In Reception, to the right of the clubhouse as you look at it from the car park, visitors are likely to meet one or more parts of a trinity committed to making a day at Hoylake a special one. Reservations Coordinator, Andrew, along with starters Martin and Mark, will cheerfully settle you in and later get you on your way across the links. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions - and pick up your free, souvenir copy of Royal Liverpool’s annual magazine.
Beyond lies the Shop, where Head Professional, Michael Jones, and his team are on hand to meet any golfing needs. There is a fine array of equipment, along with clothing and kit emblazoned with the Royal Liverpool crest.
Mid-way between Reception and the Shop is the door that leads to the Locker Room. You will have been given a 4 figure PIN to open it. Once through, take the door on your left and make yourself at home. You can secure belongings in a locker if you so wish, and change into golf wear at your leisure. There are well appointed washroom and shower areas here, too. Ladies will be guided or escorted through the Hall and Hilbre Room to their equally well appointed changing room.
From the locker rooms you can visit the Lounge or Spike Bar, the latter recently given a complete makeover and the ideal place to prepare for your round of golf or relax afterwards. Here you can enjoy drinks, breakfast bites or a bar snack meal and enjoy the view across the course with the putting green in the foreground.
In fine weather it’s well worth venturing outside to take advantage of the new Piazza with its comfortable seating and sunshades. It’s not strictly speaking a piazza. The word nods to a reference on the original late 19th century plans of the clubhouse to an outdoor space that was never constructed - until 2017.
Double doors from the Spike Bar take you to the Hall where you can see Royal Liverpool’s honours board and an intriguing section of the Club’s golfing memorabilia. Beyond another set of double doors hangs the saddling bell that reminds us of Hoylake’s former life as a Victorian racecourse.
Adjoining the Lobby is a room named Hilbre. Devoted to ladies’ golf it was named after the Dee estuary island you’ll see while playing the coast holes. The Bar next to it opens right on to the Piazza.
While the Club is keen to avoid slow play, it’s worth taking the Staircase at a leisurely pace to appreciate the pictures of golfing legends hanging there. These include Harold Hilton, John Ball, Jack Graham and Bobby Jones, captured in his Grand Slam year of 1930 when he won the Hoylake Open and sat for a handful of famous portraits by the celebrated J. A. A. Berrie.
At the top of the Staircase is the entrance to the Club Room. Its appeal was summed up in inimitable fashion many years ago by the good golfer and great writer, Bernard Darwin, when he pondered rounds at Formby, Lytham and Hoylake: “Those three lordy Clubhouses all have one characteristic in common in that their smoking rooms are on the first floor. So from each we get a fine stretch of view of the links and we can see people putting immediately below us. Those two features – a view over the course and an opportunity of laughing at our friends are to my mind of an importance hard to exaggerate.” Needless to say, the days of smoking have long gone.
The Dining Room next door also offers a fine view over the course and well beyond it on a clear day. It is a pleasing space in which to enjoy Royal Liverpool’s excellent hospitality over lunch or dinner.
At the other side of the Club Room you can access the Card Room. Here too are some notable pictures from golf’s past, along with a display case of ancient clubs, some of which - when it comes to striking a ball any distance in a straight line - defy the imagination.
Next to the Card Room is the Library, which overlooks the first tee and is home to a fine collection of literature about golf in general and Hoylake in particular.
For anyone who finds stairs difficult, the clubhouse first floor is easily accessed by the Lift near the Locker Room.