I arrived at Alwoodley with mixed expectations given that it was my first foray into heathland golf and also that it was Mackenzies first go at course design. I needn’t have worried. The day was magnificent. The course, facilities and greeting from members and staff were of the highest quality, and whilst the course layout felt like it hadn't changed since creation everything else felt modern and up to date.
My main memory will be the arrival to the first tee. Unparalleled pressure awaits as up to 50 members and guests are sat in a cauldron behind the first tee, heckle at the ready. The clubhouse was also excellent. I especially liked it’s modern design and it’s use of light coloured wood, I presume to match the colours on the course.
After playing the first hole you get a feel for the strategy needed to play well here. Staying out of the rough and especially the purple heather is paramount. The course requires you to plot your way around the and at times shape shots to avoid run outs and hazards. It’s certainly requires a lot of plotting your way around and the requirements can be too much for mid to high handicappers. You’ve got to bring your best golf to the course to survive and the demand can and did overwhelm my golf game on the day. It is one of the hardest courses i’ve played and not one for the faint hearted.
I thought the stand outs were holes 7,9,10,17 and 18. All of which had spectacular views and design. The condition was of the very highest standard that i’ve been fortunate to play. I’d played Turnberry two days before and I thought that Alwoodley was in just as good if not maybe even slightly better condition (sorry Donald).
My only gripe on the day were with holes 4 and 5. The fourth was too difficult off the yellow tees for all but the lowest handicap golfer and hole 5 fairway didn’t allow shots onto it. All our group who hit the fairway ended up in thick rough down the right hand side due to the severity of the slope and it felt unfair and must be something the management are looking to change.
All in all Alwoodley is a perfect destination for premium golf. It’s picturesque, is of high difficulty, has a world class course and is very well priced (in my opinion). If you’re looking to play the best courses in Yorkshire Alwoodley has got to be in the equation. A true hidden gem.
Date: September 06, 2020