The course has retained virtually all of the features present in MacKenzie’s original design, making full use of the natural features and providing a true test for golfers at all levels of ability.
Not long by modern standards, it requires accurate play to the demanding greens, which have left many visitors longing for a return to our exciting course.
Cavendish exemplifies MacKenzie’s belief that “length has nothing to do with the quality of a hole”
A difficult opener with a blind drive over the ‘Cresta Run’. Aim left of the flagstick for the best approach to a right-to-left sloping green with a narrow entrance.
Drive to the right to leave an approach up the slope of this shallow green. Distance judgement is tricky, and a central spine effectively renders it two greens in one.
A driveable hole with – according to Tom Doak – one of the finest examples of a fall-away green in the world. Leaving your ball to the right presents an immensely difficult pitch onto a sloping green.
The change of elevation from a high tee to a low green keeps the ball in the air, making shots through cross-winds hard to judge on this beautiful short hole.
This uphill par 4 plays about thirty yards longer than measured due to water on your right forcing the drive left, and an elevated green adding distance to your second shot.
Drive left from the elevated tee to open up the narrow entrance to this heavily contoured green. The front bunker makes it difficult to judge correctly the length of the approach.
Try not to shy away from the woods on the right from the tee. Aim straight at the flag to give the best approach to a rare flat green.
A blind drive over the marker post leaves a most difficult second to a well-bunkered and hard-to-putt green. Built on top of a ridge it is exposed to the slightest breeze – a 4 is a good score here.
A delightful shot across a valley to a two-tier green. The water hazard and trees on the right force players to miss the green on the left – this hole is a real tease.
Doak considers this and the eleventh to be the best back-to-back holes designed by MacKenzie. You need a long accurate drive here to reach the plateau, only to be faced by an equally challenging second shot. Uphill to a flat green, it is deceptive in distance, with no room to miss short or left.
Another tight driving hole, with a downhill approach to a sloping green. The bunker in front prevents a running shot, making distance control vital.
A good drive presents you with a second over a ridge topped with bunkers. Some fifty yards short of the putting surface this creates ‘dead’ ground, making for a tricky shot into the right-to-left sloping green.
An excellent par 3 with a tee shot played uphill into a crescent green, making it hard to find the correct line.
A double dog-leg to the left, this is the only par 5 on the course. The out of bounds encourages play away from the wall, making it longer than its 496 yards, and the front slope of the green frustrates the golfer who tries to be too careful.
Another short hole across a valley, this runs in the opposite direction to the ninth. The green slopes so much that when firm, just holding it is quite an achievement!
A straightforward par 4 along a left-to-right sloping fairway, this presents a downhill second shot to a green cut into the slope, making a line very hard to establish. The mound guarding the front makes the approach even tougher.
A beautiful par 3, bunkered to the left and rear. The level plateau towards the back right of the green is notoriously had to find when the pin is cut there.
A great finishing hole, demanding a drive that reaches the plateau to the left – failure to do so means the ball kicking right across Watford Road. The second is played across a valley in front of the clubhouse, and devilish to judge. The flat green is a relief after what has gone before!
Eddie Birchenough has written helpful tips on playing each hole.
Now retired, Eddie was Head Professional for 27 years at Royal Lytham & Saint Anne’s GC, where he was responsible for 4 Open Championships.