Any course associated with the name Dr Alister MacKenzie will catch the eye of the golfing enthusiast. As the designer of Augusta National, MacKenzie has played a major part in golfing history and Alwoodley was his first design. It is a thrill to visit the first course the famous designer ever created and the layout lives up to the history surrounding it.
Alwoodley incorporates the finest characteristics of Mackenzie’s famous designs. As well as Augusta, these include Royal Melbourne, the breathtaking Cypress Point and nearby Moortown. The bunker placement in particular is perfect and every hole is different making this an unforgettable layout. The first tee shot is intimidating to say the least as the first tee is situated so close to the clubhouse that there is no hiding the first tee nerves.
An overcast day greeted the players at the last Volkswagen Masters 2007 Regional Final but this took nothing away from the wow factor on arrival at Alwoodley. Scoring was impressive on a difficult day as players looked to secure a spot in the UK Final on the new Ryder Cup Course at Celtic Manor.
The winner of Group A and the third lady to make it through to this years UK Final was Melanie Temple from Seascale Golf Club. Off a handicap of 5 Melanie shot a round of nett 72 to secure her place in the final. ?The key to playing well round here was keeping the ball on the fairway and I did this by leaving the driver in the bag most of the time and hitting 7-wood. I was confident enough with the long irons to leave my self a longer yardage into the green,? she said.
Alex Simpson from Fulford Golf Club shot an excellent round of nett 69 to take Group B by one shot. The 10 handicapper struggled from the bunkers but kept on fighting and putted well to take the win. ?I have seen the new Ryder Cup Course at Celtic Manor advertised and it looks fantastic,? said Simpson.
The final place in the 2007 UK Final went to Peter Tannett who won Group C on his home course. The 20 handicapper shot a round of 74 to win the group. ?When you play off a higher handicap you can allow yourself a few mistakes, but other than one disaster I played fairly well today.?
The 30 UK Finalists have now been decided and they will all meet at Celtic Manor in September. One winner from each group will progress to the World Final at the Arabella Resort in South Africa.
DATE: July 26
STATS: par 72, SSS 72, 6,666 yards
T: 0113 268 1680
Ranked No. 81 in the Golf Monthly Top 120 Course Rankings
Founded in 1907 this was the first design by the great Alister MacKenzie who went on to create the iconic Augusta National. A moorland layout, it features heather, great bunkering and tricky greens.
A major programme in the 1990s included reconstruction of all the putting greens to USGA specifications and the enlargement of selected tees as well as tree removal designed to return the course to its original character.
A straight-out-and-back design, many believe the inward nine is the trickier half at Alwoodley as it is played into winds coming off the Yorkshire Moors. In fact, it is said players need to make their score on the first 12 holes and hold on for dear life over the final six. The 18th is a great finishing hole featuring heavy bunkering and a tough approach to a well-guarded putting surface.