Charles Atkinson Mackenzie, the younger brother of Alister MacKenzie, is mentioned in the design credits for the courses at Pannal (1933) and Fulford (1935) before he laid out the course at Scarcroft Golf Club in 1937.
Not too much is known about Charles but it’s thought he and his firm British Golf Course Construction Company were the “go-to” firm for clubs that were looking for somebody to actually build the layouts his brother was planning for them.
Certainly, Alister and Charles had previously worked on a number of projects outside Yorkshire (Duff House Royal in 1923, Cork in 1924, Aberdeen Hazlehead in 1925) but there may well be other architects for which he carried out construction work.
The course is bisected by Syke Lane, with the opening six holes laid out on the south side of the road before the remainder of the round is played on the clubhouse side. Measuring 6,456 yards from the back tees, the course plays to a par of 71 with a standard scratch score of 72.
Highlights include the first (and shortest) of the par threes at the 145-yard 5th; the longest par four (rated stroke index 2) at the 442-yard 10th; and the right doglegging par five 14th, where a pond in front of the raised green dictates a lay-up with the second shot for most players.
Scarcroft is a lovely little golf club set amidst some of Yorkshires finest moorland courses. The course is a parkland layout with rolling fairways and holes flanked by tall trees. The design feels very Alistair Mckenzie but was actually created by his younger, and less renowned brother Charles. Theres certainly a lot of similarities between Moor Allerton and nearby Alwoodley.
The warm up facilities were very good and our group really liked the short game area and pristine nets located adjacent to the 1st tee, although the practice putting green was very poor and I did expect higher quality for the green fee and region in which it resides.
The course is quite tight from the tee and most shots require pin point accuracy. The greens are small in size so the premium is on hitting straight shots. If you’re a little bit wayward the course will punish you and I made all my bad scores on holes where I hit a poor tee shot.
Scarcroft was very consistent, I enjoyed the opening stretch and there are only a few weak holes within the 18. Hole 14 was the stand out hole, a great risk reward par 5 with longer hitters having the chance to go for glory in two clearing a large lake below the raised green. Many of the par 4s were good holes also and many very pretty. The last three holes I wasn’t as keen on, they were too short with the last hole being just too easy playing more like a long par 4 than and par 5, still enjoyable but not challenging enough for better golfers.
My big disappointment though was the condition of the course. This didn’t reflect the green fee and of its standing as 19th best in such a competitive region. The greens were very poor. I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt (for covid) but they were so poor that I don’t think excuses can be made. The fairways were also below standard and I cant recall playing a course with such a good design but with the conditioning of an average municipal. It took a little of the shine off a great day at a course we all thoroughly enjoyed, but for me greens rank highly in my judgement and because of that I don’t think id return. If living locally I might give it a second chance as I did really like the course and hopefully they can improve these issues in the near future.
Course was in real good shape. Very tight opening holes made you think about your tee shots. Greens were a challenge as there were not many straight putts to be found but they were also a bit bobbly. Will definitely play again as it as it’s one of those course where you need to play a couple of times to know how to play it.
This is a nice course but when you’re spoiled by the other quality courses around Leeds, it doesn’t stand out as it might elsewhere in the county. It’s a nice parkland course set amongst mature trees, with spacious fairways.
It has a few tough opening 3 holes which is then followed by some longer holes where a good drive from the tee pays dividends. The best hole is the 14th, a dog leg where long hitters can reach the green in 2 if they get their drive far enough to open the corner up, otherwise you can play it as a traditional 3 shot to green.
The 15th, the last of the par 3’s is all carry, uphill, avoid going left!
16th is a driveable par 4, so again options on strategy.
Overall this is a pleasant course and worth seeking out to complement the other good courses around Leeds.