One of Britain’s great inland courses, Ganton, the former Ryder Cup host, is steeped in history.
The heathland layout in the Vale of Pickering boasts deep bunkers to rival Woodhall Spa’s, and swathes of gorse courtesy of a planting programme in the 1930s, so it can defend itself admirably when the wind sweeps in as it often does.
There are too many great holes to list, but the 6th, with a hint of Gleneagles, stands out, as does the very pretty par-3 10th, where the green is heavily bunkered and contoured, but also slightly concave, meaning that only the worst of miscues will suffer, while minor ones may gather back in.
When you play the 17th and 18th, which both cross the entrance road, marvel at the vast pit between the two… and then marvel even more when you learn that this was once a vast bunker maintained by horse-drawn rakes or ploughs!
Inland golf doesn’t get much better than this: Moortown is a magical Alister Mackenzie layout which has been thrilling and challenging golfers since 1909. Twenty years later it staged the first Ryder Cup on these shores and down the years has hosted many prestigious amateur and professional tournaments, including Open qualifying until 2016. Set in 175 acres of dramatically contrasting woodland and moorland, Moortown has a grandstand finish – the 18th requires two rock solid shots to find a well guarded green sitting just feet from the clubhouse.
Some of the best putting surfaces in the country. It offers a great mix of heather and pine and has a good mix of 3s, 4s and 5s.
Alwoodley is one of England’s finest inland courses and was in fact master designer Alister MacKenzie’s very first piece of work. His new career – he was in fact club secretary at the time – certainly got off to the best possible start. The course is a joy to play year-round though particularly at this time of year when the fairways run fast, meaning accuracy and cunning rules over brute force and power. It isn’t long by any means but danger lurks round every corner and any birdies made are hard earned, including the par-5 10th which apparently MacKenzie later re-modelled on the 13th at Augusta. It has undergone some changes in recent times, the 7th and 13th holes being ‘beefed up’ with new bunkering while a new drainage system has been installed.