Teeing off at one of Yorkshire's finest

Michael Smyth
Thu, 2 Sep 2010

Typical of all great courses there’s a classic finish starting at the quirky 16th where you cant see the landing area from the tee, and unless you hit a perfect shot you are somewhat blinded for your approach.

I came seriously unstuck with my second shot catching a flier – okay, slightly tugging it as well – which entered one of the many bushes protecting the left of the green on the fly. My opponent had pulled his tee shot OB and decided to go back and take his chances with a second ball to keep the game alive.

And he nearly pulled off a great birdie with his second ball. His approach looked good off the bat but with a slight tail wind the ball didn’t check up next to the flag as it looked likely. It was left for me to hole out for the match from ten-feet and taking a score off the stag which is no mean feat when you consider he once took a course record off a former Ryder Cupper in Gordon Brand Jr – back in the day lad.

The remaining two holes need serious consideration of wind direction, club selection and where not to miss it! 17 is the shortest of the par-3s but needs a good knock from 155 to a well bunkered green – again a three here everyday would be more than acceptable.

18 demands a well hit drive up the left-half and away from the well positioned bunkers on the right to allow for a chance to get home in two to a well-guarded green which nestles under the clubhouse.

Many famous shots have been played to the closing hole, including Seve Ballesteros managing to fly a 9-iron approach clean over the green to the practise putting surface!

However the most historic shot which was regaled by one of the club members post-round was by Nigel Denham during the English stroke-play championship. His approach shot missed the green and bounced through an open clubhouse window. His ball settled on the carpet and he was allowed to play a recovery shot back to the green.

The clubhouse has since been deemed out of bounds.

It was in the Dr Alister Mackenzie Room of the clubhouse that a hearty Yorkshire roast beef dinner was served up by the friendly and well-informed head chef John Alexander, complemented by a bottle or three of 1995 St Emilion.

Yorkshire has never met Bordeaux in bringing such unbridled joy to any (stag) party in the room named after arguably the greatest golf course designer to ever live – and the one reason I wanted to study in Leeds… to play great golf courses.

Moortown has it all! If you haven’t yet had the pleasure you should tick this classic off sooner rather than later.

For more of Moortown’s fascinating history visit their website and to see the recent additions to the course via a helicopter flyover, click here