Former county golfer Dave Peel has played all over the country, but apart from his home club, Stockport, where he enjoyed his first proper swings of a club, nowhere has he racked up more rounds than Royal Liverpool – more often know as Hoylake.
During his 22 years representing Cheshire, Peel accumulated a number of prestigious titles, including the County Championship, the Birkdale Silver Goblet and Gerald Micklem Cup at Sunningdale.
He’s never happier, though, when teeing it up at the famous Open venue, where he enjoyed many a good round competing in the British Amateur, British Mid Amateur and English Amateur.
“I’ve just fallen in love with the place,” he says, as many golfers do. His fondness for the historic links was established well before he won the Club Championship at Royal Liverpool in 2022, his first year as a member.
Peel’s love of Hoylake wasn’t even diminished by a card-wrecking 10 on Little Eye – the devilish new par-3 17th that was filmed by his playing partner and went viral on social media.
Keen to find out more about the shots required to conquer the Open layout – and what the world’s best players will face at the 151st Open Championship in July – fellow Hoylake member and Golf Monthly editor, Mike Harris, teed it up with Peel in the 2023 Spring Medal.
After Peel had signed for a magnificent level-par 72 that included 4 birdies, the pair sat down to talk strategy. Here, Peel offers his hole-by-hole guide to Hoylake’s Championship layout.
1, Royal, Par 4, 459 yards
Playing away from the clubhouse, the 1st is a slight dogleg left. The ideal drive puts you close to the traps down the right, to give you the best view of a long and large green, which is slightly angled across the fairway. Left is best avoided, and it’s no easy task getting up-and-down should you miss the putting surface.
2, Stand, Par 4, 453 yards
A good play is to aim at the fairway trap on the left and fade it off that, which will take the shorter bunkers on the right out of play. Right is often ‘dead’, and the less loft you’re coming in with the better, due to the many undulations on the green. Pin positions can be made very tricky, with a front location particularly demanding.
3, Course, Par 4, 426 yards
A brave tee shot is needed to get as far towards the…
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