Regional Qualifying Feature Alwoodley Golf Club
As one of the first courses designed by one of the men behind Augusta National, Alwoodley Golf Club will present a challenge for players when it hosts Regional Qualifying for The 147th Open.
The course, founded on the outskirts of Leeds in 1907, is one of 13 host venues for players hoping to progress to Carnoustie to contest for the Claret Jug this summer.
It was designed by celebrated Scottish architect Dr Alister MacKenzie, the brains behind three of the world’s most renowned courses – Augusta National, Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne.
While the course has since been lengthened to 6,900 yards, Alwoodley member Dan Murphy said the original MacKenzie layout remains and will provide a stern challenge for those competing in the Regional Qualifier on 25 June.
“He is clearly one of the greatest architects and we’re incredibly proud that he began his career at Alwoodley,” said Murphy. “The course is a high-lying, heathland/moorland blend and the fairways are lined by heather and a fair bit of gorse as well.”
“The course really begins when you stand on the 13th tee and you play into the prevailing wind back towards the Yorkshire Dales - and the closing stretch is incredibly demanding.”
“The members will tell you that they don’t really look at their scorecard through 12 holes because they know that the work is still to come on the last six.”
As well as a tricky final stretch of holes, players will also have to tackle two of Alwoodley’s signature holes, including one that will be very familiar to those who have watched the Masters.
“The par 5 10th hole at Alwoodley is said to be the inspiration for the famous par 5 13th at Augusta; they’re both sweeping left to right par 5s that are dangerous but they also offer a chance of a heroic eagle to the professional player,” said Murphy.
“So that’s a very famous hole and the one after it, our 11th, is a par 3 to a sloping green which is very easy to four putt, believe it or not, so those two are the most recognisable.”
It is the second year a row that Alwoodley has hosted Regional Qualifying for The Open Championship and Murphy said preparations for the event begin well in advance.
“We’re a course that is lucky enough to host lots of important events and we have the Brabazon Trophy next year, which is the English Amateur Strokeplay Championship.
“So, we’re quite used to hosting prestigious amateur events, but this will be the only link with professional golf that we have and we’re proud to be a Regional Qualifying host. It’s validation for the club and the course and we think that it is a really fantastic test of golf, especially when there is a bit of wind, which there normally is.”