Links Along the Line

The Story of the Development of Golf Between Liverpool and Southport


Harry Foster


The Birkdale and Ainsdale Historical Research Soci, Southport, 1996
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Printing Details

First edition, first printing. Hardback in dustwrapper. 22.5 × 16cm, xii + 123pp.

South-west Lancashire boasts the largest, and arguably the finest, tract of coastal sand dunes in the country and is the home of an extraordinary cluster of golf courses. These clubs have justifiably attained an international reputation: both Southport and Ainsdale and Royal Birkdale have hosted Ryder Cup matches with the United States, and Royal Birkdale is a regular venue for the Open Championship; whilst West Lancashire, Formby, Hillside and Hesketh have for many years staged major championships and representative matches, both amateur and professional.

A feature of this golfing coast is Merseyrail's Northern Line. West Lancashire, Formby, Southport and Ainsdale and Hillside all have holes where a slice or a pull will put a ball over the railway fence and 'out of bounds'. The same was true of the Freshfield Club until the Royal Air Force requisitioned its links for an airfield during the Second World War. Royal Birkdale does not flank 'the Line', although contemporary professionals could probably drive a ball from this course, across the Hillside links, onto the railway.

This book tells the story of the pioneers who founded the clubs, emphasising the critical roles played by the landowners and the railway company and the relationship of the promotion of golf to their commercial interests. It examines of the visionary contribution of the local authority, and—a dimension understandably neglected in individual club histories—the crucial inter-relationships between the clubs in the early years. The golfers, many members of more than one of the clubs, truly formed a community. Golf in south-west Lancashire is placed in its social, economic and spatial setting and it is argued that golf was not merely a response to change but one of the engines of change.


This copy is in very good condition, with just a little wear to the wrapper's edges.





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