Ulverston lies on the Furness peninsula, to the south of the Lake District National Park, where Ulverston Golf Club was founded in 1895. Fifteen years later, the club moved to the village of Bardsea, overlooking Morecambe Bay, where Sandy Herd set out a new course that was formally opened with a match between Herd and J.H. Taylor on 6th May 1910.
After the Great War, Harry Colt (assisted by Jack Setterfield and George Edwards from Newcastle) remodelled the layout for a fee of 17 guineas. The reconstruction was carried out by Frank Harris Bros. Limited for a cost of £502 6s between March and August 1923, with a small amount of additional work done the following spring at a cost of £130. The course was brought into play on 24th May 1924.
In June 1925, the golf correspondent for the Daily Dispatch reported: “Laid out in an old deer park, it is a parkland course of the very best type. The layout of the course is almost ideal from a golfer’s point of view, while the surroundings are delightful. A splendid feature is the turf; it is like walking on a super pile carpet and it is never wet.
The greens are well-nigh perfect, not fast but perfectly true. The course is admirably kept, so that there should be very little ball searching, even in the summer. The bunkering has been admirably designed and, though not severe, calls for very accurate golf indeed at many of the holes if the good player desires the figures he thinks should be his.”
Today, the layout extends to 6,264 yards from the back tees, with par set at 71; 35 out and 36 in. Highlight holes include the only par five on the front nine at the 505-yard 4th (“Mountbarrow”) with out of bounds running along the right side of the hole, and the 161-yard 8th (“Sandy Herd”) where the green is surrounded by five menacing bunkers.
On the inward half, the last and longest of the par three holes plays into the southwest corner of the property at the 188-yard 14th (“White Ghyll”) then a run of four par fours concludes the round, ending with the 432-yard 18th (“Conishead”) which sets off from close to the highest point on the course and ends at the severely sloping home green next to the clubhouse.
A good course that often goes under the radar with spectacular views a pleasant days golf awaits. The course was in excellent condition, maintained really nicely with attention to detail around the scoring areas. The tree lined fairways a particular favourite of mine make for a very straight hitting strategic test of your game, my favourite stretch are 3 thru 10 were you are given good opportunities to score before you head for home on a relatively tough closing stretch. A friendly welcome awaited us in the clubhouse and excellent food (sometimes overlooked) for me an important part of any visit
Ulverston is one of the most picturesque courses in Cumbria, if not the country. Offering spectacular views over the Lake District and Morecambe Bay the setting of the course is only topped by the fantastic condition of the greens and fairways throughout the summer months.
At 6,300 yards Ulverston offers a test of golf for all abilities, providing challenge with its undulating fairways, well placed bunkers and intricate greens. To add to this, it is further protected by a frequently swirling breeze that more often than not blows into your face during the first 3 holes, requiring golfers to be accurate tee to green in order to start the round well. This theme continues through to the 7th hole where the course begins to open up a little more and accurate iron play will be rewarded with birdies granted your putting stroke is a good one.
The back nine is home to two relatively short par 5's in 11 and 13 which offer two good chances for birdie in the middle of the round. However the strong, uphill par 3 14th marks the start of a closing stretch that requires consistent ball striking to navigate blemish free. Semi-blind tee shots await at 15, 17 and 18, accompanied by incredible views of the surrounding areas.
All-in-all Ulverston is an excellently maintained and consistent golf course hidden in the South Lakes that deserves more visitors than the location provides, but maybe that's a good thing. A picturesque location complimented by plush fairways and immaculate greens makes Ulverston a MUST visit if you are in the area.
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.