Founded in 1909 and just a short hop across the A61 from Alwoodley is Moortown Golf Club. They share not only proximity, but also designer, as Moortown is another of Dr. Alister Mackenzie’s early designs, having visited the club in 1908 to offer his growing expertise and reputation to the founding members. The course opened in 1910 with an exhibition match between James Braid and Harry Vardon, who between them had won 10 Open Championships (4 for Braid, a record 6 for Vardon) and the latter had also lifted the US Open in 1900. In the modern day, it would be quite an exhibition! In 1929, the first-ever Ryder Cup to be held on European soil was at Moortown. Having been rejected by Alwoodley! It was from then that the spotlight fell on the Moortown course. The US side featured the likes of Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen, but it was the GB side that emerged victoriously 7-5. Moortown Golf Club has since gone on to host many amateur and professional tournaments in the intervening years including the British Seniors Open, The Brabazon Trophy and also countless Amateur Championships.
Moortown, as the name suggests, was developed on heath and moorland. Similar to his work at Alwoodley, MacKenzie has produced a stunning array of superb bunkering across the golf course as well as similarly daunting and undulating green complexes. MacKenzie became Vice President of the club in 1901 and Captain in 1913, and his affinity to Moortown remained up until 1928 at which time his brother Charles took over in a consulting capacity.
The signature hole at Moortown is a MacKenzie special, the par three, 172yard “Gibraltar.” The history books show that this was a rocky outcropped corner. However, MacKenzie managed to use the (un)natural terrain to sculpt this superb par three. A series of four sizeable bunkers surround the hole, eating away at the sides of the putting surface and creating a sandy grave for anything not perfectly struck in the center of the green. The putting surface itself undulates significantly, and so the stroke index of ‘16′ will leave some golfers scratching their heads as they head off to the 11th tee box. Playing slightly uphill and usually into a cross breeze, this is a tough test on most days of the week and shows a lot of the designer traits of Alister MacKenzie.
Moortown is yet another unmissable round for any fan of Alister MacKenzie’s work. The Consummate Pro highly recommends that you make a visit and play Alwoodley in conjunction with Moortown when in this part of England. We will be delighted to bring you to this beautiful part of England to experience world-class golf and world-class hospitality.