Moortown Golf Club

MacKenzie built the legendary hole Gibraltar which paved the way for the other 17.

 

Moortown Golf Club

West Yorkshire, England

Overview

Moortown Golf Club is a former Ryder Cup Venue.

Moortown was inspired by what a nongolfer witnessed at Ganton Golf Club.


Golf Course Review

Moortown Golf Club is an 18 hole, Alister MacKenzie-designed golf course in Alwoodley, near Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

Moortown Golf Club History

The genesis of Moortown Golf Club was the brainchild of a non-golfer by the name of Fred Lawson-Brown. Patric Dickinson writes that while on holiday in Bridlington in 1903, Mr. Lawson-Brown took a trip to Ganton and was so inspired by its beauty he decided Leeds needed a golf course just as stunning. After 5 years of searching, the current site was chosen in 1908.

The course was laid on Blackmoor and required significant effort to make it suitable for golf. The entire moor needed to be drained as it was a 'boggy hillside full of stagnant pools.' The 175-acre site could now be called a mixture of woodland and moorland.

It was said that Moortown's greens were the first inland to be designed and built in the fashion of rolling links greens. The full course was open for play on September 24, 1910, with an exhibition match between James Braid and Harry Vardon.

Moortown & Alister MacKenzie

Dr. Alister MacKenzie was next door laying out Alwoodley and built a single hole to demonstrate his skills to both the founders and potential members of the golf club. Thereafter, he was commissioned to build the full course as his first solo design.

One-Shot Holes

It was reported that MacKenzie made all of the greens and green surrounds at the same time. The highlight of the course was the one-shot holes. Five in total, it was said the worst of the lot would make the reputation of most inland golf courses. In fact, the 17th was once considered the best artificially constructed golf hole in the Kingdom at the time.

Alister MacKenzie patterned the following holes after their originals:

  • Original* 5th - 6th at Walton Heath
  • Original* 11th - 7th at Stoke Park
  • Original* 15th - 11th (Eden) Old Course St Andrews

*Changes have been made to the course since inception. There are now 4 one-shot holes rather than 5. We are endeavoring to uncover the evolution of the course as this is being written.

Gibraltar

The prototype was none other than a one-shot hole that features a multi-tiered green named Gibraltar. Earning its namesake, it is built on a large rock which creates the base and forms the shape of the green.

Moortown Synopsis

The golf course itself is a complete set of 18 without a weak link where width is a key golf architecture feature.

Whilst most attribute the design as a whole to Alister MacKenzie, it was his younger brother, Charles, who would lead the course through its final development from 1928 to 1933.

In the near past, Ken Moodie has been responsible for getting the club back to its MacKenzie roots with recent work at the club. Since then, Clyde Johnson has been hired to carry the club forward with even more extensive restoration.

Moortown Golf Club & The Ryder Cup

Moortown Golf club played host to the first European Ryder Cup in 1929. The British side had well-known names such as Abe Mitchell, Percy Alliss (Father of Peter Alliss), Henry Cotton, and George Duncan. The US team had Gene Sarazen, Walter Hagan, and 2x Masters Champion, Horton Smith.

Moortown Golf Club Reviews

Read Neil Crafter's article about Gibraltar for SAGCA.

Moortown Photography

Purchase Kevin Murray's photography of Moortown Golf Club.

Ranked92/100in GB&I
Joe McDonnell & Evalu18 Ltd

Featured Architect: Alister MacKenzie

As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: 1 - The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. 2 - There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. 3 - There should be little walking...

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At a glance

Architects

Consultant

  • Johnson, Clyde

Facilities

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Contact Details

West Yorkshire, LS17 7DB, England

Visit Club Website

Bookings

Book your break at Moortown Golf Club

Call now: +1 843 968 0991

Bookings via GolfBreaks.com

Joe McDonnell & Evalu18 Ltd

Featured Architect: Alister MacKenzie

As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: 1 - The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. 2 - There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. 3 - There should be little walking...

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