What a treat Fixby turned out to be. I’d always had in mind that it was parkland, but reality is that it has more moorland qualities, with broom in bloom, springy fast running turf and a good portion of the course wide open, both visually and to the elements.
The long driveway in wends its way through bluebell woods and then the vast expanse of what turns out to be holes 1 -9, 10 and 18 can be seen in front of you, with the impressive hall. It reminded me somewhat of the drive into Hollinwell, albeit not on as grand a scale.
As you drive in you get a view of the 6th and 9th holes that cross the driveway and also the cross over between holes 1 and 9. This cross over in particular would not be designed into a modern course and immediately takes you back to a bygone era of golf course design.
The course played on almost 3 distinct parts - the 1st 9 holes, play away from the Hall and into what is a quite an open part of the course. Yes, there are trees lining the par 5 3rd and par 5 5th, the 6th and down the left of the 7th, but the overall feeling is of a somewhat open space. The crossover from the 9th as you are about to tee off on the 1st does take you by surprise, as do the members of the public on the public footpath, but its a good sequence of 9 holes. The hardest without doubt is the dog leg, uphill par 5 5th. Add wind against and it plays very long and hard indeed.
The front 9 has 2 par 3’s - all the par 3’s on the course were class, all strong, with excellent bunkering catching any shots that just come up shy.
The back 9 starts with a climb up one side of a hill, in front of the clubhouse and this forms part of the 2nd distinct part of the course - holes 10-11, 14-18, which play up, down, around the hill that’s provides stunning views across the Yorkshire countryside. The best views are from the green at the 10th and also on the ridge of the 18th.
The par 3 11th is a particularly attractive hole, played downhill (not downwind) 175 yards. This is the 2nd shortest hole as all par 3’s are 150 yards and longer.
The other standout hole in this segment is the 15th, played uphill, with a green standing above you, a Mckenzie style green protected by bunkers front and riight and surrounded by Broom in full yellow colour.
The 18th finishing hole is a blind tee shot up and over the ridge mentioned previously - not the best tee shot to be fair but playing down the other side to the narrow, well protected green and taking in the views across the property make this a good finishing hole from the 2nd shot!
The 3rd distinct segment is holes 12-13. These dont feel like they are attached to the rest of the course which is a shame because they are strong holes. The 12th plays a gentle sweeping hole right to left, around the edge of what may have been a quarried area in times gone by, to an uphill green and at 421 yards is a stiff test.
The 13th is a par 3, playing directly back below the 12th and at 205 yards is almost a short par 4 with the wind blowing! All the trouble is right - lost ball territory, so aim your shot to the left side of the green, minding the bunkers. The saving grace is should you find the green it is relatively flat. The hole pays better than it looks.
I can see why this course is so highly ranked in Yorkshire. it sits in the same quality as Hallamshire and Sandmoor - similar qualities to them in terms of moorland characteristics but certainly a step down from Lindrick, Moortown, Alwoodley and Ganton.
I loved the course and will certainly play it again. The overall feeling as you arrive on the property cannot be under estimated, the course doesn’t disappoint and the clubhouse, like nearby Woodsome Hall, is an impressive centuries old building which adds to the overall impression you take away from your visit.
Date: May 06, 2021