Harry Colt was involved in the design of a select number of golf courses all over the British Isles – including two Royal Open venues in the northwest at Liverpool and Lytham St Annes – and Prestbury Golf Club is proud to be one of those to bear his architectural stamp.
Located to the south of Manchester near Macclesfield, this 6,359-yard, par 71 parkland course has been used as a Regional Open Qualifier and it’s laid out over undulating terrain that affords some marvelous views of the surrounding Cheshire countryside.
A favorite run of holes for many is the five par fours from holes 12 to 16 – a stream protects the green at the front of the first of these, followed by a tough, uphill hole that is worthy of its stroke index of 2. The 14th is played to a very small green then out of bounds has to be contended with down the left of the next hole before the loop is completed by the slightly left doglegged 16th hole.
In recent years Mackenzie & Ebert completed a major course renovation.
General condition and presentation isn’t what I was used to having played and enjoyed it several times in the last decade. For me it’s lost it’s sparkle
Prestbury is a well laid out typical and traditional parkland course with consistently excellent green complexes, in both positioning and design, making the most of hilly terrain. The greens putted well and all of the fairways, bunkers and tees were presented to a good quality. The course is a relatively easy driving course that rewards accurate positional play from the tee, a fact that is not always obvious to someone playing the course for the first time.
Sadly the general conditioning of the course was poor. There were many untidy areas on the way round which detracted from what should be a perfect setting for golf. The routing at the back of 13, with its close proximity to the 17th green was confusing and probably unsafe, as the drive at 14 was over the 18th tee and not clearly defined.
The golf course starts well with an uphill par 5 and challenging par 4, both long straight holes that get you into the round. And the good holes continue with the excellent par 5 at 6, the 12th with its drive over bushes leading to a dogleg and downhill approach over a babbling brook, the long sloping dogleg at 14 and the strong finishing hole to a well-bunkered green just in front of the clubhouse.
A good day’s entertainment on a pleasant canvas, but Prestbury didn’t, in my view, quite set the juices flowing in a way that would promote it to a level that was more than a bit better than average.
I’ve played Prestbury several times over the years, and find it a pleasant course with some nice holes. It feels a bit cramped at times, and several holes need a bit of length adding but there’s no room from what I can see which is a shame. Makes the most of the elevations though where it can to add a challenge, but lacks tactical options.
It certainly sits in the same group as Wilmslow, Stockport, Delamere and Sandiway locally, but struggles to stand above any of them in any area, and I’d probably rather play Stockport or Delamere.
Superb possibly underrated course with some great holes and very effective greenstaff.
It always puzzles me why Prestbury doesn't feature, either higher or even at all, in the numerous 'top 100' golf course rankings.
I've certainly played many courses that are regularly included in the lower third of the listings and I would place Prestbury above many of them.
Maybe it's because of its lack of length. At 6,380 yards off the tips it is by no means short but there is only really the 13th (and perhaps the uphill 9th) where a long approach is required to a par four, all of the par fives are in range for longer hitters in two shots, and the set of par 3's average out at around just 160 yards, the longest being the downhill 7th at 186 yards. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though because it creates a really enjoyable and fun round of golf.
In my opinion, what sets Prestbury apart from many other similar courses is the siting of the greens which is truly exceptional. Each one sits perfectly into the landscape and creates entertaining shots. There are many holes when, even at the top of the balls flight, you are not sure where the ball will finish. This is achieved mainly by the excellent use of the changes in elevation with the 12th being the best example on the course. As you would expect of a course of this length if you miss the green on any hole you are usually faced with a tricky up and down.
The routing of the course is also exceptional. Here the architect, Harry Colt, takes us on a fabulous journey around the beautiful woodland estate. The layout twists and turns at every point and gives tantalising glimpses of holes that are to come later in the round at several points.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
I've visited Prestbury a number of times over the years and have always enjoyed playing this well designed and fast draining parkland/woodland layout. Located in an attractive Cheshire village, the course measures a relatively short 6400 yards from the white tees but as with most Colt designs good strategy is required to score well. Immaculate presentation and good greens are pretty much guaranteed but it's the natural undulation that provides so many interesting approach shots and gives this place much of its character. In fact most holes provide either raised tees, raised greens or shots over valleys which are such great fun to play. My favourite holes would include the 3rd a strong par-4 with a raised green perched beyond a shallow valley and the 5th, a lovely short par-4 where the green sits on a ledge with a steep fall-off rejecting anything pushed. The 7th is a good looking downhill par-3 played over a hollow and shortly after we arrive at the 9th where a bogey five will feel like a par to most. A semi-blind downhill drive is followed by a long uphill approach to a 3-tier green and with out of bounds beyond, this is comfortably the toughest hole on the course. On the back nine I particularly like the pretty 12th with its well positioned stream running across the front of the green and the 14th which requires an accurate tee shot over a picturesque bracken filled valley. The next three holes are also good, particularly the bunkerless 16th which offers an interesting angled approach and the excellent 17th with 140 yards of carry to a two-tier green beyond the aforementioned valley. The 18th may not be the greatest finishing hole but it doesn't detract from a very enjoyable round. Brian W
Wonderful to note the great Harry Colt has posted a posthumous review, it’s most impressive!