La Moye Golf Club is set spectacularly on a promontory, some 250 feet above sea level. The views are quite breathtaking, overlooking the wide sweep of St Ouen's Bay and on to the lonely Corbierre lighthouse. On a clear day, the tiny isles of Sark, Helm and Jethou can be seen clearly against the distant Bailiwick of Guernsey. We're on the enchanting and unique Channel Island of Jersey.
George Boomer, the headmaster at La Moye school, laid out the original links course in 1902 because Royal Jersey, home club of Harry and Tom Vardon, was becoming overcrowded. Clearly inspired, Boomer's sons, Aubrey and Percy, both went on to become professionals and Aubrey won the French Open on a number of occasions in the 1920s. The course we play today is mainly the work of James Braid, who overcame his fear of sea travel to redesign and lengthen La Moye. Henry Cotton made further minor changes in the 1970s.
La Moye, home to the Jersey Open for many years, has seen some big names emerge as winners, including Ian Woosnam, Tony Jacklin and Christy O'Connor. The championship course measures 6,797 yards and it's close to 6,000 yards from the ladies' tees, so La Moye is certainly a challenge. On this elevated position, the going is especially tough when the wind is up, but it is exciting seaside golf with all the natural facets of a great links... quick draining turf, firm and fast greens, humps, hollows, dunes and the occasional exciting blind shot. Outcrops of rocks are scattered across some of the fairways - most notably the 6th - forming La Moye's additional and quite unique hazard.
The pick of the holes is on the back nine in the dunes. The 11th is a testing par five, where the fairway doglegs between the dunes towards a narrow and wickedly sloping green. Then the short 12th appears, with no bail-out option apart from the green itself. A solid drive to a plateau fairway is required on the 13th to avoid leaving a blind second shot into the green. And so, the challenge continues until the last putt is holed in full view of the magnificent clubhouse.
Combine the wonderful scenery with the exacting test of golf and the most delightful climate and you have a cocktail of sheer delight. La Moye Golf Club is a wonderfully exciting experience, not to be missed.
I’m really surprised La Moye isn’t ranked within the Top 100 courses for the UK, it certainly has the pedigree and architecture to justify it in my mind. Set out across a dramatic cliff top location it combines elements of seaside, links and parkland in a beguiling mix, the springy fast draining turf providing great conditions even in late winter. I’m a member at L’Ancresse in Guernsey so enjoy reciprocal playing rights; the pro shop and starter could not have been more helpful and friendly in finding me a tee time even though I hadn’t booked, truly an example to all clubs.
The course starts with a mid-length par 3 which sets the tone for many of the holes, inaccuracy from the tee will be costly especially if you short side yourself. The holes then begin to work their way down to the cliff edge, all necessitating an accurately placed tee shot to have any hope of getting on in regulation, 5,6 & 7 is a fantastic stretch, you wonder where the 7th fairway is as you walk down the 6th, only once you’re a long way down do you see below on the right. The 7th climbs back up the hill, one of the most fun and intimidating tee shots on the course needing a gentle draw to find the left hand side and correct angle, failure to find the fairway will give you only slim chance of par. The back 9 moves slightly inland as the course carves it its way through dunes and heathland, 10, 11 & 12 providing an exhilarating start to the turn, 12 being a cracker of a short hole with its heavily bunkered and contoured green complex. You then turn back to sea for the end of the round, 17 being a super downhill longish par 4, distance control of your approach shot essential to hold green. The final hole is a tough uphill par 4 with the green sitting in a bowl below the very smart clubhouse, not an easy hole to finish and make par! I was fortunate with the weather and encountered only a solid breeze, when the wind blows I imagine the difficulty dials up considerably, add in the rough which was dormant for the winter and course will ask many questions. Given how hard the course can play the greens were pretty generous and not overly shaped, played slow during my visit as they were healing from being sanded but I expect come the warmer weather will speed up. Special mention for the bunkers, I didn’t find many but when I did they had proper deep sand in them, testament to the quality of maintenance, something that’s often neglected on many courses. If you’re visiting Jersey make sure La Moye is on your itinerary you won’t be disappointed.
Placed on the cliffs of the Jersey's west coast, La Moye golf club is a stunning championship course offering all year long a splendid set up and some of the most splendid panoramas you can see on a british links.
The newly refurbished club house is really great and delivers nice food at the end of your round.
Definitely a must play
The Island of Jersey offers 2 excellent golf courses, the Royal Jersey, which is a traditional links course and La Moye which is cliff top course which combines links like terrain and more parkland holes. Much debate over which course is best, the fact is that they are both excellent and very different. Firstly La Moye. As befitting a course that used to host a European tour event and currently hosts a Senior tour event,it has decent length and the course can be stretched to circa 6900. The front 9, which includes the majority of the “inland” holes offers a good variety of holes, with the par 4th and 5th as the standouts. Standing on the 7th tee provides a breathtaking view of St Ouen’s bay, with a glimpse of sister island, Guernsey in the distance on a clear day. The back 9 offers a more traditional links offering with dunes evident and hard fast running fairways. The club have re-designed the 10th to 12th holes, which has improved the course. The new par 3, 12th is in my view the best par 3 in the Channel Islands and 1 of the best par 3s I have played. To the right of the 13th tee, you can gaze longingly at some stunning dunescape, which would have produced world class holes if it had been made available. The 17th is a long and beautiful par 4 which heads once more towards the sea. I am a member at the Royal Jersey but thoroughly enjoy my trips to the “dark side” to play La Moye. In my view, with a few tweeks here and there, La Moye is close to being a Top 100 course.
The par four 4th hole is the hardest on the course and one of six par fours that exceed 400 yards. Out of bounds is along the right for your tee shot and on the left right up to the green for your second shot. The par four 9th demands a very precise second shot to a raised green. The shot is made more difficult by the fact that the fairway twists to the left for the last sixty yards.
The narrow par five 11th bends uphill, between sand dunes and trees, to a green with a very narrow entrance. Not surprisingly, it is rated the second hardest. Thirteen is a lovely hole through dunes and stunted pines. Unless your drive is over the hill then you will have a difficult blind second shot to the green.
The 15th leads back out to the cliff tops with simply wonderful panoramic views. This is not the time to be nervous on the tee as your drive needs to carry across a valley of gorse and sandy scrub before the fairway commences. The final hole doglegs left but a straight drive is your best option. The second shot is uphill to a green that slopes from back to front and right to left.
This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every English course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.