The Takeaway: A storied list of Open winners are featured at Hoylake that proves its mettle. Much of the layout is flat and not as distinguished as other top tier links, but the new par three 15th (17th for the Open) is a top shelf offering that will have you yearning for more. Grade A-
Designer: George Morris & Robert Chambers 1871 (Original 9 holes 1869, Harry Colt 1920s)
Cost: £135 - £250 Click for current rates
Phone Number: +44 151 632 3101
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Royal Liverpool Golf Club Hoylake's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Meols Dr, Hoylake, Wirral CH47 4AL – UNITED KINGDOM
What to Expect: With 2023 marking the 13th time Royal Liverpool has hosted the Open Championship, the course often referred to as Hoylake for the town it resides is only surpassed by St Andrews, Muirfield, and Royal St George's for times acting as host in the modern day Open rota. The straightforwardness of the design and expansiveness of the property make it a natural as a selection for a championship venue and features a stellar list of winners including Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Peter Thompson, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy. Tiger Woods' win in 2006 was made famous by the fact that he hit driver once over the course of the four day tournament, electing instead to sting his 2-iron down the crusty firm fairways that Royal Liverpool is known for. Since these fairways produce uncharacteristically fair bounces for a links course, it is an effective strategy to score well here. The course is famously flat, if not uninspiring, and bordered by traditional residential housing. Of peculiar interest, and a virtually inexcusable feature, is the internal out of bounds driving range framed by mounds known as 'cops' and comes into play on the 1st and 16th holes. That becomes the 3rd and 18th holes in the Open routing as holes 17 and 18 in the traditional routing become the 1st and 2nd holes for the Open, the traditional opening hole becomes the 3rd hole during Open week, and then the course follows the natural sequence of holes with the traditional 16th acting as the finisher for the Championship. As is common with most courses in the UK, players will be required to walk but can rent a trolley to help tote their clubs around. Ultimately, Hoylake is a good track offering a fine test of skill, and the new par three 15th (17th for the Open) delivers much needed character to a layout that can get forgettable at times.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 15th Hole – 134 Yard Par 3 – The newest hole at Hoylake, and a brilliant offering, is the short uphill 15th (17th during the Open) which is a quality one-shotter that requires precision to conquer. The green is surrounded by menacing bunkers and the two sets of tee boxes deliver different angles to contend with when attacking the flag. Playing directly toward the sea, the wind is often in the player’s face which can cause shots to balloon and instantly creates difficulty in maintaining distance control. While the short distance to the flag indicates a birdie opportunity, missing the green can turn into a bogey faster here than anywhere else on the property.
Best Par 3: 11th Hole – 198 Yards – Playing parallel to the sea, the par three 11th presents a scenic setting with the green tucked into a dune on the right and is open on the left to the water. A pot bunker protects the front right corner of the green with the entrance to the putting surface sloping down and away. The oblong green is angled away to the player’s left and presents some interesting pin placements in the back third where the green slopes down and away to a tightly mown chipping area and bunkers. When the wind is coming off the sea, this hole poses a stout challenge and can be one of the more difficult greens to reach in regulation.
Best Par 4: 10th Hole – 444 Yards – The back nine starts with a classic dogleg left design with a relatively narrow fairway that is carved through the fescue. Direction more than distance is key on this hole as tee shots that leave the fairway have little chance of reaching the green in two. The bunkerless green features a swell in front that is deeper on the right side which should encourage players to approach up the left side for the best chance of tumbling their shot onto the putting surface. The dogleg heads directly towards the sea which often maximizes the amount of exposure to the elements, so take that into consideration when playing this two-shotter.
Best Par 5: 8th Hole – 503 Yards – The 8th runs parallel to the sea with a neighboring hole and some dunes separating it from the beach. The left side of the fairway is lined with ball-grubbing gorse which also helps protect the homes on the opposite side. A cross berm comes into play off the tee on the right half of the fairway with players having to decide whether to stay short of it or attempt to carry it in an effort to reach the green in two. The approach shot plays to a green that is raised slightly from the fairway leading up to it and requires players to deliver sufficient energy to the ball if attempting to skip one onto the putting surface utilizing the ground game. Tipping out just over 500 yards, this hole presents a great opportunity to card a birdie as the front nine begins to close.
Birdie Time: 2nd Hole – 366 Yard Par 4 – Royal Liverpool gives players a birdie opportunity early on with this short par four. Playing mostly straight away, tee shots that avoid the fairway bunkers on the left should be in prime shape to attack the green with their second shot. The green features more width than depth, so as long as you have your distance control down you should be able to yield yourself a birdie attempt. 3 wood off the tee, or any club you have confidence driving in the fairway, is a prudent decision as accuracy conquers distance on this hole.
Bogey Beware: 5th Hole – 479 Yard Par 4 – 479 yards is a long par four. Run a patch of rough across the fairway in front of the green so balls have to come in high and soft, and you have one challenging hole to walk away with par from. The tee shot features fescue and gorse on each side of the fairway with a baby fade being the ideal shot shape. The green angles away from the player with a pair of bunkers flanking the inside left line of the putting surface. There is nowhere to hide on this brute, you are going to have to step up and stripe a drive before delivering a long and true iron shot; anything less will result in a bogey.