Fifteen years after it was founded, Ulverston Golf Club moved near to the little village of Bardsea in 1910 so golfers have now been playing on the same wooded parkland site for over a century.
Ulverston offers spectacular views over Morecambe Bay and the Lake District fells which goes some way towards cementing its reputation as one of the prettiest courses in the county. This is a par 71 parkland layout and not particularly long at 6,264 yards but the routing is interesting enough as it makes excellent use of the numerous natural features that frequently come into play. There are a number of strong par fours to contend with, most aided by the constant changes in elevation and rollercoaster fairways which help to create a fun round of golf.
The par threes pretty much reflect the variety and character of the course. None are particularly long but all are very different. The 5th is a cracker, played over a valley to a picturesque green protected by bunkers at the front and back left. The 8th, named after the course designer "Sandy Herd" and 10th "Homeward" look easy enough from the tee but both are heavily defended by bunkers. The 15th is the longest and arguably most difficult of the quartet at 188 yards with a sloping green and out of bounds to the right, not forgetting another three bunkers to be avoided.
Possibly the most daunting tee shot of the round comes at the 17th "Quarry" as you're required to drive uphill over an old limestone quarry. The hole also features a 19th century mausoleum that overlooks the fairway from a commanding position in the right hand rough. I'm sure it must have kept one or two truly dreadful shots from the adjoining field although I can't imagine too many efforts being wayward enough to make contact!.
The final tee is located near the highest point on the course and offers views of The Old Man of Coniston and Blackpool Tower in the distance. Playing downhill as a dogleg right the hole requires a solid drive with sufficient carry to reach a plateau beyond the marker post. Anything pushed right of the trees at the edge of the plateau has a good chance of being out of bounds and the approach shot is almost as difficult to a severely sloping green. Adding to the difficulty are a pair of bunkers to the right gathering anything coming up short.
Certainly one of the better inland courses in Cumbria and well worth seeking out if you're visiting this part of the Lake District.