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Royal Liverpool (Hoylake)

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Founded: 1869
Designer: Robert Chambers and George Morris
Championship Length: 7,218 yards
PAR: 72
Type: Links
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Royal Liverpool, aka Hoylake, can be equally beautiful, uplifting, awe inspiring and, on occasion, soul-destroying. Currently GOLF Magazine has the course listed as #65 in the world. The links was created to be a demanding test of golf and remains so. They lie at the very heart of the history and development of golf in Great Britain.

Royal Liverpool was built in 1869 on the horse track of the Liverpool Hunt Club. Hoylake is the oldest of all the English seaside courses with the exception of Westward Ho! in Devon. The original design of Hoylake was overseen by Robert Chambers and George Morris, younger brother of Old Tom Morris. The course was extended to 18 holes in 1871, then later that year the Club was granted its Royal designation thanks to the patronage of His Royal Highness The Duke of Connaught.

For the first seven years the land still doubled as a golf course and a horse racing track. Echoes of this heritage can be found today in the names of the first and eighteenth holes, ‘Course’ and ‘Stand’. While also, the original saddling bell still hangs in the club house. Once the horses had been dispatched to pastures new, Hoylake began to take its place in the history of golf and the amateur game in particular.

Notable amateur tournaments held at Royal Liverpool:

  • 1885 – The first to host the Amateur Championship
  • 1902 – The first international match between England and Scotland, later to become the Home Internationals
  • 1921 – The first international match between Great Britain and the USA, which we now know as The Walker Cup


In fact, it is Royal Liverpool’s contribution to the amateur game that sets it apart from all other clubs in England. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews became the governing body in golf. However, it was at Hoylake that the rules of amateur status were laid down.

Notable Hoylake Champions:

John Ball

John Ball is often considered England’s greatest golfer. He was the first Englishman to win The Open Championship in 1890. That same year he won his second Amateur Championship. This made him the first ever player from any region to win both in the same year. Ball was a man who let his game do his talking. He was described as shy, modest, and went about his business without any wasted motion. Today, John Ball still owns the record for being the eight time Amateur Championship winner. In the words of Donald Steele, “No golfer ever came to be more of a legend in his own lifetime.”

Harold Hilton

Harold Hilton’s record was just as impressive. He won the Open twice, in l892 (the first year the Open was played over 72 holes) and again five years later. This made him the only amateur apart from John Ball and Bobby Jones to win the title. His victory at Hoylake in 1897 was marked 100 years later by the creation of a new, annual Harold Hilton Medal tournament open to amateur golfers aged 30 or more and handicap 5 or less.

Hilton also won the Amateur Championship four times in 1900, 1901, 1911, and 1913. He was also runner-up on three occasions and won the US Amateur Championship in 1911. The man was obviously no slacker. In the same year he still found time to become the first editor of the new Golf Monthly magazine.

Bobby Jones

No history of Hoylake would be complete without mention of the legendary Bobby Jones. 1930 would be the year that sealed his decent into golf greatness. After winning the Open Championship in Hoylake, Jones would go on to win both the US Open and the US Amateur completing his remarkable Grand Slam (Jones won The Amateur Championship in St Andrews earlier that season).

Shortly afterwards, finding himself with no golfing peaks left to conquer, he retired from the game. He was only 28 years old.

Today’s game at Hoylake:

Much time has passed since then, but the Hoylake links are still very much among the toughest and most demanding tests of golf. In recent years, under the guidance of renowned course architect, Donald Steel, the course has been lengthened and upgraded to take on twenty-first century technology and increasingly athletic big hitters.

In July 2006 the fabled mighty winds did not blow. But there was no denying that another mighty champion was born… in the shape of one Eldrick “Tiger” Woods.

Ask us about Royal Liverpool and the other magnificent courses England’s Golf Coast has to offer.

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Scotland testimonial 2012


“Just wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful time in Scotland. The arrangements were perfect – your partners in Scotland, especially the chauffeur/guide…… ……, were excellent. The ……. Hotel was excellent too. ……. went out of his way to make sure the weather was favorable for golfing by switching our dates after he checked on the weather…

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