Sean - looks very nice.

Looking at the scorecard on the website there is no separate tee / par for ladies and men. The par on the scorecard assumes you are female with the par set accordingly. It would seem the obvious solution for men to just change the par of the 3 400-450 yard par 5s to par 4s. You then have what looks like a very enjoyable 5400 yard par 68 course.

Brent Hutto

Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2015, 12:12:18 PM »
I was unable to tear myself away from Just One More Round at the "main" Formby course when I visited so I did not play the Formby Ladies. I heard it said when I was there that the turf on the Ladies course has benefited over recent years from less play and therefore less application of fertilizer.

Is it your impression, Sean, that the turf quality is currently superior on the Ladies course?

At the time of my visit (2007) an effort was being started to revise the turf management on the Formby Golf Club course with a long-term view toward reducing its somewhat meadowy character.

jeffwarne

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Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2015, 01:51:32 PM »
Thanks Sean - looks very nice.

Looking at the scorecard on the website there is no separate tee / par for ladies and men. The par on the scorecard assumes you are female with the par set accordingly. It would seem the obvious solution for men to just change the par of the 3 400-450 yard par 5s to par 4s. You then have what looks like a very enjoyable 5400 yard par 68 course.

or an even more enjoyable par 72 ;) ;)-Love to know how often a 12 handicap hits and holds a 450 yard hole in 2, especially the ones at Formby

Nice tour Sean
How was Julie? ;)
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 02:08:56 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Benjamin Litman

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Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2015, 01:58:42 PM »
Thank you, Sean. I love this tour. What you've captured in words and pictures is precisely the type of course I would want to play every day for the rest of my life.
"One will perform in large part according to the circumstances."
-Director of Recruitment at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda on why it selects orphaned children without regard to past academic performance. Refreshing situationism in a country where strict dispositionism might be expected.

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2015, 06:00:53 PM »
Nice tour.  

The chilly air made it like playing a Cayman ball.  Even with several tees significantly forward, it played a lot more than it's card length.  Several good drives failed to clear 200 and it took two absolute belters including a running 5w to get me to the back of the 8th green.  


However I liked it a lot and look forward to playing in summer when the ball rolling out will bring that heather into play.

Objectively(sic) it's not top 100 material but it has more charm than about 1/2 those that 'are'.

The ideal refresher after a long hard winter or even in the middle of a tough golf trip.

Recommended, as long as you know what you are getting you wont be in the least disappointed.



"Greg Norman described it as a beautiful course, which illustrates "...that courses do not need to be over 7000 yards to be formidible.""
Links along the Line.




PS Julie was most friendly and helpful in setting up the trip but sadly was in Ireland with her Mum last weekend when we visited.  

And Jeff she was asking after you ...is there something we should know? ;D


« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 06:01:32 PM by Tony_Muldoon »
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2015, 07:04:23 PM »
Nice tour.  

The chilly air made it like playing a Cayman ball.  Even with several tees significantly forward, it played a lot more than it's card length.  Several good drives failed to clear 200 and it took two absolute belters including a running 5w to get me to the back of the 8th green.  


However I liked it a lot and look forward to playing in summer when the ball rolling out will bring that heather into play.

Objectively(sic) it's not top 100 material but it has more charm than about 1/2 those that 'are'.

The ideal refresher after a long hard winter or even in the middle of a tough golf trip.

Recommended, as long as you know what you are getting you wont be in the least disappointed.


PS Julie was most friendly and helpful in setting up the trip but sadly was in Ireland with her Mum last weekend when we visited.  

And Jeff she was asking after you ...is there sometihing we should know? ;D

her Mum was in Ireland too? :) ;D ;)
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 07:28:58 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Lynn_Shackelford

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2015, 10:14:07 PM »
Glad you finally took the time to see and photograph it.  As usually the pictures are great and summary is accurate.  It succeeds in that it is a course you could play/enjoy everyday.
It must be kept in mind that the elusive charm of the game suffers as soon as any successful method of standardization is allowed to creep in.  A golf course should never pretend to be, nor is intended to be, an infallible tribunal.
               Tom Simpson

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2015, 01:53:19 PM »
Good photographs considering how dark it was.

Thomas Dai

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Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2015, 07:11:26 AM »
Thanks for the photo tour. Looks just a delightful place to play. Highlights that length isn't always best. Short and sweat. I imagine it must play pretty narrow when the ground is very firm.
atb

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2015, 07:15:15 AM »
Good tour again Sean.

I have had the pleasure of playing Formby Ladies on 4 occasions to date though the last was over 20 years ago. I always enjoyed the course which as you say has many good holes. With the exception of the 18th I never felt that the last 6 holes were of lesser quality (if that is the right term) than those before though the last could be improved up on.

Jon

Sean_A

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Re: Alluring FORMBY LADIES GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2015, 03:49:36 AM »
Brent

At the time of writing, I would say the Ladies was in better nick than the main course. 

Jeff

Never saw Julie  :'(

Spangles

I must have liked the course more than you! 

ATB

Short and sweat

Maybe on a hot summer's day. 

Sheehy

I think you would really enjoy the Ladies.  It does tick a lot of boxes and if at Formby already it is worth checking out.  I would give the ole girl an r...the lack of good longer holes eliminates the possibility of a 1*. 

One thing I forgot to mention, because the layout is so compact there are some very good boozers loops provided in the routing...a big plus for courses without returning 9s.  Mind you, as a 3ball we sauntered round in 3:15...now tell me the length of the course doesn't make a difference for time...that is one of the craziest arguments I have ever heard  ::)

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 07:00:17 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 08:43:37 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 12:59:39 PM »
Three words........play this course!
I did the other day. Whizzed around in 2 1/2 hrs and had a great time. Short on the card it may be but it ainít no pushover. Narrow with dog legs that gradually arc, small greens, humps and hollows, pot bunkers and a whole load more beside.
Playing FL just reinforced my long held belief that circa 90% of players are playing courses that are too long for them.
Play this course!
Atb
A later edit to include some photos taken in 2018.



« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 02:00:04 PM by Thomas Dai »

David McIntosh

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Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2018, 08:53:31 PM »
Iím heading down to play Formby at the end of next month and Iím looking to fit in an afternoon round after my morning game.

Iíve narrowed my choice down to between Formby Ladies and West Lancs, neither of which I have played before. Formby Ladies seems to be well thought of on this thread and there are a few people on here who are fans of West Lancs (based on comments on Duncanís thread on that course) although otherwise itís rarely mentioned on the board.

For those that know the courses, would it be worthwhile prioritising one over the other while Iím in the area?
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 08:59:19 PM by David McIntosh »

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2018, 03:13:40 AM »

David,


if you are at Formby anyway it seems a bit of a no brainer to play Formby Ladies. It is an excellent course which I prefer to the main course though I cannot put my finger on why. West Lancs is also a very good course and well worth a visit too.


Jon

Duncan Cheslett

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Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2018, 04:09:32 AM »
A day spent playing both courses at Formby would be hard to beat, and an eminently manageable 36 holes. Anything that keeps you in the lovely setting of Formby for the whole day is worthwhile.


West Lancs is a tough beast - particularly in the wind - and IMO not a course to tackle immediately after the unique delights of Formby. It would dilute the memories.

Sean_A

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Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2018, 04:17:52 AM »
Iím heading down to play Formby at the end of next month and Iím looking to fit in an afternoon round after my morning game.

Iíve narrowed my choice down to between Formby Ladies and West Lancs, neither of which I have played before. Formby Ladies seems to be well thought of on this thread and there are a few people on here who are fans of West Lancs (based on comments on Duncanís thread on that course) although otherwise itís rarely mentioned on the board.

For those that know the courses, would it be worthwhile prioritising one over the other while Iím in the area?

David

Objectively West Lancs is a better course and it does have some very good holes, but neither course is solid top 100 material.  Although, West Lancs is under-rated...being in a tough neighbourhood.  Much depends on what you want.  Formby Ladies is very short so a good second course for the day, but if 6000+ yards is the goal, play West Lancs.  I prefer the compact design of Formby Ladies, but you can't go wrong either way.  If logistics mean anything...West Lancs is the easier course to reach off the M6 so its easy to add to future trips when looking for an add-on game traveling north-south. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

David McIntosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2018, 02:27:32 PM »
Jon, Duncan, Sean,

Thanks for the responses.

It seems clear that Formby Ladies would be the best course to go for on this trip. Given West Lancs is under 10 miles from FL I thought it was worth checking whether it was a must play.

West Lancs seems to have a reputation as the toughest course in the area so probably the right choice not to have it as the second course of the day....I donít want to be in pieces when playing the next day! I hope to be passing to play Hoylake next year so thereís a chance to tag it on to the start or end of that trip.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2018, 06:32:34 AM »
David

Did you ever make it Formby Ladies? If so, what did you think?

BTW...Formby Ladies strikes me as the exact type of course that should be highlighted on Ran's 147 Custodians.  How much more custodial does it get than promoting women's golf?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Jay Mickle

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2018, 08:36:17 AM »
Is Formby Ladies ready for a cartwheeling Fritz?
@MickleStix on Instagram
MickleStix.com

David McIntosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2018, 11:44:57 AM »
David

Did you ever make it Formby Ladies? If so, what did you think?


Sean,

No, unfortunately I didnít get on to Formby Ladies earlier in the year. Thereís was a competition on the day I arrived then the tee sheet was full the following day after my morning round on the main course. Itís my own fault for not booking a time before I teed off but didnít think I would have a problem getting a time - the sun came out in the afternoon and the place was mobbed. I caught a few glimpses of the Ladies course during my rounds on the main course and had been looking forward to playing it too.

Iím in the process of arranging the trip to Hoylake for next year I mentioned and, if possible, was planning on making it to Formby Ladies whilst in the area. Either then or if I get down for the Walker Cup in the September.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 11:46:45 AM by David McIntosh »

Richard Fisher

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Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2019, 11:30:22 AM »
Just had the great pleasure of playing foursomes against the Formby Ladies Golf Club, and I can only second Sean's warm recommendation. Some cracking holes, lovely turf (and unwatered fairways, at present anyway, so an interesting contrast to Formby GC itself) and all requiring some precise and careful shotmaking, with heather that constitutes a truly penal hazard. I had played at West Lancs the day before, which is unquestionably the real deal and a proper championship links golf course, but I know that given the choice between a game at one or t'other I would  choose FLGC probably seven times out of ten. Which may, also, be a sign of advancing years - I was playing for a Senior society on both occasions - but I can't remember when I last enjoyed a new (to me) course more.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Foxy FORMBY LADIES GC: 2015-16 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2019, 11:54:50 AM »
Terrific course FLGC - more folks should make the opportunity to play it.
Golf would be better if there were more courses akin to it.
Atb

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