6 reviews of Moortown Golf Club
After the clay/mud slogs of North Leeds, it really was enjoyable to be able to play on a decent - if slightly wet - surface in end of February north of the Leeds ring road. A classic early Alistair McKenzie course that is not a great test - I managed a few pars as a high handicapper! - but a wonderfully historic heathland golf course with interesting greens, gorse and heather to protect it from modern technology. Perhaps suffers from too many straight holes without enough variation to be fully applauded, but a real test in the wind with sneaky streams meandering across several holes. The signature tenth is lovely to look at, lovely to play, and I put a five iron within seven feet, only to graze the hole for a birdie opportunity (thanks, doc!). The clubhouse is worth a visit on its own, with its immaculate MacKenzie room full of pictures of the 1929 Ryder Cup (the club trade heavily on this piece of history) showing Hagen, Sarazen and Cotton battling April showers and a rough looking course! modern stars should have a look and see with what they do not have to put up with! Wonderful visit and a an attractive price for visitors.
I've been fortunate to be invited here a few times and it is a fine golf course. With a mature layout that is in the same mould of a Surrey or Berkshire Heathland course, its easy to see why the course has a rich tournament history.
Although it is a private members club they do accept visitors during certain periods. The clubhouse is very much in keeping with this type of club but I think it fits in with it and although it isn't for some I like it.
The course itself is up there with the best in England, although it isn't going to stand up to the test of modern technology with advancements in technology it enjoys fast running fairways, undulating greens and tree-lined fairways to ensure it is a great test of golf.
As an ex-full and now country member of Moortown, I have a lot of experience of playing this course and possibly not really qualified to comment here as a visitor. However as I now play there rarely (3-4 times per year) and to give the prospective visitor a full (and hopefully helpful) outline of it, I will.
Moortown has a fantastic heritage and is rightly regarded as one of Yorkshire's finest courses, largely due to the challenging Alister MacKenzie designed layout, featuring great variety, amazing bunkering and superb greens.
Due to maturity of the course (forests of trees growing up) conditions deteriorated somewhat (from MGC's exacting standards) from the mid-nineties to mid-noughties, especially on the greens. Action from the committee brought professional course architects in and, in conjunction with an excellent new and hungry greenkeeper, Moortown is now a better course than it has ever been. I last played there on April 17 2010 and was hugely impressed by the early season standard.
Trees have been appropriately thinned out where needed, leading to better general conditions. This is especially noticeable on the greens, where incremental light and nutrients has greatly enhanced them. The aesthetic and vistas of the course have been augmented by this, against a previously common-held viewpoint (mine) that more trees equals better course.
Course challenge is balanced, being considerable from the whites and fairly considerable from yellows, creating an enjoyable round regardless of golfer standard (though its not really for the novice). At 7,000 from the whites with a par of 71, MGC has a fair SSS of 73. This gives mid-range players such as myself a few bonus shots to help play to handicap, trust me you'll appreciate them.
There are many holes which may be described as feature, but the one to single out is the par 3 10th, "Gibraltar". At about 170 from the whites this hole (the very first to be built by the MGC founding-fathers) features a green raised up by about 15', and was originally built upon a rock (hence the name). Featuring one of the course's most sloped greens, Gibraltar is most recognisable for its bunkering; there are four of them, but by far the most noticeable, and dangerous, is front left. Set at ground level, and being immediately next to the green edge, this trap (just known as Gibraltar by members) is challenging to say the least. As a player you feel the ultimate golfing high or low dependent upon how you execute your recovery.
I don't know the cost of playing as a visitor (about £60?), but given the standard of course, club and condition (and compared to other courses I play) it represents excellent value and a superb day out. In conjunction with some of the other great courses immediately adjacent (Alwoodley, Sandmoor) North Leeds would make for an excellent 'tour destination' for any interested and educated group of golfers.
We played on a glorious September afternoon and were certainly not disappointed - anything but! It is a challenging but fair course which is thoroughly deserving of its reputation. The welcome we received was first rate and the attitude of everyone we came into contact with was first class.
It was a joy to play on a sunny winter's day even with a couple of temporary greens and a bit of water around - it had snowed earlier in the week. There are lots of tree lined fairways and you need to display a full range of shots to play near to your handicap. It's certainly not cheap if you pay the full green fee but it's a lot more mature and classier than some courses which charge plenty. Play it before the end of March 2005 for 35 pounds if you get a chance. You won't be disappointed.
A lovely course, superb greens and fairways. Not too difficult considering it is a championship qualifying course. Fairly flat. Starts with two gentle per 5's.
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