Sand Moor - Yorkshire - England

Sand Moor Golf Club,
Alwoodley Lane,
Leeds,
LS17 7DJ,
England


  • +44 (0) 113 268 5180

  • Alistair Cooke

  • Henry Barran

  • Nick Houlden


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Sand Moor

Sand Moor was originally designed in 1921 by Henry Barran and the course opened for play in 1923. However, it would take another three years (1926) before the golf club was founded.

The club claims “the major influence in the creation of the course was Yorkshire born Dr. Alister Mackenzie, who chaired the first AGM on March 7th, 1925.” When additional land was acquired in the 1960s, the layout was modified by Henry Cotton, resulting in the loss of the first two and last two holes and the construction of four new holes on the other side of Alwoodley Lane.

In recent years, Andy Watson has carried out an extensive audit of the course, recommending a number of improvements to the golf club committee, and this has resulted in him carrying out a sensitive mix of renovation and restoration work.

As the architect says, “some of the original MacKenzie features are no longer relevant to the modern game, whilst others have been removed or covered by encroaching tree lines. In places, I have gained approval to restore some of the classic features of this layout, and in other situations, create something of a similar ilk to challenge the modern golfer”.

A newly refurbished clubhouse sits at the top of a hill, to the south of Eccup Reservoir, where holes 1, 5, 6 and 18 run up to and down from this elevated position. The first par three at Sand Moor is not played until the 8th hole, which is played across a gulley to a green that’s guarded on the right by bunkers. The other three short holes on the card are all played on the back nine, at the 10th, 15th and 17th.

Listed in Frank Pennink’s Choice of Golf Courses, he believed Sand Moor to be: “One of the most beautiful courses in the north of England, with wonderful, moorland turf laid on a subsoil of sand and sandstone.”

Additionally he wrote: “It is a moot point as to whether Sand Moor or its neighbour Moortown is the better course – they are so different scenically. But it is certain that Leeds is indeed fortunate to have them, and Alwoodley, three courses of the highest inland calibre.”

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Sand Moor

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Sand Moor was originally designed in 1921 by Henry Barran and the course opened for play in 1923. However, it would take another three years (1926) before the golf club was founded. Rating: 4.5 out of 6 Reviews: 13

Sand Moor Golf Club, located in the golfing-haven of North Leeds, was developed under the guidance of the famed Dr. Alister MacKenzie in the mid 1920s.

Situated close to two other famous MacKenzie courses, Alwoodley and Moortown, this venue also boasts many of the Good Doctor’s trademarks and has a particularly strong set of short holes.

A major change to the course took place in the late 1960s when the first two and last two holes were lost and land to the west of the original course was purchased for three new holes. A fourth hole was also then created between the current 12th and 14th.

A few years ago The Club began a project to update the course, to stay abreast of modern day equipment but remain loyal to the original design concept, and the fruits of this labour are now starting to reap its rewards.

The collection of par-three’s often get the plaudits at Sand Moor and rightly so because they are all superb. The only minor criticism is that they all tend to play a similar yardage and the severest danger on them all is to the left. However, individually they are things of beauty and a real joy to play. The angle of the greens, the borrows of the putting surfaces and the visually striking bunkering all add up to create wonderful golf holes. In my view the clearance of many trees around the holes would make the contouring and features of each hole stand out even more and take them to the next level.

There are a lot of good things going on during the round at Sand Moor and you are required to be able to play a number of different shots; sometimes you can open your shoulders with the driver whilst at other times placement is crucial. The greens have the perfect amount of slope and keep it interesting until you have holed out.

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

4 / 6
Sand Moor
April 07, 2017


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review

Really good fun course. Not too challenging. Very entertaining layout and the greens are excellent. Will be back.

5 / 6
Sand Moor
September 10, 2016


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
From the 6th-18th hole, there is no better run of holes in all of yorkshire, with the 6th being a stunning 480 yard par 4, which bends around the corner. The par 3's are the real highlight for me however, with the pick of being the 165 yard 10th hole, which im told has been rebunkered this season. In my three ball we all missed the green, and none of us made three! The green is a reasonably generous target although severely guarded by bunkers and dense fescew rough to the right handside. The only let down is the par four 18th hole- this course is certainly deserving of a better finishing hole. Having also recently visited ganton, alwoodley, lindrick and ilkley, i would certainly put sandmoor above ilkley and it is worthy of a much higher place in the yorkshire rankings
5 / 6
Sand Moor
June 22, 2015


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
3 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Played SandMoor a few times so was nice to come back, always been impressive and somewhat a hidden gem in Leeds because of it's famous next door neighbours in Alwoodley and Moortown. Condition is always fantastic, greens firm and fast, fairways Sand Moor Golf Course - Photo by reviewercut tight and tees perfect. Currently in the process of changing all sand in the bunkers and it makes the course look visually much better. A few holes have had bunkers removed and in a certain case like the beautiful 11th, 3 new bunkers have been moved further up into the centre of the fairway making it a forced carry of around 240 from the Tiger tees. You are in the "Amen Corner" of the course here, the beautiful yet tricky par 3 10th, fantastically designed par 4 11th and then a great par 5 over the heather running along the Eccup Resovoir. All in all SandMoor is a beautiful layout, visually stunning in areas but in general with the wind blowing it can play a brute of a course. The set of par 3s are fantastic and how par 3s should be, all around the 150-170 yard mark with small undulating greens surrounded by bunkers and gorse. Along with Ganton I believe you have the best set of Par 3s in Yorkshire here.
4 / 6
Sand Moor
May 22, 2015


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
2 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Located in North Leeds and surrounded by two other great courses (Alwoodley and Moortown), Sand Moor is often overlooked by golfers visiting the county. However it is well worth a visit and has a variety of excellent holes. The stretch from 10-17 is among the best collection of holes you are to find anywhere- the 10th being one of the standout holes on the course in a brilliant collection of par 3s. It is not the longest (6600 is off the whites) but the conditioning is excellent from March to December and is certainly worth playing. The main defences are the Mackenzie greens and slick greens. The course has gone under a remodelling phase recently with the replacement of bunkers on the 11th and some re-modelling of greens back to how Mackenzie had designed them- these changes only add to the character of the course and strengthen its position in the Top 100 list. Sand Moor also boasts excellent practice facilities and an extremely welcoming pro shop. In my opinion Sand Moor could push for a place in the English Top 100; I would say a five ball rating is appropriate.
5 / 6
Sand Moor
May 13, 2015


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
I have been fortunate enough to play sand moor a few times and also some of it's more prestigious neighbours. Whilst it might not have the prestige of clubs such as moortown, it is unremittingly good fun. I appreciate golf is subjective but I struggle to understand why everyone says sand moor isn't quite at the standard of other local courses when actually it is a lot more fun! Perhaps I am uncultured but I have thoroughly enjoyed every hole at sand moor - not something I can say about many other clubs. Perhaps it lacks the finesse of other clubs but when you finish your round smiling from ear to ear - despite some shocking play, then that is the hallmark of an outstanding course. I would recommend sand moor wholeheartedly and look forward to returning there this season for another round.
5 / 6
Sand Moor
April 18, 2014


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Sand Moor is an Alister MacKenzie designed course but after playing here you wouldn’t need to be told this as it is obvious from all the shapes and features on the course. The first is a nice par five, firing your tee shot over a brow (try to hit a draw). The second is a very short par 4 with nice houses on the left that are OOB, either go for the green with a draw or play an iron to the fairway and attack the flag with a wedge. The 3rd has OOB all down the left and fairway bunkers on the right, then drops down to the green. The stroke 1 (6th) is a long par four, with an elevated tee where a really good tee shot will leave you a full 3 wood to the green. All the par 3’s are very picturesque, the first one is the 8th which has a long narrow green that would be easy to hit if it wasn’t 186 yards long. Hit a fade up the 9th as everything falls away to the left, then you will have a short iron to the green. On the 10th we had a chat to the green keeper who was telling us about the course, including a few lines for the next few holes. Make sure you take an extra club on the 10th it’s more uphill than you think. Stay right off the tee on the 11th and 12th as there is a lot of trouble on the right. The 13th is the only hole I didn’t like, although only a short par 4 it is difficult to create a straightforward approach shot to the green. The 16th is a very long par 5 of 556 yards, the green has a false front so aim for the middle of the green. The 17th has several large green-side bunker, but the bunkers are nice to play out of, I made a sandy par. The 18th is a tough par 4, with a steep hill to go up, then a blind approach shot. The club house has a good balcony to watch the people playing the 18th.
5 / 6
Sand Moor
May 28, 2013


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
Played here twice along with the nearby heathland gems Moortown and Alwoodley and was very impressed. Not as good as the other 2 but still a super golf course with a great layout. The greens are very slick and fairly undulating so if you don't put yourselves in the right spots on the greens then expect a few 3 putts! Some lovely holes with the 11th, 12th and 16th being the standouts. Also watch out for the par 3s which in my opinion are the hardest set in Yorkshire bar Ganton. They are all very similar length (170yards) but beware of the small greens surrounded by the strategically placed bunkers in which an arrow straight tee shot is needed. Well worth a visit and I'm sure you'll enjoy your round looking over the eccup reservoir and Yorkshire countryside!
5 / 6
Sand Moor
December 09, 2012


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
I played Sand Moor yesterday for the first time and was thoroughly impressed. Either the reviewers below were playing a different course or much improvement has been made, I couldn't tell you which. I would say that the blind shots (not as many of them as the other reviews would make you believe) are the only negative point. They are however well dealt with by substantial marker posts that tell you where you should be driving. I played without the aid of a course planner and didn't have a problem. This is a tough test of golf, hitting the greens is especially difficult. The bunkers are good and I should know having been in one on most holes!If you judge this course by yardage alone you will be making a mistake, I am a long hitter of the ball but it didn't make much difference as many of the holes are up hill or round a corner etc. You really do have to hit good solid tee shots to have a chance at hitting GIR.Greens were true and puts rolled out well. The clubhouse was very good with special note going to the showers which were better than any luxury hotel I have stayed.We also had a meal after the round which was a full carvery, couldn't have been better.Finally I must give credit to the pro who gave us a good overview of the course before the round, also gave us a good deal on a few items we needed.
5 / 6
Sand Moor
June 29, 2009


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review
I am minded to agree with the previous reviewer. Sand Moor was a lovely parkland (/heath land) course offering a decent test of golf, a real variety of holes and some beautiful views/scenery. The course was in very good condition. It is not up to the standard of Alwoodley or Moortown, but it is not far off and I think this is reflected in the price. I think that the undulating terrain and blind shots give it some character. It certainly makes for interesting club selections and yardages at times. The clubhouse facilities were excellent, and as for the criticism of the 18th, I do not think that it is justified. There is a huge marker showing the line of the green, there are distance markers and the rest is surely what the game of golf is about! Do you go for it, try and land it straight on the dancefloor and risk it dropping off the back, or do you take the safe option and run it up? Either way, the members are sitting outside on their balcony watching the approaches come in giving it a great atmosphere which must be electric on match days. So it's not a championship course, but it has character, is good fun and is in great condition - not bad given its location in a relatively big city like Leeds. Not quite a 5 but not far off.
4 / 6
Sand Moor
June 29, 2009


Was this review helpful? Yes / No
0 people found this review helpful
Respond to above review