Its a rather small matter to a certain degree whether MGC should get a 4 1/2 or 5 star rating, but the fact myself and my playing partner have been discussing this very point shows that the course, whatever the rating, is a good course and I would recommend one takes the time to play when passing by along the M62.
It's ranking in the Top 100 listings for Lancashire attracted my attention, plus the fact that it was a heathland cum moorland track on a vast piece of land, yet only 20 mins from Manchester.
You get to see the skyscrapers of the City in the distance, but this course is set in beautiful rolling countryside, spread across 260 acres or so of heathland and moorland terrain, with silver birch, oak, the occasional pine, and vast swathes of bluebells, bilberry and bracken.
The entrance is impressive, a sweeping drive flanked by 2 short game areas, before you arrive at the club. The pro was very helpful and friendly and the clubhouse with its outdoor patio and impressive putting green in front of it sat back from the elevated 1st tee.
The course starts with an relatively gentle opener. There are 4 tees to choose from. I played off the yellows at 6238 yards. From the elevated 1st tee, the hole sweeps down and then back up to a green perched on top of the hillside.a nice gentle start i thought.
You then get to open up your shoulders early in the round with 2 par 5s; the 1st quite short at 478 yards, with wide and generous fairways with the ball leaping forward off the springy turf.
The 2nd of the par 5s is a blind drive up and over a ridge and then back down the hillside before climbing back up to a raised green. Whilst a blind drive, the views at the top across to Manchester were superb.
Then comes the 1st of 4 par 3s. A good thing about this course is the balance. There are also 4 par 5s and a good mixture of oar 4s, the shortest at 285 yards and the longest at 456 yards (there are 4 par 4s over 400 yards).
The par 3 (4th) is played down into a dell with a brook before it. Its a picturesque setting.
The next 2 holes play up the next hillside, the 5th being a short par at 317 yards, but plays up to an elevated green, and the 6th also has another blind tee shot, but you do have a marker post to aim over and when you do finally wander over the brow of the hill, you will be pleasantly surprised to see how far your ball has ran down the other side. This is then followed by a short par 4 285 yard, played back up the hill.this hole has internal OOB to the right. Previous reviewer has commented that he doesnt like and I'd agree. I can see that it is to stop people playing back up the 6th, where they would not be seen by anyone teeing off on the 6th tee, so H&S wins the day. A lovely elevated green, surrounded by numerous bunkers.
On the subject of the bunkers, they played consistently throughout, many of the fairway bunkers have low lips, but the green complexes feature more deeper bunkers heavily.
From the tee at the top of the hill, you then play your 2nd par 3, a lovely downhill 157 yard tee shot to a green protected by 3 bunkers to the front right.
Then the 3rd of the par 5s. Another blind drive - aim at the middle tower block kn the distance - will see your tee shot run down the slope, feeding down to a green sat 80 yards behind a small beck.
The start of the back 9, is another short but uphill hole. Similar to hole 5 and 7, it plays to an elevated green.
One of my favourite holes from the round is the 11th, played flat across the top of the hill, but bends right to left in a gentle curve, framed by mature heathland trees. OOB on the left. A visually stunning hole.
As you play holes 12 - 15, the course is more open and moorland in character. In fact there were deer in this area. Swathes of Heather, bluebells, grasses made it feel a bit too open, but once you are actually playing each of these holes, the surroundings envelope you. The 12th green is beautifully set on the hillside, bracken behind, the 13th, a 152 yard par 3 across the valley, where as you wander down from the tee you are surrounded by a vast bluebell covered valley floor.
The 14th again has OOB to the right. I dont think that is needed. It looked a bit 'fieldy' off the tee as there is little to separate it from the 15th, but again once you are playing the hole, it sweeps round to the left and is a reachable par 5 in two, played to a raised green with the odd oak tree acting as a backdrop.
The 15th is long but the bouncy turf means that the hole plays shorter.
The 16th was my pick of the par 3s. At 225 yards, it took a well struck 5W to reach it. Played across the valley and framed by broom and pine trees, its a visually lovely hole. The green slopes back to front and left to right.
Talking of greens, they ran true and quick given tye recent dry spell. They were a pleasure to put on.
The 17th again is another strong hole, a sweeping par 4, 444 yard hole, a green xomplex protected by bunkers left and right and thick penal rough to both sides if you strayed with your approach shot.
And finally the 18th, played slightly uphill to a green where once again you can look back over the vast amount of land the course covers and across to the Manchester skyline.
Some.parts of the course where it opened up were not aesthetically pleasing when looking from on high, but as mentioned, once playing the actual hole they were a delight. The hills were rolling, not brutal, the green complexes cleverly built in or on top of the hillsides, the springy turf enabling you to have a go at the greens, the vistas as you walked around the course, all made for a very enjoyable round.
I settled on 4 1/2 but if you in the area or travelling to/from the Lancashire coast, this is an ideal stopping off point. And with a County Card a real bargain.
Date: June 04, 2021