Golfmagic's Andy Roberts takes a trip up to Manchester to play Worsley Park

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 19 Feb 2014
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Onto the seventh, and hello signature hole! Wow, what a seriously great design. Playing 160 yards into a slight right-to-left wind and knowing this was a day for target golf, I pulled out the 7-iron and took dead aim over two water hazards. I stuck it to 7-feet but unfortunately lipped out the putt and tapped home for par. More than happy with that standing on the tee, mind.

The par-4 eighth, for me, is the toughest hole on the course despite ranking as stroke index 3. It’s not long but it’s all about course management. It’s the one par-4 on the course where driver is not an option. It was like playing to one island off the tee and another island on the green. Picking out a 4-iron to stay short of the lake in the distance, and having enough club to clear the water some 100 yards away from the tee, I still had to crunch a 4-iron out the middle just to find the front edge of the green. Perhaps I should have taken a hybrid off the tee and given myself a shorter club in, but my take is, if you’re laying up, lay up! A disappointing three-putt bogey to slip to 1-over.

The next two holes present a much-needed respite with a pretty simple par-3 at nine measuring 180 yards with no trouble in the way. So simple in fact, I made bogey and fell back to 2-over for the round after my ball spun off the front edge and down into the collection area short of the green. A little like the Valley of Sin at St Andrews’ famed 18th. The 10th provides a gentle start to the front nine with a 360-yarder playing dead straight over the brow of the hill

The par-3 11th is probably the toughest par-3 at Worsley Park mainly because it’s an uphill carry from 190 yards with trees and bunkers guarding the green. A delicate chip that sat two inches short of the cup was a more-than-welcome bonus.

One of my favourite holes was the 311-yard par-4 12th. It reminded me a little of the par-4 10th that we all saw on the PGA Tour at Riviera last week. Par-4s don’t need to be long to cause problems. The thought did Cross my mind about taking iron off the tee to stay short of the bunkers guarding the green and trouble down the left, but I thought better of it as I knew I was driving well. I ripped it out the middle but found the trap some 30 yards away. Playing from wet sand, from 30 yards, out a bunker, it’s what nightmares are made of. For me anyway. Thankfully I got the ball out to some 15-feet and narrowly slid it past on the left side. A par wasn’t what I was thinking on the tee but it certainly was when standing over my approach.

From then on in to the house, one of the most scenic holes on the course is the long par-5 13th with water running down the entire left-hand side, shortly before a simple par-3 at 14. The par-4 15th is wide off the tee but don’t go left and long like I did, you’ll be left with a devilish time to get your ball up and down out some very deep rough.

The 16th looked so appealing off the tee. I was standing there, hands on hips, thinking this is a golden chance for birdie, hence why I probably gave it a little bit extra off the tee. 30 seconds later, standing with bum in a bush with a swing I’m not even sure was legal to get back onto the short grass, a punched 5-iron to the right of the green led to a disastrous double-bogey. Not a long hole but do not go left. It’s shocking down there.

Standing on the 17th with hands on head and regretting my last tee shot, there was a little more fire and venom than normal on my tee shot down the penultimate hole, particularly when I saw the numbers 287 on the tee box. My drive found the front edge of the green and despite an awful first putt, I rolled home the six-footer for birdie to get back to 3-over.

The finale at Worsley Park is a delightful par-5 measuring 504 yards off the whites, and with light starting to fade, the view back to the hotel and clubhouse looked resplendent behind the green. A big drive and fairway wood saw me fall 20 yards short of the green but playing into a very undulating green with pin right at the back, a par was all I could muster.

Video Instruction: Winter tips with Worsley Park head professional David Screeton

After the round, I enjoyed a Bite to eat and cold one in Tempo Bar. There’s a real relaxed atmosphere in there, as always when it comes to Marriott venues. You can leave your spikes on while you relax and catch up on your favourite sports on widescreen HD TVs. The pro shop also offers a well-stocked shop to cater for your every needs.

Verdict

I’ve played several courses in the North West when travelling up to see United but for me, Worsley Park is the finest inland courses in the region. It’s open off the tee as I mentioned earlier, but the doglegs, carefully plotted water hazards and bunkering, and giant undulating greens will test the most accomplished golfers. It’s a testament to not only course architects King and McMurray of European Golf Design but also the work of the greenkeeping staff. The conditioning of this layout in terms of tee boxes, fairways, bunkering and greens is pretty extraordinary, particularly given the torrential rain the course has undertaken in recent months

Visitor Rates

Winter (October-March): £25pp
Summer (April-September): £55pp Monday-Thursday; £65pp Friday-Sunday

Address

Worsley Park, Manchester, M28 2QT

Contact

Visit www.marriottworsleypark.co.uk for more information on specials and packages for groups of 12 or more

 

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