You know how it goes – every July the park’s public tennis courts full of people unconvincingly throwing balls up in the air, only to whack them into a net. The lingering whiff of strawberries and cream enough to convince people to fish out their old tennis rackets for a coupe of weeks.
There was a similar burst in biking activity following the heroics of Hoy and Wiggins in the Olympics – Liverpool’s rather lovely promenade suddenly bustling with people wobbling along on their brand new push bikes.
We’re expecting a similar burst of interest in golf, a game that generally only makes an impact on our consciousness every two years at the very end of the Summer.
For the record we spent last night frantically refreshing the BBC live feed and eventually left The Caledonia, where the excellent Loose Moose were playing, to sit in a car outside listening to 5 Live.
Yup, it’s Ryder Cup time and judging by the deluge of social media activity from people who are self-confessed golf novices, we thought we’d flag up a couple of places in our fair city where you can whack the odd ball, grasp a hefty wood and sink a long one, should the mood take you.
The council runs two municipal golf courses in the city: one in the north and one in the south. South Liverpool’s Allerton Golf Course can be played for a measly £6.80 on a weekday for nine holes.
Both Allerton and Liverpool North Golf Course at Kirkby offer 18 holes for 11 quid during the week – there’s scarcely a cheaper per-hour way of spending an afternoon at that cash and the pay-and-play courses represent the easiest way to get onto fairways in Liverpool. Meanwhile both council-run courses offer group deals, with 18 holes and two-course meals from £16 during midweek.
Aintree golf course offers nine holes that can be played from £8 during the week. The course is relatively new and also boasts a floodlit driving range that’s open until 10pm on weekdays. There are other driving ranges in Netherley, Formby and Port Sunlight where you can mangle drives for a couple of quid alongside plenty of other novices.
If you don’t feel ready for the whole 409 yards, then Lee Park Golf Academy in Gateacre offers golf lessons at a reasonable £70 for five 30-minute one-on-one lessons with a PGA Professional.
You can also pay £40 green fees for a day’s golf at the club, which was established back in the 50’s when the city’s Jewish population found it difficult to gain membership to Liverpool’s existing golf courses.
If you want to tackle some of the world’s best, well you can head over the water to Hoylake (below) – also known as Royal Liverpool) or head north to Royal Birkdale near Southport (above, left).
Both are used to host The Open and, as a result, represent very much the higher end of a day’s golfing on Merseyside. Indeed, both are regarded – along with Lancashire’s Royal Lytham and Saint Anne’s, also within striking distance – as some of the best golf courses in the country, if not the world.
Hoylake offers visitor green fees from £100 or day-long package deals for larger groups. £130 will currently buy you a round of golf, sandwich and soup at Royal Birkdale but you’ll have to book in advance and display a certain knowledge of golf and appropriate etiquette.
Both are links courses near the coast and, as a result, offer wonderful views and a wide range of wildlife. Royal Birkdale also boasts a stunning art deco clubhouse that is the famous backdrop for the 18th green.
If that all sounds a bit rich for your blood and you prefer your golf crazy, there’s Jungle Rumble in Liverpool One has two 18-hole crazy golf courses plus pitch-and-putt “in various jungle theme settings”.
36 holes will set you back £11 if that sounds more to your liking – and there’s a golf simulator that will allow you to play some of the best courses in the world. We’re guessing plus fours are not required.
Images by aldisley, Richard Carter and wirral corporate challenge respectively via Flickr