When Pleasington Golf Club was formed in 1891, Blackburn was the weaving capital of the world where cotton was king. The rural village of Pleasington is located on the outskirts of the East Lancashire mill town and the course itself is set in a delightful rolling landscape with magnificent country views from the high ground.
Originally, a simple nine-hole course was laid out by George Lowe, the professional from Royal Lytham and St Annes and, in 1909, Sandy Herd extended the layout to 18 holes. As with many courses established in this era, many subsequent changes have taken place – most notably lengthening – but the outline of Herd’s original design remains.
Today’s course measures 6,562 yards from the back tees and it’s a layout that tested many of the region’s best golfers when Pleasington was used for Open Championship Regional Qualifying in 2005. It’s fitting that a local man, Michael Hunt, came through qualification with an outstanding score of 65, a round that included an incredible nine birdies.
The course itself is a varied mix of heathland cum parkland cum moorland and it keeps you entertained all the way round. Some of the best holes appear at the turn where the landscape takes on a rugged and rather dramatic nature.
It’s understandable that the majority of travelling golfers head in their droves for the Lancashire links courses. But, if you are thinking of stopping off on the way to the seaside, a visit to Pleasington will be very pleasant and exceedingly pleasurable. It’s an experience that comes thoroughly recommended.
The club is currently working with Ken Moodie of Creative Golf Design. A 5-year plan is in place, which includes tree management and bunker renovation, with the long-term objective to return the course to its heathland origins.
I have visited this course over the last few years mainly to play in the Pleasington Putter and other County Competitions, and have always found the course to be in excellent condition.
I find the course challenging but not too difficult, and I would recommend it to both female and male golfers alike.
Being a member of a links course myself, where the greens are some of the best I play on a weekly basis, I have to say that the greens at Pleasington are up there with the best. The speed and consistency of the greens are really good, and the roll of the ball in always true.
There have been a couple of changes since I last played and the addition of the bunkers on the 18th and the removal of the tree on the par 3 16th, have made a great difference and the way that they have done it, you would think that the changes had always been there.
The course itself has a great combination of challenging holes, and some that are easier to negotiate, but it is also not just a long hitters course as there are a number of holes where you need to plot your way carefully, and put the ball in the right places to have a chance at birdie.
Overall I really enjoy playing at Pleasington and having played a lot of courses across the country and the County of Lancashire I would definitely put Pleasington at the top of my list for both enjoyment and a great true test of golf.
I always look forward to returning, and would say that that the course seems to get better each time I return.
On a final note I would like to say that the Pro Shop, and in particular Steve Hamer is one of the most genuine, professional and helpful Club professionals I have met, and I would not hesitate to recommend him for all your golfing needs.
Pleasington is one of the places to visit in Lancashire where you will walk away really pleased that you took the time to visit and play.
Pleasing Pleasington. I'm so glad that I followed the Top 100 Golf Courses rankings and not the doom slayer reviews of 2 and 3 years ago. This is a class heathland track, with exquisite conditioning, class bunker and green design, variation throughout the course, challenge, interesting routing, utilising the contours of this gently uphill/downhill course, plus a couple of quirky holes and all surrounded by beautiful countryside. The railway line splitting holes 6-11 apart from the rest of the course also added to it's magic, generating a feeling of more links like courses close to the sea.
So where to begin. Situated in the rural village of Pleasington, with the impressive clubhouse behind you, the 1st hole whets your appetite for what is to come. At just under 400 yards the hole is laid out in front of you with mature oak trees left and right. A gentle start but your second shot into the green above you will take and extra club and the bunkers, left and right give protection plus the sloping back to front green, which ran true and quick and consistent throughout the round.
You then immediately head back towards the clubhouse. Again what appears a rather innocuous hole does have in fact much more about it than first meets the high. The mature trees down the left pose danger and can block out your second shot if you go too much left, but the real trouble is the green which is better for knowing. Long and narrow, like many of the greens here, it is raised with bunkers to the right. What you cannot see is the sever banking to the left and with a green with many variations, a shot landing on the left hand side of the green could easily see itself down in the valley.
The 3rd, another par 4 under 400 yards (there are 9 of them in the round) is straight forward if you get a straight drive away. Trouble all down the right with mature woodland, but stray too far left and you have a much trickier 2nd shot than you would imagine. The landing strip for your tee shot is very narrow and then the 2nd into the green, which again is long and narrow with bunkers either side makes even this short par 4 a delight.
You then step onto the 4th and the hardest hole, a 432 yard par 4 which would not be out of place of any of the UK's best links courses. The railway line provides added focus but a shot up the left hand side will feed back towards the middle. Again playing to a raised green with bunkers to the right, a safe shot id left and take a 5. Thats a good score on this tricky hole.
The 5th is then a wonderful par 5, played with the railway line tight to the tee (no slicing going on please) and a blind tee shot, simply follow the marker. The hole then plays down towards a narrow and raised green with bunker to the left and right and the green once again narrow. The hole is framed by the woods around the green and the undulating countryside in the distance. A fabulous par 5.
You then cross over the railway line, up a hill and play the 6th from a raised tee, down a gentle valley before the green raises up above you again. This is a lovely looking hole with 5 bunkers down the left hand side of the fairway and 5 surrounding the raised green. At only 310 yards it provides plenty of questions, and your pitch to green must have plenty of stop on it!
Then the 7th - I mentioned quirky and this is certainly that. It has a split fairway and the top fairway drops 60 yards to the lower one. If you play to the left hand side then you do have a shot through the trees for a difficult 2nd, but if your drive is long enough and runs more to the right hand side, you could find yourself down onto the lower part of the hole with an eagle chance. There are so many options and cannot wait to play it again. I chose to try a difficult shot over the trees and bit off too much with my second, a safer option would have been an iron to the lower portion and play a short 3rd to the green. The more I reflected on this hole the more I realised you have so many challenges and options. A great hole.
Not until hole 8 do we meet our 1st par 3. All the par 3's are class and I really enjoyed this one with the River Darwen and hamlet adjacent to the tee - stunning scenery. You play to a green higher than the tee and it's all carry - so advice is club up. Trouble is all right so anything just left will feed nicely back onto the green.
The 9th is another par 5, played from a tee behind the 8th green and a blind shot. Aim again at the marker, your ball will feed left into a small valley, but a 2nd good shot will give you a 3rd to a raises green, slightly larger and wider than what we had experienced so far. Again the conditioning of the hole, the bunkers. the trees, the greens was excellent. The views back down the hole from the green are wonderful.
Having waited for the 1st of the par 3's you now get another, a long par 3 of 190 yards. There is a shallow bunker well forward of the green, so you do have plenty of space to land and a green that slopes back to front helps stop the ball.
Then the 11th which runs next to the railway track as you finish the last of the 6 holes on this side. The hole slopes upwards throughout but the green is is not raised. I liked this hole, it's design, whilst short, trouble was left with the railway line hugging the hole and loing whisky grass and bunkers on the right.
Having crossed back over the railway, the 12th is another par 3, reminiscent of the 8th where you play a siimilar yardage and again all carry. Bunkers hug left and right, like many of the greens. Try not to leave yourself a downhill putt, the green was fast!
Then you walk up the hill to the 13th, another hole that would fit in well with more celebrated heathland courses. Flat for about 260 yards, the hole then sweeps round to the left, but trouble is all that side so a shot more aimed at the right hand side of the approach will generate you better outcome.
The 14th is a delight, from a high tee, this 387 yard par 4 provides sweeping views back towards the village of Pleasington, a good drive leaving a short iron to a well guarded and raised green. on the bunkers, all the bunkers are of great design, with whisky grass fringes and high quality consistent sand. the 14th reminds me of the 17th at Woodsome Hall and even the 17th at Abbeydale in Sheffield.
Then you play back away from the village on another short par 4 but once again unto a high green. Aim your drive to the left so the mature trees on the right do not cause issues.
At this point you feel disappointed that your round is coming to a close. The course has surpassed anything you thought it would be, with the redesign by Ken Moodie outstanding, the conditioning 1st class and the beauty of the course and its surrounding leaving you wanting more.
So the 16th, the last of the par 3's is another delight. remodelled by Moodie this 155 yard hole plays through narrow trees with a very interesting elevation changes in the green. Anything right of centre will feed down to the right hand side of the green and 3 putt territory awaits. The local members really think this is a marked step up for this hole.
You then play a short par 4 where accuracy off the tee is crucial and once again you feed into a long, almost egg timer shaped green. I hit the green but as there 3 bunkers to the right, the narrow green could not hold my ball and I ended up in one. But the sand quality and trusting my technique ended up with a sand save.
Then you come to the final hole, a sweeping left dog leg playing to the clubhouse and a green that was huge compared to ever other hole on the course. Bunkers to the front left hand side add to the challenge in addition to the watching spectators outside the clubhouse, plus the large green.
You walk off having thoroughly enjoyed your round and the exceptional quality of the course. With so many young people on the course playing, this club established in 1891 has a strong future and I would expect Open Qualifying should return sometime soon.
Pleasing Pleasington indeed.
Pleasington 2020 is just getting better and better. The layout and scenery is what stands Pleasington apart from other courses and the tree management program is beginning to return some of those views that were around when the course was designed and also bringing much needed light an air to the greens which are starting to benefit in a way not seen in years.
The course is easily accessible from the main motorway network and well worth a visit for anyone living in or travelling to North West England.
A Pleasington Golf Club member posted the above review.
Not the best. Heard it was the best inland course in Lancashire and foots say Yorkshire has no worries if that’s the best.
Played Clitheroe and that was well maintained but not the best course, Pleasington is the opposite.
Can see why they had the Open tegionals for twice as long as they should have but they’re not getting them back soon if they don’t sort out their maintenance.
Greens slow and bobbly, fairways got wet with minimal rainfall.
In short, major overall needed and I can see why it was a top course. It’s just been left to deteriorate it appears.
HI Stephen - since 2017 the Club has been working on a 5 year plan with Ken Moodie Architect and STRI (agronomy services) to both improve the layout of the course and improve the playing surfaces. These changes have resulted in golf industry experts like Peter Finch saying the greens were the best he had played on anywhere this year (twice!!) Phase 2 is underway currently with improvement to 12, 16 and 18. Feel free to come and have a look next season and see how far we have come. Thanks Pete
I was visiting relatives in Preston and convinced them to play here as I played it in 2004 and it was exceptional. They wanted to play Clitheroe which they said wasn’t as good layout but better condition and cheaper.
I suspect they’re right.
Thee green were inconsistent and bunkers had deteriorated which were very good and as there many of them, you get to know them.
I can’t believe the difference. The snooker tables gone and being Muslim drinking is not an option. So we left early but the food was good.
Left disappointed and felt I let my family and friends down. Hope they get it together soon as it was number 76 in the best courses in Britain.
Now it’s lucky to make best 200.
I agree. Sad to see a great course go downhill. How did it happen? Just incompetent?
Could not agree more. I have relatives who are members at Pleasington and in the past I always looked forward to a game when we visited. I was due next week but have asked we play Lancaster or Clitheroe instead.
The whole course looks neglected and sad. The fairways are moss and thatch laden with little grass. The bunkers are a joke.
I am told they have now started a tree culling exercise to make it even easier. The 16th par 3 is now totally open and is a pitch and putt.
I love the scenery at the course but that is not enough. I play off 2 and it is now so easy and aimed at much higher handicappers.My nephew says all the club are interested in is new members and their money.
Pleasington used to be a challenge no more and worse for that.
They will say money needed we say get the course right and money will be attracted.
Pleasington, a former Regional Open Qualifying venue, boasts a fine inland golf course - irrefutably one of the best tracks in the county away from the sea.
Unusually the course has a par of 38 on the front nine (3 par-fives against 1 par-three) and a par of just 33 on the inward half. I believe this irrelevant imbalance may be due to the switching of the current 5th and 11th holes when a new bridge was built to cross a railway line. The total yardage of the par 71 course is 6,940 off the blue tees and this is where I played the course from in the 2017 Pleasington Antlers 36 hole scratch tournament. The course was set up very well and the condition excellent.
As mentioned earlier a train track splits the course into two distinct parts. The 12 holes on one side of the railway (1-5 & 12-18) are played through established parkland where mature trees line most of the fairways. Meanwhile, the remainder on the other side (6-11) offer a stark contrast with a more open moorland and heathland feel; these holes contain swathes of heather, patches of gorse and the turf is much firmer. However, it all comes together nicely to create a very pleasing round of golf.
Lancashire is not renowned for its inland golf courses, and rightly so, but Pleasington is an exception to this conception because it’s a very fine course and one I would strongly recommend a visit to.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
We come and play opens here a couple of times a year and never are we disappointed!! The layout of the course is first class, offering an enjoyable but stern test to each and every level of golfer, with many changes of elevation and challenging shots.
I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Pleasington and I believe this is one of Lancashire's finest courses which provides a fun day out for any golfer.
Must be a high handicapper as the course is easier but the condition has deteriorated. I play off 2 and my group are all below 4 and found it to be easy shooting 68, 70,71 and 73. Should have been lower due to the greens not being true and good puts bobbling off line.
Glad some people are happy though but I hope they get on top of things and get it back to were it was when ranked 77 in Britain.
Pleasington represents one of the best clubs in Lancashire. The course has recently been lengthened to retain its status as an Open Championship regional qualifying course and what makes this course so enjoyable, is the great variation of holes. The par 3’s at the 8th, 10th &12th all require a carry to reach the green and the 16th is over trees. The par 4’s are of varying lengths which means you have to use every club in the bag indeed the 4th at 432 yards & the 13th at 460 yards require two big hits to reach, but perhaps it’s the mid length par 4’s at Pleasington that charm the most like the 6th with no fewer than 12 bunkers played up to a plateau green or the 14th which tees off high up in the trees leaving a spectacular view of your tee shot. Majestic par 5’s in the middle of the round lift this course to another level with the split level 7th that rewards a perfectly positioned drive by descending to leave a flat approach to the green, the picturesque 9th that climbs sharply at the start before playing along a valley of gorse, bunkers & rough or possibly the best hole on the course the 11th with the railway and a stream to your right and fairway bunkers perfectly positioned just over the hill where the tee shots run leaving a long and ever narrowing fairway approach towards the green. If you play no other course in East Lancashire, play this one.