Wherever you’re playing golf this weekend, you could be playing somewhere even better. Allow us to offer these four must plays for starters.
At this special time of the year, few golfers remain to be convinced of the design genius of Dr Alister MacKenzie. Augusta National may be his seminal work but the good doctor began his career on this side of the Atlantic and specifically in his home county of Yorkshire.
After serving in the Boer War, MacKenzie became a founding member at Alwoodley in 1907, where he had the opportunity to put his architectural theories to the test.
Legend has it the committee at the Leeds club required reassurance and so the great Harry Colt, then secretary at Sunningdale, was called north to offer a second opinion. Colt was able to confirm that MacKenzie was in fact following many of his own design principles – and the rest is history.
This heathland course, set high atop Wigton Moor, is long established as one of Great Britain and Ireland’s Top 100 courses.
Recent work under the supervision of Ken Moodie has seen almost all of the bunkers restored to MacKenzie’s original specifications while new championship tees take the yardage to 6,914 yards against a par of 71.
Alwoodley is renowned for both its wonderful par 3s – the green on the 11th has more than a touch of Augusta about it – as well as the strength of the fearsome closing stretch, played into the prevailing wind that arrives fresh from the Yorkshire Dales.
In addition, the 10th hole here provided the model for the famous 13th at Augusta – both are risk-and-reward par 5s that sweep from right to left.
Quick-draining thanks to the sandy soil underfoot, you will never walk off Alwoodley with mud on your shoes – let alone your trousers.
Mackenzie was also instrumental in creating Moortown, on the other side of the A61. The two courses are only half a mile apart and their histories remain intertwined.
The clubs have recently collaborated on a package that offers world-class heathland golf – created by the man behind Augusta National – for a very appealing price. You can find out full details below.