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Sean_A

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2022-23 Winter Tour: Wondrous WALLASEY GC New
« on: July 23, 2012, 06:30:58 AM »


Founded in 1891 by members of nearby Hoylake, Wallasey is very conveniently located for those all visiting Hoylake or the Lancashire links. Old Tom Morris arranged the original layout which has been heavily modified by A Herd, H Hilton, J Braid, Hawtree & Taylor, Donald Steel (2004), M&E and recently the club engaged CDP. Only four OTM greens remain; 2, 7, 8 & 12.

The club has two claims to fame. Wallasey was the site of final qualifying for B Jones' historic 1930 Open victory at Hoylake which eventually led to Impregnable Quadrilateral that same year. Probably the most famous portrait of Jones was commissioned and presented to the club.  Jones thought enough of the portrait to sign it and commission a replica for Augusta National.


Second and perhaps more importantly, Wallasey's most famous member, Dr Frank Stableford, devised the very popular Stableford scoring system in 1931 which the club used for the first time in 1932. Dr Stableford served as a civilian doctor in the Boer War and the Somaliland Campaign.  Afterward he joined Royal Porthcawl and won the club championship in 1907 off a handicap of +1.  Later Dr Stableford would serve as a Major in WWI, being stationed in Malta and Italy where he treated soldiers from the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign.  The Frank Stableford Open Amateur Memorial Trophy was first played in 1969 and continues to the present day.  None other than Henry Longhurst wrote the following of Dr Stableford, "I doubt whether any single man did more to increase the pleasure of the humble club golfer".



The first is a seemingly straightforward par 4, however, the fairway is interrupted by rough just about where a good drive will finish.  The left bunker can be had without too much trouble unless one opts to lay-up in trying to avoid what may be an iffy lie in the rough.  This patch of rough breaking up the fairway seems to have some serious drainage issues. The area is much more mucky than usual. Given there is a bank crossing the fairway, I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to build the bunker into it, thus creating a dramatic picture on the first tee.  Playing downwind it can be a troublesome to hold the green.

The second is a monster of a hole.  The drive plays into the prevailing wind and due to the continuously curving nature of the hole, often times it can be wiser to treat this as a par 5.  It is while practicing on the second that F Stableford, after nearly 35 years of tinkering, finally cracked the Stableford scoring. 

There is talk of moving the 2nd further right and creating two new holes right of the 2nd. This would open up possibilities to address the flatter par 5 holes (convert to practice ground, 20 holes?) that most seem to think hold back Wallasey from reaching it's potential. Loads of vegetation has been cleared down the right which is welcome regardless of the reason.


After a short climb to the 3rd tee, the player is greeted with a semi-blind tee shot to a narrow saddle fairway. I notice sand has been introduced far up the fairway. There used to be a load of nasty vegetation out there.


Looking back at the tee. I think the front left bunker was removed.


After the clausterphobic 3rd, the world opens on #4. This hole, 5 & 17 were created by Braid in 1938 after issues with the lease of land and the War Office confiscating land beyond the current 5th green and 6th fairway. It wasn't until 1952 that the full 18 hole course was open for play! Despite the huge expanse of fairways, Liverpool Bay will surely weigh heavily on the minds of golfers who prefer a fade.  The use of a long berm is also evident between #s 7 & 14. 


The 5th is the first of a fine set of short holes.  The wind quartering in from the left can create havoc. 


One of the few weaknesses of Wallasey is not having a true drivable par 4.  The 6th would be a prime candidate for this sort of hole not only because its fairly short anyway, but also because its an opportunity to be bold with a flat section of the property.   We are well and truly into flat golf now.  The par 5 seventh is reachable in two blows, but one must thread bunkers right and left off the tee and for the approach.  These plaques on the tees of holes with original OTM greens are a nice touch.


The 8th makes superb use of OOB by bending right around the practice ground.  A pair of bunkers placed exactly where we want to hit a drive requires the golfer to choose between taking sand on for the drive or having to cut across the OOB for a blind second. 


Behind the green.


The short ninth takes the golfer surprisingly back to the house, making for a convenient two loops of nine holes.  The hole was reworked by Steel in time for the 2004 season.  Playing downwind, the golfer has to decide if taking on the bunkers is wise.  There is a ridge which creates two distinct green sections. When Bobby Jones qualified for the 1930 Open the 9th played to the current 10 green; a Harold Hilton 1913 addition which was highly regarded.


This is how the hole looked when Bobby Jones played Wallasey in 1930. The current 9th tee to the current 10th green.




The back nine's opening drive has been radically altered by all the trees down the right being removed. The hole turns sharply right then heads uphill to a skyline green.  A look at the green from the 11th back tee.  The severe uphill approach is from left of the photo where golfers can be seen.


The pick of many as Wallasey's best hole, #11 is a classic down n' up par 4 swinging right to a green resting on a plateau.  The driving zone is blind from the tee, but the bunker acts as a target. Below is the approach.


The 12th may be the only hole left as OTM envisioned.  Despite playing considerably downhill, with a front to back green and without adverse wind, for some reason, this hole always plays its full yardage. Wide grass walking paths have been introduced in several places.




Probably the best of the three long holes covering the flat. The 13th plays longer still into the prevailing breeze.  The hole strikes me as having a less than appealing middle shot to set-up an interesting third.  The hole must have been lengthened by about 40 yards when Steel built the new green.  While not a hole I particularly like, it does off-set the two downwind par 5s next door. 


Another par five, the 14th legs left off fairway bunkers on the left The final four holes take us back to the dunes, but not before we hit one last drive over the flat.  A shortish par 4, #15 narrows considerably at the drive zone indicated by the large left bunker.  A 200ish yard drive sets up an approach to the the appropriately named Plateau. The harsh 16th finishes the par 3s in style.  The bunker is not a bad spot!


#17 plays along the 4th, but in the opposite direction.  To earn a view of the green one must hit a good drive into the left rough unless extraordinarily long. Most will face the uphill approach blindly over the corner of the right dune. This isn't one of my favourite holes, but it is awkward and challenging.




Wallasey comes home in grand style.  A large dune cuts in from the right necessitating a thoughtful drive.  If playing from the back tees, its all out war to hit a long enough drive to reach the green in two even though it will be a blind approach.


An old photo of 18.


The approach after a lonnnggg drive.  This is an old photo prior to the clubhouse work which expanded the terrace.


A look at the house from the 9th tee.


There can be little doubt Wallasey is a class course.  If one is hard pressed to look for faults, the lack of interesting green surfaces and the flat holes let the course down somewhat.  There are unquestionably some very good holes such as 3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15 and 18.  Predictably, these are holes playing through rough and tumble terrain. If one is playing Hoylake, or in North Wales/Lancashire, strong consideration should be given to Wallasey to round out a trip.   2023

Ran's Review.
http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/england/wallasey000274/

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 25, 2023, 04:15:41 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Tiger_Bernhardt

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 10:53:12 AM »
Thanks Sean, I would love to see some of Formby as well. cheers

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 11:15:32 AM »
Sean:

Another wonderful tour.

I have to admit to not liking those arbitrary, fairway-wide patches of rough like the kind found here on #1. I don't quite understand this approach, something even my local muni seems fond of lately.

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 03:28:14 PM »
I love Wallasey and, given its exposure to the wind, I don't think you would want to find greens with greater contour. They are hard enough to hit and hold and many, such as the 16th, are on such superb sites that you don't need artificial contour. How was the rough? 

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2012, 06:50:28 PM »
The routing is the anti-Muirfield, with the front nine tee shots always in danger of trouble to the right.

There is a plaque honoring Dr. Stableford on the second tee; he was inspired to create his scoring system (pick up after double for zero points) by this hole.  You can see why, the fescue rough on both sides of this long dogleg right is kept at waist high!

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC New
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2012, 09:48:57 AM »
Phil

I am not for or against rough breaking up fairways.  I tend to view it like I would a creek or a cross bunker - a few times a round is fine.  However, in this case it seems to me there is a natural dune to house a large bunker leaving space to the right for a gambler.

Mark

Yes, there are quite a few raised greens, but many low-lying ones as well.  I think there is plenty of scope to add interest to the greens. 

Brian

Strangely, the industrial/town backdrop doesn't bother me as it never visually crowds out the course.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 15, 2023, 02:35:59 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Jim Eder

Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2012, 01:29:46 PM »
Great photo tour Sean!!

Wallasey is truly wonderful and Sean captures it superbly. The flatter 4 holes (6, 7, 13 and 14) are a bit pedestrian but 13 has a nice greensite. The rest is pretty dramatic as can be seen in the pics. It is well worth playing.

If one is in the area I would highly recommend the Wirral Lodge Boutique Hotel. I just stayed there and it is newly renovated and updated, the breakfasts are terrific, the people are fantastic, the room I had was large, and it is just a few minutes to Hoylake (just make a left out of it, go thru a roundabout, and Hoylake is there on the right - EASY). I will be coming back there time and time again.

Thanks Sean for another great tour.

Tiger_Bernhardt

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2012, 09:57:48 PM »
Sean thank you and wow that lives up to my expectations of this classic course. I am trying to figure out how you got those sunny skies for a back drop.

Dónal Ó Ceallaigh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2012, 08:31:37 AM »
Thanks for the photo tour Sean. You got a great day and the photos turned out well.

Do you know which greens Steel rebuilt? Was there any noticable difference between them and the other greens?

I'm curious about the 18th. The approach seems narrow and could be a problem if playing into the wind, although I guess the prevailing wind ensures that the hole plays downwind more often than not.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2012, 06:04:13 PM »
Donal

I think Steel redid #s 9, 11 & 13.  I don't think they stand out as particularly unusual, but 9 and 13 are a bit more interesting than most on the course.

I didn't think the approach to 18 was narrow.  Of course, from the right side it is more open, but blind. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 06:10:31 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Duncan Cheslett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2013, 02:44:30 AM »
I visited Wallasey for the first time yesterday, taking part in their Gent's Open. I loved the course, but would have preferred a trial run berfore taking it on under competion conditions!

I agree wholeheartedly with Sean's assessment of the routing; it cannnot be denied that the flat holes are in themselves rather uninteresting and reminiscent of so many uninspired 'Farmer's Field' golf courses. Coming as they do however, in brief bursts breaking up the drama in the dunes, one is actually rather glad of the respite and the opportunity to restore some respectability to one's card.

Fittingly, the competition was a Stableford format, and this threw up a rather bizzare set of stroke indices. SI 1, 2, and 3 are all par fives of no particular terror, while the fourth - very similar - par five languishes at SI 16. I was somewhat exasperated to negotiate successfully a very tough set of four short holes in level par and to receive only 8 points for my efforts - this off a handicap of 16! (We were playing 3/4 allowance).

I know that Stroke Index is not solely an indication of a hole's difficulty but it has to said that Wallasey's distribution is just plain weird!

All in all though, it was a fabulous day and I can recommend Wallasey to anyone visiting the North West. My name will be down for next year's Open as soon as it is available. At £30 it represented value for money of Arblesque proportions...
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 02:53:15 AM by Duncan Cheslett »

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2013, 09:42:01 AM »
Was fortunate to play there this past Sunday, July 21.

Terrific course-great variety, great terrain-particularly when contrasted with Hoylake.

I enjoyed both, but would give the nod to Wallasey.

Interestingly, while having a drink afterwards, a Hoylake member out of the blue told me there was considerable debate about which course was better--Hoylake or Wallasey, and wanted to know my opinion.
I did my best Gary Player impression and told him why Hoylake of course, and that it was the finest course of its kind ;) ;D
"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

ward peyronnin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2013, 11:11:50 PM »
Yank

I bear fond memories of this track. Great finish up against the clubhouse(balconie)
"Golf is happiness. It's intoxication w/o the hangover; stimulation w/o the pills. It's price is high yet its rewards are richer. Some say its a boys pastime but it builds men. It cleanses the mind/rejuvenates the body. It is these things and many more for those of us who truly love it." M.Norman

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2013, 04:20:54 AM »
Was fortunate to play there this past Sunday, July 21.

Terrific course-great variety, great terrain-particularly when contrasted with Hoylake.

I enjoyed both, but would give the nod to Wallasey.

Interestingly, while having a drink afterwards, a Hoylake member out of the blue told me there was considerable debate about which course was better--Hoylake or Wallasey, and wanted to know my opinion.
I did my best Gary Player impression and told him why Hoylake of course, and that it was the finest course of its kind ;) ;D

I think I too would give the preferential nod to Wallasey, but Hoylake is a better course.  The main reason for this opinion is the flat holes are streets ahead of Wallasey's.  Luckily, Wallasey enjoys more dunes so it has less flat holes.  I haven't been to Wallasey in a year, but man the last several visits have been for their Open and the rough has been just brutal.  This year, we chose to go play in Hesketh's Open which is on 17 Aug.  I spose folks are always going to want to play Hoylake as its one of the top few clubs in England, certainly right there with Sandwich.  If one is in Hoylake it makes sense to play Wallasey or if one can't get on Hoylake, Wallasey is a good fall back course if in the area. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 04:05:35 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2013, 09:41:32 AM »
I will be playing Wallasey Friday, August 9, late in the afternoon.

If there are any GCA'ers in the area interested in playing, please IM me.

Bob

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2013, 09:45:37 AM »
I will be playing Wallasey Friday, August 9, late in the afternoon.

If there are any GCA'ers in the area interested in playing, please IM me.

Bob

I wish I was going to be, Wallasey is great fun!  You will love the Bobby Jones portrait in the clubhouse, same thing at Hoylake.   What a handsome guy he was, and looks great in a blue sweater.   

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2013, 09:52:41 AM »
I will be playing Wallasey Friday, August 9, late in the afternoon.

If there are any GCA'ers in the area interested in playing, please IM me.

Bob

You will love the Bobby Jones portrait in the clubhouse, same thing at Hoylake.   What a handsome guy he was, and looks great in a blue sweater.   

Perhaps for free drinks I tell Bob Jones stories?

Bob


Lynn_Shackelford

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2013, 11:25:50 AM »
I will be playing Wallasey Friday, August 9, late in the afternoon.

If there are any GCA'ers in the area interested in playing, please IM me.

Bob

You will love the Bobby Jones portrait in the clubhouse, same thing at Hoylake.   What a handsome guy he was, and looks great in a blue sweater.   

Perhaps for free drinks I tell Bob Jones stories?

Bob



Bob, maybe.  I found the members on the balcony and their 4 or 5 empty glasses quite enjoyable to talk to.  You can tell them about Bobby and they can tell you about Stableford.  On a good day the deck overlooking the 18th is one of the best in golf.
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

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2013, 11:39:21 AM »
I will be playing Wallasey Friday, August 9, late in the afternoon.

If there are any GCA'ers in the area interested in playing, please IM me.

Bob

You will love the Bobby Jones portrait in the clubhouse, same thing at Hoylake.   What a handsome guy he was, and looks great in a blue sweater.   

Perhaps for free drinks I tell Bob Jones stories?

Bob



Depending on with whom you are playing, you'll probably get free drinks anyway!

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2018, 02:15:51 PM »
Had the opportunity to play Wallasey recently (in a hat blowing off gale) and was impressed.
Many a fine, interesting and challenging hole, particularly 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 11, 15, 16 and a nice finisher at 18, which my playing partner drove (yikes!). Not quite so enamoured of the flatter holes however, blander, but then again making bland land into interesting, challenging and memorible holes must be a lot more difficult than laying out holes in visually stimulating big dunes, and Wallasey has quite a few big dunes.
Seems like the course has been tweaked a few times over the year and when I walked up to the par-3 9th, I looked at the green and immediately thought ‘Donald Steel’, and reading the comments above I can see I was spot on! One hole that I thought particularly memorible is the 16th, one damn hard and long par-3.
I didn’t appreciate beforehand that the Wallasey course was as good as it is so thanks GCA posters for highlighting it to me.
Atb
Edit. Some photos from 2018 now added.





« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 02:08:12 PM by Thomas Dai »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2018, 04:23:14 AM »
ATB

Yes, Wallasey is good, but as you say a bit let down by the flatter holes.  I think the 6th has great potential.  This is where Hoylake really steps up and makes a difference compared to Wallasey...so it is very possible to create good flat holes even on a property with a handful of such holes.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 04:40:10 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Peter Pallotta

Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2018, 09:50:52 AM »
I'll opine once again that, when features such as hazards need to be created in order to facilitate the playing of a game, said hazards actually draw less (not more) attention to themselves when they stand out rather than when they attempt to blend in, i.e. they are more appealing and even fit the (golf) landscape better when they proudly wear their *function* on their sleeve instead of serving both a function and some aesthetic role by trying to look natural.  In short: can anyone bring up a single complaint against the look/placement/function of the bunkers at Wallasey?

Thanks, Sean
Peter 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 09:55:41 AM by Peter Pallotta »

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2018, 10:57:14 AM »
In short: can anyone bring up a single complaint against the look/placement/function of the bunkers at Wallasey?



I've still never been to Wallasey.  I'm influenced that Mr. Darwin was so eloquent about it, and most of what he loved is long gone.  But also I just haven't been in that neck of the woods in the past 25-30 years.


So, I'm just judging by pictures.  In general, I agree with your comment that the bunkers are better than if they tried to make them look natural or pretty.  A lot of people insist that bunkers have to be big because of "scale," but in the UK you often do not see that much of the shape of the bunker from the tee, so "scale" is much less of a factor.


The only place where it really comes into the picture is when you see all the bunkers clearly, as with the picture of the 12th.  Those bunkers, I don't like.  Too many, too symmetric, and they clearly have to be rebuilt regularly as it looks like the faces get worn from exposure to sun and golfers.


By contrast, the pics of the bunkers at the 5th, 9th, 11th, 18th, etc. are lovely.  You see they are lurking for you, but they blend into the terrain.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2018, 08:55:37 PM »
I'll opine once again that, when features such as hazards need to be created in order to facilitate the playing of a game, said hazards actually draw less (not more) attention to themselves when they stand out rather than when they attempt to blend in, i.e. they are more appealing and even fit the (golf) landscape better when they proudly wear their *function* on their sleeve instead of serving both a function and some aesthetic role by trying to look natural.  In short: can anyone bring up a single complaint against the look/placement/function of the bunkers at Wallasey?

Thanks, Sean
Peter

Pietro

Can't say I agree with you.  IMO created hazards draw more attention...but then practically all hazards are created....even on sandy sites.  The bunkers which don't draw much attention are pots which are hunkered down.  I think golfers have to train themselves to take care...especially on courses with gathering bunkers such as Carnoustie. 

I don't think Wallasey's bunkers are special...just average pots in terms of placement and look.  The main visual negative about pots is on downhill shots...they are exposed for what they really are...little ovals which often look under-sized...especially when they are clustered.  On flat and uphill holes the situation is fine.  If you want to see well done pots go to Hoylake and see the flat holes.  Mind you, I think because of the water table the bunkers can sometimes flood in winter. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 08:13:24 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Wondrous WALLASEY GC New
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2020, 05:43:53 AM »
After a long layoff I returned to Wallasey recently.  It is a better course than my memory allowed, but I can't say I like it any more than previously.  The club has revised the annex side of the house and created a larger patio.  It looks much better and demonstrates that a house near the 18th green is a massive benefit.  Anyway, see the very updated tour above.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 10, 2023, 12:24:59 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend & Alnmouth

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