Sometimes in life you know something is going to be great before you experience it. Alwoodley Golf Club is that sort of experience!
We visited one Saturday in the height of the now famous summer of 2018 and it will be a day long remembered, like one of those days as a child that is indelible in your mind; your first new bike, the first time you watched Star Wars that sort of memory. Vivid, emotional, exciting.
Lunch on the terrace with a cold drink set the round up before it had even begun. 30 degree heat and no wind made for tremendous conditions to play. After a quick visit to the very friendly Pro, we were ready to do battle with the course.
Opening with a strong uphill par 4 you are instantly hit with the quality of the set up. Tight springy fairways and well manicured bunkers frame the holes, the greens are firm, fast, undulating and very true. No excuses on these surfaces; if you hit a good put you are rewarded, if you do not you can 3 putt with regularity - we did!
After the short par 4 2nd, with a fiendishly difficult green if you hit the wrong section, you then cross a small internal road and what seems like the whole of Yorkshire opens up in front of you. You could be forgiven for thinking we were in the middle of the countryside, not 2 minutes from Leeds Ring Road; the scenery is stunning. Like the famous heathland courses of Berkshire, the natural land is awe-inspiring. The holes just keep getting better and better; one after another the hits keep coming like Wham! songs in the 80’s, each one more structured, more intricate and more challenging. Reachable par 5’s, long par 4’s with sweeping elevation changes, par 3’s with bunkers gobbling up errant tee shots; the course has variety in spades. Stunning.
Normally when you think back after playing a course you think of the signature hole, the one you want to go back and play again. Alwoodley GC has 18 holes of signature holes. It is that good. We actually laughed out loud on some of the tee boxes as you come to see what is next. Stunning design by Dr Alister MacKenzie, 23 years before Augusta National and you can see the visual cues that he took to one of the most iconic layouts the world has seen. The par 3 12th and the par 4 13th smack you in the face with their familiarity despite never being seen. They take you to Augusta instantly. Superb holes.
As you make the turn back towards the picture box Clubhouse you realise that the holes are running out and the experience is going to end. The sense of wishing to do it all again is overwhelming. So we did! At 7.35pm we pegged it back up on the 1st tee and played as many holes as the day would give us. With the light fading and a beautiful red sky above us we played the 18th for the second time, feeling that this has been one of those great rounds in life. A reminder of how great golf can be. The ingredients for a lasting memory? Absolutely.
Great friends, playing in the height of the Summer of ‘18, on one of the greatest golf courses designed by a legend of the game. 28 holes in one evening. What more could you ask for? Maybe cold beer in the Clubhouse? Of course we did and the staff kept the bar open until we finished! Superb customer service.
Alwoodlwey GC: A class act from start to finish.
Ratings: Course 5, Staff 5, Facilities 5
Price: From £70-120 depending on time of year.