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John Mayhugh

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Re: FORMBY: Is This The Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #50 on: September 13, 2012, 01:04:56 PM »
I still need to think a little about both courses, but what last week's golfing trip has shown me, is that the difference in quality between a Top 10 and a Top 20 course is very little indeed.

Though I didn't play Birkdale, the same could be said of comparing Formby with Silloth.  I really enjoyed the Formby dormy experience (snooker is one tough game!), but I think I like the course at Silloth a bit better.  Either is worth multiple rounds, and Formby does have the bonus of the ladies course. 

Jeff_Lewis

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Re: FORMBY: Is This The Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #51 on: September 14, 2012, 10:53:03 AM »
One of my most memorable golf days anywhere.  Thanks for the reminder.   Imagine how good if those holes hadn't been lost by the sea.

Sean_A

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Re: FORMBY: Is This The Best Links In Northern England? New
« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2012, 11:19:26 AM »
I have just received a bottle of malt in the post by way of thanking me for setting up Formby.  The card is not signed, so I hope whoever has sent the bottle receives my humble thanks.  One never expects a gift for organizing, but it is always appreciated. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 05, 2023, 03:52:36 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Lynn_Shackelford

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Re: FORMBY: Is This The Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2012, 03:10:15 PM »
Sean
It was not I.  However much thanks goes to organizing the group on good course with great weather and a fun experience staying at the club.
I talked with Ben Crenshaw yesterday and he said one year at an Open he hurried over to take a look the Formby.  He said he had heard much about it and thought it looked great and beautiful(I think he was surprised at the trees).  He said "don't they have a lot of junior tournaments there?"  I said yes.  I told him about the Ladies course and how it came to be.  He laughed saying "no dogs and ladies allowed here."  What course has that sign?
He further said he has never made it up to Silloth but has heard about it.

Now Sean, take your malt and go enjoy the Ladies course!
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

Sean_A

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Re: FORMBY: Is This The Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2012, 06:07:09 PM »
Lynn

I am encouraged by the comments you lot made.  I suspect I would like Formby Ladies even more than you because I really enjoy the short courses which have not accommodated the long ball era - sort of stubborn like me.  I just have a hard time not playing the main course when I am up there - I like it so much. 

I don't know of a club with the sign you mention.  Legend has it that Little Aston used to have a sign prohibiting ladies from walking in front of the club house.  Somehow this seems like an urban legend, but one can never be sure as the English have a penchant for signs the likes of which is in my experience unique. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

MClutterbuck

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Re: FORMBY: Is This The Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2015, 01:30:04 PM »
Anybody have a picture from the tees of the 8th hole at Formby?

Ed Tilley

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Re: FORMBY: Is This The Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #56 on: February 11, 2015, 03:33:49 AM »
Anybody have a picture from the tees of the 8th hole at Formby?




Greg Taylor

Re: FORMBY: Is This The Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2015, 03:49:40 AM »
I don't but I played there late last year and I seem to remember significant tree growth down the RHS.

It's a tough driving hole, but land it on the short stuff you do have a shot in... there is a pay off.

Sean_A

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2015, 06:26:10 AM »
I think Formby is more fun over multiple rounds but I think Birkdale is a much better sorted course in all details and forms a more coherent design aesthetic.

Brent - curious statement...care to elaborate?

Ivan - thanks for the wonderful story!

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 06:38:08 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Brent Hutto

Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2015, 06:42:51 AM »
I think Formby is more fun over multiple rounds but I think Birkdale is a much better sorted course in all details and forms a more coherent design aesthetic.

Brent - curious statement...care to elaborate?

Ciao

It seems to me that Royal Birkdale, which I admire greatly, has a very consistent character from hole to hole and throughout the round. It is an eminently "fair" championship style test of golf with the quirk and odd bounces we experience on many links courses pared away. It has been polished and perfected over decades of fine tuning. It is a course that will adequately sort out good play from poor play among the best players in the world but in a manner which good players tend to like and prefer.

So the "coherent design" involves large, deep, gathering bunkers but otherwise large and relatively flat fairways and greens. There is ample room off the tee and reasonably well played shots will almost always find a favorable lie. The rough can pinch in a bit depending on choice of mowing lines, especially as one gets closer to the greens. The turf is excellent which allows the course to play keenly in a breeze but is great to hit from. It's a very high quality example of the "right there in front of your" design ethic.

In contrast, there are plenty of rough edges and at least a bit of quirk at Formby.  Moreover there is about as much variety among the holes and throughout the beginning, middle, end of the round as you're ever going to find at a links course. Compared to Birkdale where you feel like you've just played 18 variants on the same basic challenge, at Formby you walk away feeling you've played two or three different courses in one.

Put the best players in the world at Formby and they will not find it as eminently "fair" as Birkdale. And some of the holes would be quite weak for elite bombers, unlike Birkdale which is somewhat consistently challenging. For a double-digit handicapper on vacation however, Formby gives far more value. A good multi-round holiday trip might include a round at Birkdale along with rounds at a couple of other nearby courses for variety. Formby on the other hand has just as much to offer on the third or fourth play as it did on the first. Heck it took about three rounds before I could even remember which holes were the shorter or longer ones or recall which greens were flat and which were more contoured.

Sean_A

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #60 on: February 11, 2015, 06:55:46 AM »
It is interesting that you rate the "consistency" in design at Birkdale higher than the variety at Formby.  My take would be just the opposite, but I don't much care about top notch play.  That said, I think Formby can throw up some serious challenges for flat bellies.  But man, with the crossing wind holes and doglegs causing drive line havoc, Birkdale is a tough driving course.  Reminds me a lot of Portrush, but P'rush has the added element of obscured drive lines as well. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 07:04:35 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

jeffwarne

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #61 on: February 11, 2015, 10:40:02 AM »
I think Formby is more fun over multiple rounds but I think Birkdale is a much better sorted course in all details and forms a more coherent design aesthetic.

Brent - curious statement...care to elaborate?

Ciao



Put the best players in the world at Formby and they will not find it as eminently "fair" as Birkdale. And some of the holes would be quite weak for elite bombers,


Brent,
All thoughtful interesting comments.
While perhaps not the "best players in the world"but  the 2013 Senior Open Qualifying was held at Formby, Hillside, and Southport & Ainsdale.
The lowest score recorded at Formby in light seaside winds and 80 degrees was 71, and 74 got you a spot at The Senior Open.
Yes, there are holes that the elite players can neutralize a bit, but they become very scary in firm and fast conditions, and there are plenty of difficult challenging holes to offset the opportunities.A great balance of holes

Interesting that a tree lined course wold be chosen as possibly the best links in Northern England, but I cannot disagree.
But then I've always enjoyed the odd tree on a links, particularly along the edges as a course transitions from linksland such as those found at Portsalon on the higher ground.
"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

MClutterbuck

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #62 on: February 11, 2015, 07:11:35 PM »
Thanks Ed! I had a person comparing this hole with another par 5 in another course. Quite a lot of similarities.

Josh Stevens

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #63 on: February 11, 2015, 07:27:04 PM »
Never played it, but it looks fun.  I can see why it might be regarded as half links half heathland, but that may just be trees

The bunkers however do not do much for me.  Most seem to be rather simple little round dishes of little aesthetic merit, but there are clearly several other contrasting styles suggesting perhaps different designers have had a fiddle and left their mark.

Sean_A

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #64 on: February 12, 2015, 05:25:07 AM »
Josh

For the most part I agree with you RE the bunker look.  Formby has such great texture that it seems a shame the bunkers don't add to the mix.  I usually don't mind pots too much, but if they are going to be used I would like to seem them more like Hoylake's or Muirfield's.  That said, I do think a case could be made for varying styles at Formby due to the variety of settings...especially off the tee.  Its incredible how many different looks the course offers from the tee...a real strength of design.  If you notice, the newish bunker on #7 departs from the pot style...its not great aesthetically, but its a move in the right direction given the placement of the bunker. 


Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Mark Chaplin

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #65 on: February 12, 2015, 05:54:34 AM »
The first 4/5 holes are definitely heath in character and play - don't forget a heath will take the ground game when dry and the finish has a heathland quality. Formby is a proper club and well worth a visit and at a much lower cost than Royal Birkdale. Classic example of a top second tier UK course.
Cave Nil Vino

Josh Stevens

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #66 on: February 12, 2015, 07:14:36 AM »
"Proper Club" now there is a term that is hard to define.  If you have to ask, you don't understand

Greg Taylor

Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #67 on: February 12, 2015, 07:48:37 AM »
"Proper Club" now there is a term that is hard to define.  If you have to ask, you don't understand

Love that, and yup you're right...!

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #68 on: February 13, 2015, 06:02:56 AM »
The first 4/5 holes are definitely heath in character and play - don't forget a heath will take the ground game when dry and the finish has a heathland quality. Formby is a proper club and well worth a visit and at a much lower cost than Royal Birkdale. Classic example of a top second tier UK course.

Chappers

I would consider Formby most definitely top tier...having hosted several Ams and with a lofty top 50 GB&I ranking.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Niall C

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #69 on: February 13, 2015, 06:52:43 AM »
I always thought of the top tier as being the Open rota courses, past (in the case of Prestwick) and present. Irrespective it does look a cracking course, and at first sight I'd agree with Mark's comments regarding the heathland character of some of the holes. I'll be interested to see how it looks in the flesh.

Niall

Sean_A

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #70 on: February 13, 2015, 06:58:37 AM »
Niall

Sure, its a matter of opinion, but then if we only consider Open or championship courses as 1st tier what about

Co Down
Ballybunion
Lahinch
Dornoch
......

You get the picture.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #71 on: February 13, 2015, 09:21:20 AM »
Sean

My top tier comment wasn't based on what I think the best/favourite courses are but rather the A list courses for tour operators. A good friend of mine who does golf tours tells me that's the Open rota courses but now you're in the business you can tell me different  ;D

Niall

Jon Wiggett

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #72 on: February 13, 2015, 01:58:16 PM »
Does that mean Musselburgh Old is top tier ;) As Anthony P said '9 holes, you got to love it ;D

Duncan Cheslett

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #73 on: December 10, 2016, 01:59:58 AM »
I love Formby, and played there yesterday for the first time in a year or so.


I couldn't believe the state of the greens! They were bumpy, uneven, spongey, and covered in fuserium patches. Word is that they have a massive problem with thatch.


I know that it is winter and allowances have to be made, but Formby's greens are currently in a worse state that most municipal parkland courses. I'd love to know what is going on.


Interestingly, we wandered over to the 18th green of the Ladies Course and found it in immaculate condition!


Very strange...

Jon Wiggett

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Re: FORMBY: Best Links In Northern England?
« Reply #74 on: December 10, 2016, 04:09:31 AM »
Sad to hear Duncan,


I have played Formby quite a bit though the last time was over 10 years ago. I do like it but do not hold it in as high regard as some on here. I am surprised about the fuserium as I would have thought that was a thing of the past. Too much feed too late in the season me thinks.


Jon

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