“The first thing you notice at most golf clubs is the clubhouse,” wrote Peter Alliss in The Good Golf Guide, “and Moor Park’s may just be the most magnificent in the land, a Grade I listed historic building. Historic it certainly is. In the thirteenth century the house was known as the Manor of the More and later Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon lived there. A peace treaty with France was signed within its walls in 1525.
In 1679 James, Duke of Monmouth, the bastard son of Charles II, bought the estate and had a new house built. He didn’t live long enough to enjoy it, however. In 1685 he headed a rebellion to seize the throne against his uncle James II, but was defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor and executed on Tower Hill. He was, of course, playing for high stakes against a golfer!”
The images you see today of a golf flag in the foreground and the mansion house in background have been taken from the fairways of the unsung West course, which you encounter as you travel along Moor Park's entrance driveway. England’s greatest gardener, Lancelot “Capability” Brown, laid out this glorious parkland more than one hundred and fifty years before Harry Colt fashioned three golf courses for a wealthy Viscount.
Rickmansworth is now a municipal facility and Moor Park’s West layout sits in the shadow of the club's High course, but the West really shouldn’t be overlooked. The West and the High course, taken as a 36-hole twosome, respectively represent a fun and challenging rounds of golf.
Routed on either side of the main entrance driveway, to the north and west of the clubhouse, the West is short but also sweet. It may appear to be a pushover at first glancing the scorecard, but there are two strong par fours that stretch out beyond 400 yards at the 7th and 15th, along with the testy par three 9th, which measures only fourteen yards less than the short (258-yard) par four 10th.
Moor Park has the best of both worlds with the High and the West courses in its portfolio. Nobody wants to be beaten up twice in a day. Enjoy the shorter but thoroughly entertaining 5,833-yard West in the morning before tackling its big (7,061-yard) brother after lunch.
Finally we should doff our cap to William Lever (aka Lord Leverhulme) the industrialist, philanthropist and politician who built Britain’s largest company out of soap. Lever bought the Moor Park Estate in 1919 and he had the foresight to commission Harry Colt. The rest is simply history.
Not up there with the High, but still good golf and a lovely club.