Located just south of Liverpool, Hoylake is one of the 9 links courses that currently form the Open Rota- and host the ( British ) Open on rotation.
Built in 1869, the course was redesigned by Harry Colt in the early 20th century, and has remained substantially unchanged since..
Liverpool is famous for a couple of soccer teams, and four top mop musicians who called themselves The Beatles- you will hear Beatles tunes playing constantly on any stay in the area- and indeed The Beatles museum is a wonderful way to spend a few hours...
Hoylake has hosted the Open Championship 11 times, most recently in 2006 when Tiger Woods put in a very determined and emotional effort to win after the passing of his father Earl.
Other notable winners include Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, and Peter Thomson.
The course has also hosted The Walker Cup, The Curtis Cup, The Women's Open and The Amateur Championship a remarkable 18 times
When Tiger won in 2006, he famously used irons off the tee for all 4 rounds, keeping the ball in play and out of the fearsome bunkers, and the long rough. I can now see why this strategy was so succesful. I would suggest that a further benefit to his strategy was the ability to hit approach shots from far enough out to be able spin the ball a little and stop it on the greens.
Hoylake is located on a tight parcel of land partly surrounded by housing, and partly on the Wirral Peninsula.
The opening and closing holes in the housed area are extremely flat, and the interest in the holes comes from the long rough, bunkering, and out of bounds areas. The first hole is a dogleg around the practice area which also abuts the 1st green- played in a cross wind it only takes one bad bounce and you are out of bounds...
The fairways are relatively tight at Hoylake, and whilst they are predominantly flat, they produce an inordinate amount of wayward bounces- even the straightest of drives can happily bumble off into the multitude of bunkers or rough.
That can be frustrating!
Hence Tiger's famous strategy!
However I think it is the greens that are the main defence at Hoylake. They are firm and not overly underlating - just enough to keep your interest...
Most of the bunkering is toward the front of the greens, some of which slope from front to back, and all of which it is no easy task to stop the ball on...
Whilst this is a test worthy of champions, I think the course displays a certain "sameness" in that most approach shots must land just short or on the front of greens to stop on the putting surface...and of of course this is where the majority of bunkers are located.
Don't get me wrong- I very much enjoyed the challenge of playing Hoylake, and would rush back to play it again at the first opportunity, BUT I don't rate it quite as highly as some of the other Open Rota courses
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf tour to suit your group. For trip suggestions see Destinations. Note also that Royal Liverpool features as one of the courses played on The Open Rota Tour- a hosted tournament playing all the current Open Championship courses