Nestled amid the vast acres of farmland and bustling industrial estates of Merseyside, Merseyside is an increasingly popular area for golfing vacations. In reality, it is a haven for workaholics, and it has perhaps gained this notoriety because many of its residents are multi-millionaires.
“It’s a very positive place with a rich history,” said Alex Garbutt, whose estate agent’s firm is based in nearby Birkenhead. “The golf courses are a great asset and it is a very romantic place.”
According to a recent Welsh Assembly survey, working couples in Merseyside are the most dynamic and influential in their local communities. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, one of the city’s main expatriate neighborhoods is Birkenhead, a once industrial metropolis, now a home to a variety of working class elites.
It was here that local soccer star John Barnes discovered he was homosexual before he came out publicly in 1992. According to an article published in the 2012 YouTube documentary, Merseyside: Story of Britain’s Football Cities, Barnes recounted a time when he was tormented by homophobes at the local football club. According to Barnes, the most common homophobic taunt he heard was, “I’ll punch you in the balls.”
Stopping an employee from throwing a bottle towards a gay teammate, Barnes proclaimed, “I’ll take your balls off you before you hit me.”
However, Barnes’ home city isn’t the only popular destination for those with a love of golf. With its vast, leafy coves and sprawling mansions, Liverpool is a prime golfing location as well. One of Liverpool’s popular private clubs is Mersey, a beauty-oriented establishment, which also boasts two of the area’s best courses: Hill Course and Midlands Open.
While the golfing areas in Merseyside undoubtedly have advantages over their counterparts in the United States, the locals have expressed concern that at least one sport – they can’t say which – is luring away the rich and famous.
On April 27, a real estate agent in nearby Liverpool accused billionaire golfer Donald Trump of trying to have his fair share of the action. Garbutt criticized Trump’s plan to build a golf course in the golf-rich area and said that the tycoon’s inclusion of an international golf tournament in a property development just outside Liverpool made it appear as if the billionaire intended to build his own golf course on the location.
Such complaints aren’t uncommon. In 2010, people living near a construction site in Cleveland, Ohio complained about construction on the site of a proposed casino, which hit a vocal backlash due to it being adjacent to a residential area. Many of the original citizens of Cleveland’s inner city had left the area only to be replaced by middle-class and affluent residents. They wanted a change, and they also criticized the construction of the casino, which apparently had lured away all the restaurants, shops and other businesses that would have closed when it went into effect. It was only years later that much of Cleveland’s residential community returned to the city and started supporting their original businesses again.
“It has a lovely lifestyle to live in Merseyside,” Garbutt noted. “You can do your business and you don’t have to worry about the roads. It is a real traditional kind of Union, similar to the Anglo-Saxon (union).”
In fact, Merseyside’s rich history seems to have a lot to do with its charm. Late-1800s pin manufacturing in the area is often credited with setting the golden standard for manufacturing pin industry in North America. However, Pin manufacturing ceased in the region in the mid-19th century, and regional manufacturing began to falter in the mid-19th century.
Unfortunately, there is one giant flaw in Merseyside’s economic revival: the English food industry. Most of Merseyside’s best known brands are currently international and must rely on other countries to continue supplying them with locally produced ingredients. Sure, it may not always be possible to get your steak fresh from the broiler, but it’s never too late to head back to Merseyside for some fresh seafood.