Cavendish Golf Club

An Alister MacKenzie gem, Tom Doak Gourmet Choice recipient & possibly the best < 6000-yard golf course in the world.

Cavendish Golf Club

Derbyshire, SK17 6XF, England


  • Clever use of elevation changes.
  • Variety of green complexes.
  • Wide fairways reward accuracy, not straight driving.
  • World-class 10th.
  • Great golf at under 6000 yards.
  • Use of natural features.
  • Ravine on 1, 2, 3 and 18.
  • Creek on 4, 10 and 11.
  • Severe slopes throughout.
  • Incorporation of manmade features. Railway on 5, 6, 14 & 15 and wall on 14.
  • Centenary Plans have been approved!
  • Alister MacKenzie's Eden template hole is the cross ravine par 3 15th.
Course Review
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Golf Course Review

Perhaps the best-known golf course architect past or present is Dr. Alister MacKenzie. His work around the world, particularly in the sand-belt of Australia and on the Monterey peninsula gains constant and growing acclaim. Also, each year his godlike status is further reinforced by the masses who tune in each year to The Masters. A world away in the peak district of Derbyshire, England sits Cavendish Golf Club in the Victorian spa town of Buxton.

Cavendish Golf Club Greens

What is immediately discernible at Cavendish Golf Club is the variety and quality of the greens. The first green is heart-shaped. The second? Wide, shallow and oblong rewarding a shot hit to the correct distance. The third is kidney-shaped. The fourth – similar to the second but turned 90 degrees to reward accuracy and allow for a slight miscalculation with regards to distance. The false fronts on five, fourteen, and fifteen all give the visual impression of a large green that plays much smaller. The same praise can be heaped on all eighteen.

Elevation at Cavendish Golf Club

Cavendish Golf Club is an undulating moorland with challenging side slopes. Because of the topography, there are exquisite views and a little hill climbing. The first three holes are seemingly straight from tee to green but must be played as doglegs. A ravine is used to add interest on the first three holes and the closing hole. The same ravine is hit across on the first and third tees. It is hit over on the approach to the second and final greens.

Mackenzie also uses elevation at Cavendish Golf Club to perfection. Tee shots and approach shots requiring a carry are encountered often but are not a stretch even for the long handicap. There are shots from elevated tees and shots to elevated greens along with shots required over ravines, creek beds, and depressions throughout.

The Genius of Strategic Design

The fairways at Cavendish Golf Club are broad, but the golfer must place the shot. The right angle of attack into the green is paramount. The best example of this is perhaps the eighth. From the tee, visible is a prominent ridge. The high right to the low left slant of the ridge gives the impression the ball should be played to the right; however, after clearing the ridge, the fairway levels off. Due to the bunkering greenside, the green can be attacked only from the left. From the right, it is protected by a bunker and semi-blind.

Summary of Cavendish Golf Club

Cavendish Golf Club is a wonder. The variety of greens, both the size and shape, are world-class. The severely sloping site along with creeks, ravines, and rolling terrain make the routing a wonder. What MacKenzie was able to produce on a complicated piece of land is awe-inspiring. Cavendish is not spectacular at first sight. It doesn’t impress on a routing map or scorecard. However, once enjoyed it is a course that provides countless lessons for the architecturally inclined student of the game.

Cavendish GC Reviews

Read about The Parallels Between Cavendish and Augusta.

Take Sean Arble’s tour of Cavendish.

Read More

Cavendish Golf Club - Videos

Check Out CNN's Report of Cavendish Golf Club

Featured Architect: MacKenzie, Alister

As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...

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At A Glance



Dog Friendly
Short Game


Alister MacKenzie Collection
Best English Golf Collection
Doak Scale Collection

Contact Details

Derbyshire, SK17 6XF, England
Visit Club Website


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