Moortown - Yorkshire - England

Moortown Golf Club,
Harrogate Road,
Leeds,
LS17 7DB,
England


  • +44 (0) 113 268 6521

  • Peter Rishworth

  • Dr Alister MacKenzie

  • Martin Heggie


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Moortown

Moortown Golf Club hosted the second “official” Ryder Cup match between the USA and Great Britain in 1929. Team Captains were Walter Hagen (US), George Duncan (GB). It was a close match, which the British won, GB 7 - USA 5. The Ryder Cup was inaugurated two years earlier at the Worcester Country Club and the 1931 Ryder Cup was played at Scioto Country Club.

Fred Lawson-Brown, a non-golfer, was inspired by the beauty of Ganton and decided that Leeds should have an equivalent golf course. 175 acres of potential golfing terrain were acquired from the landlord of the Bramham Park Estate, and, as luck would have it, Dr Alister MacKenzie was in the area, busily working on nearby Alwoodley. And so, in 1910, seven years after Lawson-Brown’s visit to Ganton, the Moortown golf course on Black Moor was ready for play. To mark the occasion, an exhibition match was staged between James Braid and Harry Vardon.

Moortown Golf Club is classic moorland golf course with lovely peaty turf that provides the bouncy cushion-effect when walking, a course that is gentle on the feet. The fairways appear wide and inviting – many of the holes are flanked with silver birch, gorse and heather. But don’t be fooled, Moortown is no pushover; this golf course is tough and exacting.

It turned out to be a tough test for Walter Hagen, the 1929 Ryder Cup captain, and his American team. For it was here, at a cold Moortown, that Great Britain, with George Duncan as captain, beat the USA 7-5. This was the first Ryder Cup to be held on home soil. The competition had been inaugurated two years earlier at the Worcester Country Club in the USA.

In addition to the Ryder Cup, Moortown has hosted numerous important professional competitions, Nick Faldo and Bernard Gallagher emerging as winners. A host of important amateur events have also been contested over the moorland, and in the 1974 English Open Amateur strokeplay championship, Nigel Denham hit an over-zealous second shot into the billiard room of the then in-bounds clubhouse. Undeterred, Denham marched inside and chipped through the open window to within five yards of the pin.

Moortown measures almost 6,500 yards from the regular tees, but accuracy will reap more rewards than length. Whilst the fairways appear to be wide, it’s an optical illusion and the rough can be punishing. Moortown opens with a relatively short par five, so make the most of an early birdie opportunity before facing two testing par fours at the 2nd and 3rd, two of seven par fours at Moortown measuring in excess of 400 yards.

The 10th is MacKenzie’s signature hole, a cracking 158-yard par three called “Gibraltar”, so called because the green is sited on a rocky plateau. This par three was the first hole MacKenzie built and the cost of this one hole absorbed the entire budget for all eighteen.

Writing in Tom Doak's Little Red Book of Golf Course Architecture, the author commented as follows: "Dr. MacKenzie swore that his Gibraltar hole at Moortown was an original idea and that he hadn't seen the Redan, to which it might be compared. And that is most likely true. But if any of us today built a hole even passably similar. it wouldn't be considered original, whether we had seen the original hole or not."

As Patric Dickinson stated in his book, A Round of Golf Courses: “The site of Moortown was chosen with courage and vision.” There is absolutely no doubt that Moortown is an exciting place to play golf. The holes offer a great deal of variety, both in terms of look and feel and in shot-making requirements and as always with MacKenzie’s design, Moortown fits the land like a glove.

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Reviews for Moortown

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Description: Moortown Golf Club is classic moorland golf course with lovely peaty turf that provides the bouncy cushion-effect when walking, a course that is gentle on the feet. Rating: 4.7 out of 6 Reviews: 35

The 2016 Yorkshire Amateur County Championship brought me back to Moortown, a course I’ve played numerous times over the past couple of decades but not for at least half a dozen years.

With a bunker renovation and extensive tree removal programme completed in the intervening time I was hugely impressed with how the course, which has a nice moorland feel to it, now played following the recent changes.

It produced a real firm and fast heathland test and with a stiff breeze whistling over the now more open property there was a touch of linksy-ness to the course with many of the holes favouring the ground game. It will be interesting to see how the course plays in the shoulder season because on previous visits, often in late-September for the Moortown Masters, it has played quite soft.

It is testing from the tee but gives you plenty of options thanks to danger at differing distances and this is something I always like. With the firm conditions there was a premium on finding the relatively generous fairways and thus avoiding deceiving bunkers, a myriad of ditches, a plethora of heather and sporadic patches of gorse. Driver is not always the club of choice from the tee, especially for longer hitters, because quite often placement is king and increased length only brings more trouble into the equation. There is a really good variety of tee-shots - some ask you to move it one way or the other whilst there a couple of blind ones too - and generally speaking this is a definite highlight of Moortown. The only drive I find a little awkward is the 16th where essentially a large oak tree directly faces you from the tee at around 230 yards (from the blues) and pushes you towards a stream which cuts across the fairway on the angle; the ideal shot is almost to land short of the tree and run your ball under it!

It would be remiss not to mention the near neighbour just across the road, Alwoodley, because they are regularly compared and whilst I’ve no hesitation in saying that Alwoodley is the better golf course Moortown has certainly closed the gap over recent years and is a stand-out venue in the North of England.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

5 / 6
Moortown
June 05, 2017


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Me and 3 others played in the AMAM here this Sunday gone. I had been looking forward to playing here for a long time and wasnt disappointed at the entrance to the course (almost magnolia lane like) and the big board with names and tee times on it. The practice range is also quality, with the free pyramid of range balls.

The Course however really really disappointed me. I had heard great things about this track but i found it all a tad bland and easy! The holes at the top of the course as you hit the back nine (11,12,13,14) are some of the worst holes I have played!! I did enjoy the look of the Par 3's though. The condition of the greens was ok, but just ok. I wouldnt be rushing back for £25 a man never mind £45pp!!

But.....Its another one ticked off and we always have a laugh wherever we play which is the main thing!

3 / 6
Moortown
May 18, 2017


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Excellent golf course, comparable to Notts, Woodhall Spa, Alwoodley and probably a level above Sherwood Forest. Gentle opening hole, which is a good design feature although 2 and 3 are long, tough par 4s. The aesthetics of the course come to life on holes 10 to 13 and these are world class holes. 17 is a beautiful par 3 and the last is a tough finish with the clubhouse worryingly close to the green on the left. Needs tree removal to boost the heathland feel.

5 / 6
Moortown
May 17, 2017


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The third day of our annual golf trip to the British Isles, we had the pleasure of playing the golf course at Moortown GC the 18 of October 2015. We were warmly greeted in the Pro-shop and were given everything we needed for a great day on the golf course. The course was a very nice course with very well designed golf holes. Bunkers, gorse and water hazards will challenge you during your round. The first hole is a medium/short par 5 hole with very well placed bunkers around the green that you should stay away from. The first hole gives you the opportunity to get a good start of your round of golf. The feeling of an easy start quickly disappears when you enter the second tee, a long par 4 with a water-hazard crossing the fairway reachable from tee. A tee-shot short of the water-hazard gives you a long second shot, a tough hole to reach in regulation. When approaching the seventh green, take your time to take a look of the green area to the left. We could not stop looking at the beautiful green area on the tenth hole. The whole group was starting to discuss the layout of the tenth and almost forgot to finish the seventh, even though one of us had a 5-foot putt for eagle. The tenth hole is a stunning par three with bunkers covering front and sides of the green area. From the bunker on the left side you have a three yards uphill shot, to get on the level of the green. You don’t want to put your ball into it, unless you want to show your friends that you are a great bunker player. Tee-shots on hole eleven and thirteen are blind which I in general dislike. This is due to safety, and not necessarily the design of the hole. The green area at the eleventh hole is fantastic so if I am returning to the course, I will probably be able to forget the blind tee-shot and just love the eleventh. I would also mention the eighteenth hole, and especially the long second shot, with the clubhouse in the background. More than one player in our group was worried about hitting a poor shot to left and then break a window in the clubhouse. We finished our pleasant stay at Moortown on the “nineteenth” hole with a few beers in the historic MacKenzie room to summarize the current round.A much-appreciated visit to a very nice golf course.Lars Stensrud, Oslo, Norway.
5 / 6
Moortown
October 27, 2015


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Played in August 2015 and thoroughly enjoyed my round, quite a testing course as you can score very well here but then there are some holes which are just designed to catch you out. Also some very tight out of bounds to the left on some holes if you are a drawer (hooker) of the ball.You could see that there is a lot of course management work taken place, I believe a lot of trees have recently been removed and a lot of heather had been cleared (a few holes had the cleared areas as GUR which was a blessing on a way wood shot.The par 3's were all deceptively longer, I may good judgement of all my shot lengths for all holes except the par 3's which I was either 1 or 2 clubs short. Apparently this is not the best club in the area (Alwoodley just down the road is rated better) butI found this a most pleasant course and well worth the 70 mile journey to play.
5 / 6
Moortown
August 27, 2015


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Really like the tree clearing programme done here. Now has the moor or heathland feel the name implies, though the newish housing estate by one boundary is a pain, without being a blot.As a course, formidably tough. Much harder than Alwoodley for my money, but ever so slighly duller. Many many brutal 430 yard plus par fours, not much run, smallish and often heavily undulating greens, and a really fine set of par threes.Far better greens than Alwoodley, at this early stage of the year.Simply found it lacked a little something next to Alwoodley. Perhaps in charm and visual appeal, perhaps in variety of holes (many of those 430 yard plus par 4s are just a touch similar for me), perhaps in slightly flat parkland bunkers.These are details though. Make no mistake, this is a fine course, in the top bracket of inland courses in Englad for my money. Bring your long game though!
5 / 6
Moortown
April 11, 2015


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Moortown has opened up significantly over the last few years. Numerous trees have been taken out such that, playing in March, one is able to see many fairways and greens whereas before often only the hole you were playing was visible. Normally I would prefer the tree-lined version but as Moortown was originally designed (by Dr Alastair Mackenzie no less!) as a heathland course I think the changes will work. By losing some of the trees the golfer's eye is drawn more towards the many bunkers and, when summer arrives, the wide expanses of gorse and heather. Once the rough grows as well (very little of note in March) the course will be a very attractive but formidable test of golf.For March, despite the ongoing regeneration of heather and ditch-clearing work the course was in good shape and no doubt will be in superb condition in high summer when the club may well be catching up Alwoodley for the number 1 spot in Leeds. R de D
5 / 6
Moortown
April 02, 2015


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Played last week in the Lexas Challenge which included Ganton and Lindrick. The weakest of the three courses, as a short hitter I found the course very boring with many long straight par 4's. As a Mackenzie course was very disappointed with the bunkering. As for the new one 90 yards short of the green on the right of the 9th fairway I am sure that he will be turning in his grave! What is the point of this ! Unfortunately the green were also slow in comparison with the other two courses. We did though have the pleasure of playing with Ian (Scratch) & Jamie (+1) who went on to win the competition. As low handicappers they could not have been better company. Playing with our friends the previous day they rate Jamie as one of the great ball finders as he found at least 5 wides. Thanks guys and well done.
4 / 6
Moortown
September 15, 2013


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golfchap
October 03, 2013
Not sure MacKenzie would have been tuning too much in his grave as the bunker was just restoring one from the original course design!
Par 71, SSS 74 tells you everything you need to know. Lots of 400yd. plus par 4's make this a severe test 13th. probably being the pick of them. Strong par 3's with 10th. and 17th. having severe greens requiring a well placed tee shot. Generally undulating greens in very good condition.Very friendly staff, good range of beer and food.
6 / 6
Moortown
September 14, 2013


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I played Moortown on a cold damp day. The pro was very helpful and looked after all our group. The course starts with a par 5, which was into a strong breeze and so required a good tee shot. The fairways were in good condition but the greens were poor, due to heavy dressing. This made the greens slow, even for downhill putts. The design of the course is very good with plenty of interesting and though provoking holes. The holes around the turn are very picturesque with typical MacKenzie greens. The 17th was a super short par 3, but do not go past the hole as it is a very quick downhill putt. The 18th also has a big bunker on the right of the green that is worth avoiding. Afterwards we had some tasty food, make sure you check out the menu. Finally make sure you spend some time looking at the history of the club on the walls.
3 / 6
Moortown
May 28, 2013


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Ste
May 28, 2013
Come on 3 balls!! Are you the same reviewer who has just given a 2 ball review to Ganton? You are either a Lindrick or maybe an Alwoodley member trying to influence Yorkshire rankings or you have no idea about rating a course. Both courses are easily a 5 ball and possibly even a 6 depending who you are but to give average or below average reviews for either is laughable. It leaves most of the other yorkshire courses scraping a 1 ball score.
Phil
May 30, 2013
As a Lindrick member I have to take exception to the suggestion that any Lindrick member would try and influence the rating of a course by submitting a poor review. We have a small membership at Lindrick so I know most members and this is simply something that would not happen. We have a very good relationship with Ganton and play club matches at both courses. Lindrick members have no issue with Ganton being rated as a better course - put simply it is a superb golf course in wonderful surroundings and is a better golf course than Lindrick. I rate Ganton in my top 3 courses along with Sunningdale New and the Old Course at St Andrews. As for the dress code, long may it continue. Please refrain from accusations like this, they are unfounded and untrue.