Alwoodley is regarded as one of Britain’s finest inland courses. It was designed by the great Dr Alister MacKenzie. This famed architect left a legacy of classic courses around the world – among them Augusta National, Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne.
However, Alwoodley was the first course he designed and is therefore known as the Original MacKenzie.
The Alwoodley Golf Club was founded in 1907. The course was laid out that year on Wigton Moor, part of the Harewood estate, on the outskirts to the north of Leeds.
One of the founders was a local GP called Dr Alister MacKenzie, who would also design the course.
Alwoodley was the first course that MacKenzie created and he would go on to become one of the most treasured golf course architects in the game’s history.
“Alwoodley was the first course MacKenzie designed and is therefore known as the Original MacKenzie”
His masterpieces span the globe and include Augusta National and Cypress Point in the USA, and Royal Melbourne in Australia. Each of these is commonly regarded as being one of the best 10 golf courses in the world.
The original MacKenzie layout remains at Alwoodley to this day. The course has now been lengthened to over 6,900 yards from the championship tees.
The club have been careful to retain the heathland and moorland characteristics of the course, as well as the MacKenzie hallmarks of variety, natural beauty and intriguing strategy.
Above: Alister MacKenzie playing the 18th at Alwoodley
This heathland course, set high atop Wigton Moor, is long established as one of Great Britain and Ireland’s top 100 courses. The tight, springy, fast-running fairways are cut out of heather and gorse.
Cunningly bunkered, the large greens are undulating and allow for many interesting pin positions.
Work under the supervision of Ken Moodie saw almost all of the bunkers restored to MacKenzie’s original specifications while new championship tees took the yardage to 6,914 yards against a par of 71.
The most recent course work, conducted by Clyde Johnson, who trained under Tom Doak, has seen extensive tree removal, gorse and heather management and reconfiguration of some of the bunkering.
Alwoodley is renowned for both its wonderful par 3s – the green on the 11th has more than a touch of Augusta about it – as well as the strength of the fearsome closing stretch, played into the prevailing wind that arrives fresh from the Yorkshire Dales.
Watch out for the red kites soaring overhead and the roe deer running across the fairways as you enjoy your golf on this challenging MacKenzie course.
Over 100 years on, Alwoodley continues to be a sought-after venue for major tournaments, hosting events for the R&A, England Golf and the Yorkshire Union on a regular basis.
In 2019, Alwoodley welcomed the Brabazon Trophy – or the English Amateur Open Strokeplay Championship, to give its full title – for the first time.