Posts Tagged ‘South Moor Golf Club’

South Moor Golf Club – Augusta of the North…

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

South Moor Golf ClubThere have been many famous golf course designers who have made a name for themselves around the world but are there any more celebrated than South Moor Golf Club designer, Dr Alister MacKenzie?

He is probably most well known for being the designer of Augusta (home of the US Masters), Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne.

However, not so much is known of South Moor Golf Club in County Durham, England.

South Moor Golf Club – The Architect…

Nicknamed “The Course Doctor“, Alister MacKenzie was born in Yorkshire to Scottish parents in 1870.

He studied at Cambridge and Leeds Universities with degrees in Chemistry, Medicine and Science, joining his father’s medical practice in Leeds.

Away from work, he was an active member of the Leeds Golf Club. He went on to serve in the Boer War 1900-01.

After WWI he joined the Royal Engineers as Second Lieutenant in order to teach camouflage techniques at the Army Camouflage School in London.

Dr Alister MacKenzieHe later took up medicine again but then abandoned his medical practice in favour of golf course architecture.

His decision to do this was in part down to his strong conviction that golf had very real benefits for patients, and he was quoted as saying…

How frequently have I, with great difficulty, persuaded patients who were never off my doorstep to take up golf, and how rarely, if ever, have I seen them in my consulting rooms again!

He then emigrated to the United States and nine years after his work in County Durham, his fabulous Augusta creation staged its first Masters.

He died in January 1934 in California, the year the US Masters was inaugurated.

South Moor Golf Club – The Club…

Over the years the club has always been extremely well supported but in 2015, the club decided is was time to promote this little known gem to a wider audience.

The club originally started life as a miners only National Coal Board golf club in 1923.

MacKenzie was a friend of Basil Sadler, managing director of Holmside & South Moor Collieries and MacKenzie started work on the course two years after its opening to redesign its layout and his work is the bedrock of the course today.

Following the redesign, the club adopted the club motto ‘nil nisi optimum‘, roughly translated from the Latin meaning Nothing but the Best!”.

In 2011 The Daily Express portrayed the “Made by MacKenzie” stamp on our course when South Moor hosted the England Boys Open, the McGregor Trophy.

South Moor Golf Club – The Course…

South Moor Golf ClubThe layout of the course is as good as any the TSG team have played in recently. Each and every hole is different and you can certainly see where some of the Augusta layout was born.

The course starts with a simple Par 3, but don’t assume it’s an easy start. The green has more breaks and borrows than you can see.

Once away, the course meanders through parkland and undulating fairways but none of the inclines will leave you gasping for breath.

However, you will get to enjoy some great views across the Durham countryside.

All of the fairways are beautifully cut and the remains of the originally ploughed fields the fairways were built on just add to the attraction of the course.

Credit should go to the greenkeepers, who clearly love the course. All the tee boxes were immaculate and the yellow gorse (in full bloom on our visit) make the place a delight to walk around.

So, to the stand-out holes. The 4th is a challenging Par 4, dog-leg left finishing to a tiny green protected by bunkers – a real treat to play. The 7th is a perfectly straight downhill Par 4,  but you will need a measured shot to ensure you hold the green.

South Moor Golf Club

The 10th is again a testing downhill hole which requires a conservative drive (in fact most holes do), allowing you top plan your second and third shots to the green, over a ditch and a bunker protected green.

However, could there be a better finishing hole?

A 450 yards right to left terrain, your second shot to the green in front of the clubhouse will either win you the match or have you heading for the bar to drown your sorrows.

Finally, we mention the Par 3’s, as everyone requires a different club! Ranging between 140 yards and 180 yards, you will enjoy every one.

Did we like the course? No, we LOVED it!

In addition, all the staff were incredibly welcoming and all the members we met were very keen to know what we thought of the course.

Which tells you, just how much they do!

TSG Verdict: 5 out of 5

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club – Where to stay…

If you require accommodation in the area, look no further than  Hill Top View Guest House in Meadowfield.

As good as any 5-star hotel we’ve stayed in and very reasonably priced rooms from £55 per night.

South Moor Golf Club – And finally…

Not many of us will ever get the chance to play at The Augusta National but if you want to get a flavour of what it’s like, you could do a lot worse than heading to County Durham.

Visit South Moor Golf Club, you will not be disappointed!

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For more information on South Moor Golf Club, the history and green fees information, visit the club website or contact the club direct on 01207 283 525.

By Ian Mullins

North of England OPEN…

Friday, April 29th, 2016
South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

Regional and national events have been around for several decades but the 54-hole North of England Open (Under-14) will go into only its third year at County Durham club South Moor in mid-August….

An old hand who played a part in the development of US Masters champion Danny Willett has succeeded with a relatively new tournament helping promising golfers to achieve competitive tournament focus at a younger age

North of England Open – Under 14’s…

Founded and organised by a former chairman of the England Golf junior selectors, Roy Case, the tournament has quickly become so popular the 90-strong field for 2016 is almost half full with three months to go.

Of the 44 boys and girls entered so far – over twice as many as this time last year – 18 have single figure handicaps.

Between 1994 and 2007, Case helped to guide the England junior team to two world titles plus victories in four European championships and eight home internationals.

He managed golfers such as Willett and Justin Rose, who went on to become the 2013 US Open champion.

South Moor Golf Club

South Moor Golf Club

North of England Open – What they said…

The first winner of Case’s Under-14 regional event, in 2014, was Sheffield’s Barclay Brown, an England Boys international from the Hallamshire club who shared the title last year.

Brown’s father Seb, who like his son is a single figure golfer, said: “Barclay is too old for the event this year but the tournament will go from strength to strength. This is thanks to the expertise of Roy Case and the enormous effort South Moor Golf Club put into organising the event, which would be a vast drain on any club’s resources.

 He went on to say: “As a three-round tournament, it improves the concentration factor of youngsters who would only otherwise compete over 18 holes. I particularly like the way there is a re-draw after rounds one and two so golfers doing well can play with others who are in contention, not the norm in most junior tournaments.”

Now lead partner in the Nottinghamshire firm Golf Concepts LP, Case formed a bond with South Moor five years ago when the club hosted the McGregor Trophy, the England Boys Under-16 Open.

Dr Alister MacKenzie, the designer who enabled Bobby Jones Junior to bring his beloved Augusta National into existence, also created the course at South Moor.

*THE 2016 North of England Under-14 tournament will be played at South Moor on August 10-11-12.

To enter, and to see who has entered so far, visit www.northofenglandu14golf.co.uk

There is a separate section for Under-12s plus handicap competitions for the whole field. Players as young as nine compete.

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By Tim Taylor