Alwoodley GC was founded in 1907.
One of the club founders was a local GP- none other than Dr Alister MacKenzie- who would go on to design the course.
Alwoodley was the first course that MacKenzie designed.
It is therefore fondly known as ‘the original MacKenzie’.
MacKenzie would of course go on to design some of the famous courses in golf- Cypress Point, Augusta National, Royal Melbourne, and many more..
He also designed Moortown, which is just down the road from Alwoodley.
Over the years the club has been careful to be true to Mackenzie’s design ethos, while retaining the natural heathland characteristics of the course.
No major changes have been undertaken but the club did employ Ken Moodie in the 1950’s to restore most of the bunkers and add new championship tees.
More recently Clyde Johnson has overseen vegetation management and reconfigured some bunkers.
Alwoodley is a pretty course with heather and gorse framing the holes nicely.
But it is the green complexes that really grab your attention!
MacKenzie built large undulating greens protected by wild, natural looking bunkers that catch the players eye.
This was to become a common theme for MacKenzie throughout his design career.
Alwoodley is a stern test of golf. The back six holes in particular are quite testing, even if the wind does not blow..
Notable holes include:
- hole 7, a delightful short par 3 over a burst of glorious heather to a green protected by deep bunkers left and right
- hole 9, a longer par 3 to a raised green with a deep bunker on the left and a dip on the right
- hole 10, a dogleg which plays as a par 4 or 5 depending on the tee. Either way it is the downhill approach to a beautful green setting over a dip that defines the hole
- hole 11, a cracking uphill par 3 to a steeply sloping green
- hole 16, a longer par 4 with a tee shot over water and rough leaving a demanding approach past deep bunkers left and right.
I like it!
Alwoodley is one of England’s better inland courses and worth travelling to play.
Combine it with a game at Moortown for an impressive MacKenzie double!
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