Golf Course Review of Fleetwood Golf Club
Fleetwood Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: Often goes under the radar but a very good true links course
Our 5 Star Rating: 3.7
I like nice surprises. And that's exactly what I got when I played Fleetwood Golf Club for the first time in August 2013.
With so many notable courses, including no less than three Open Championship venues, lying relatively close to the south of Fleetwood it's a course that often goes under the radar.
Tucked away in the North-West corner of Fylde the type of links golf here is of the traditional, straight-forward type. There are hardly any blind tee-shots and very little quirkiness. What you see is what you get at Fleetwood. Good shots are generally rewarded well whilst errant drives are likely to find the tangly rough, that lines the generous fairways, and stray approaches could easily find deep bunkers.
The club lays claim to be the home of the first links course in England with records dating back to 1861 positively stating that golf was played by Army officers on the links at Fleetwood
There are similarities to nearby St. Annes Old Links in that the terrain is relatively flat. However, at Fleetwood there are a few more changes in elevation and they are used exceptionally well to give a much more undulating feel to the round. The type of greenside bunkering is also very similar but here you will find many more fairway hazards which must be avoided at all costs if you are to score well and which really tightens the course up.
The start at Fleetwood is fairly innocuous; it opens with a short par four arching from right to left slightly with the main danger out-of-bounds down the left. The second is of similar style and direction but around 80 yards longer.
You then turn back to the clubhouse and start a run of excellent holes. The third is the longest of the par threes at 190 yards and is bunkered on both sides with marshland behind the green for anything too long. The fourth plays as a left-to-right hole with a new green, slightly out of sync with the rest of the course, partially hidden amongst the largest dunes on the course. It's a nice looking hole but the adjacent fairway that runs up along the shore to the old green (out of service after the sea flooded the course) is a much better hole. The fifth is stroke one and requires long straight hitting to reach the green with a fabulous gathering bunker right in the centre of the fairway. The next is a delightful short hole played at right-angles to the rest of the course.
The front nine closes with three holes that see the full range of par. The seventh is 430 yards and dog-legs slightly right-to-left but with the land falling the other way it makes for a challenging drive. The short eighth is played to a raised green with huge, deep bunkers eagerly waiting for anything short or to the right. And you return to the clubhouse, closing a loop that encircles the back-nine, with a par five of almost 550 yards.
The 10th is another par five that runs in the opposite direction. A lone bunker close to the front left of the green dictates that an approach from the right is required. This is something prevalent throughout the round at Fleetwood; many of the holes are dead-straight but one side is favoured to the other in order to give the best angle of attack, subject to hole location.
The 11th is another excellent short hole before the third par five in the space of four holes greets you at the 12th. The only totally blind drive on the course comes at the 13th where you must hit over a large bunker that obscures the view. Hole 14 is also a strong hole and comes just prior to another par five (par for the back-nine is 38 compared to 34 for the front).
Holes 16 and 17 are arguably the best on the course. The first is the straighter of the two but also the longer whilst the 17th curves to the left with three staggered bunkers on the left, which can be carried depending upon how far you hit, and a lone bunker on the right for those who bail out. The green sits at an inviting angle with more bunkers close to the green.
The 18th is tame for a finishing hole at 323 yards but with bunkers on the corner of the dog-leg it will tempt those looking to finish in style to try and chew just a little bit too much off.
As with all links courses the ferocity and direction of the wind will dictate play (and scoring). On my visit there was a cross wind on virtual all the holes. This didn't really help on any hole, neither did it hinder, but it made accessing the flags particularly difficult and therefore birdies were hard to come by.
Despite being left somewhat in the shadows by other links courses in Lancashire, there's no doubt this true links should be considered for a visit if planning a trip to England's North-West coast.
A follow up visit on the first of November, when the course was playing much softer, gave the the links a much different appearance to the one I first sampled in the height of summer. It played much the better when the course was firm and fast.
Club Website: www.fleetwoodgolf.co.uk
Tournaments: Open golf competitions at Fleetwood Golf Club.
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