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Breadsall Priory - The Priory Course Feature Review

By: Rob Cross | Fri 19 Oct 2018

Standing in over 400 acres of stunning parkland this Marriott Hotel and Country Club offers 36 holes of golf in beautiful surroundings, one of only 30 resorts in England offering accommodation and 36 holes. Located in Morley, Derbyshire, close to the Peak District National Park sits Breadsall Priory.

This resort is shared by a healthy membership and guests, with the two courses rotated on alternate days, allowing members to experience a member’s only course that day, with hotel guests on the other side of the complex.

Rated Highly Recommended on Golfshake

Designed by David Cox and opened for play in 1977, The Priory is classed as the championship course at Breadsall. Par 70 and measuring 6,120 yards from the medal tees (white), also our choice for the day. Described as tree-lined and tight, simply a true test of accuracy

Pre-Round Thoughts

Feedback and word of mouth heightened my anticipation to play “The Championship” Course at Breadsall. Playing the other course (Moorland) on the previous day, hearing how different they were along with some stunning views, increased our desire to get out on the course. I was interested to see if this was a very different challenge.

Hosted by Steve Turner (Director of Golf) after one of the best buffet breakfasts at a resort, we headed to the 1st tee; a stone’s throw from the Pro Shop and behind the spacious putting green.

Practice facilities are all present and to a really high standard. A large putting green sits behind the 1st tee on the Priory Course, with a covered driving range adjacent to the 1st hole on the Moorland. Great facilities, including a chipping green with bunkers, all available and all within close proximity, a huge plus at any resort Visiting in September 2018 and playing early the weather was fair, a bit of drizzle but in general good golfing weather.

Front 9 Overview

The Priory course starts very much as it means to go on, a short Par 4 measuring 319 yards BUT as with so many of the holes a sloping fairway (on the 1st from right to left) – a huge tree sits on the left of the slope. A raised green with a big drop off to the left and bunker on the right. The 2nd is a mid-length Par 3, with the 3rd hole again has a massively sloping fairway – this time left to right. From the first few holes the golfer can figure out what is in store, plenty of trees, serious undulations (and more than a few marker posts).

The first of only two Par 5’s is the 4th hole, relatively flat but best to favour the left side, for an approach to a raised green with a bank behind. Going down the right = trees, and the approach is tough too with the greens sloping from right to left.

The highlight of the front nine is the 7th hole, a long Par 4 playing 451 yards with a slight dog-leg left to right. Anything left is safe, but leaves a wood or hybrid for the approach. Tiger line takes the ball over the trees on the right of the fairway. A sloping green from back to front means par is a good score here, to most golfers, maybe a Par 5 in reality.

The Priory front nine ends with a hole which on paper looks easy, a Par 4 measuring only 272 yards, but to reach the green, you’ll have to carry the ball the full 270 yards over tall trees or hit a perfect fade as the green is 90 degrees left of the fairway. A very tricky hole with the green sloping severely from back to front and left to right.

Back 9 Overview

The back nine starts in the same way as the front nine ends, with a quirky hole. From the tee the green isn’t visible on this Par 4 dog leg uphill, right to left hole. Option 1 is to hit a mid-iron to the end of the fairway OR as only 315 yards to the green, option 2 is to hit blind over the trees and hope to get the ball close to chip on.

Moving onto Breadsall’s “famous” hole, the 11th and it’s arguably the courses signature hole. From a hugely elevated tee, over the road to the hotel onto a tree lined fairway, the golfer if straight can get the ball close to the green some 363 yards away! Breath-taking views are a huge feature of this hole; you won’t fail to be impressed. The 12th hole runs parallel and the green is raised, again with a bank behind and a two tiered green playing back over the road. The 13th is a brilliant hole, a short Par 4 which through the trees doglegs almost 90 degrees right to left. The golfer tees off from an elevated tee only to play back up to the green which is above the fairway another vicious green sloping from left to right.

On the card the 15th looks like a brute of a hole. Measuring 462 yards BUT after a blind tee shot and a left to right fairway slope, the hole drops down impressively to a green well protected by bunkers, this shortens the hole negating the distance of the hole. Stunning hole visually with water right and long. 16th works in the opposite direction, the tee is below the green and the fairway gradually rises the closer you get to the guarded green. 424 yards on the card, this hole plays considerably longer.

The 17th gives the 11th on The Priory course a run for its money for the signature hole title. Measuring 184 yards this Par 3 is as the 15th the green is well below the golfer. Club selection is key, bunkers front left, right and a water hazard long. 18th is a short par 5, with the hotel directly behind the green, another sloping fairway from left to right to finish, with a raised green which slopes from back to front and left to right, a great chance to end with a birdie!

Post-round Thoughts

The back nine is strong, with 6 really great golf holes these will all challenge, frustrate and hopefully reward the player. 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 17th all worthy of a mention, the actual lay out of the course is varied but the undulations of the fairways are also worthy of a mention.

The whole course is a treat, the condition was fantastic, greens especially good and of a very similar pace to the previous days course. I’d say a lot of the holes would benefit from local knowledge, with the sloping fairways, trees and dog-legs throughout the course to catch players out. That said, only a few holes demand length and accurate shots should be rewarded. It isn’t a pull your driver on every hole type of course, and local knowledge is a huge advantage.

I played OK, struggled off the tee which is never a good start and the course is tricky so I was nearly always punished. Also I didn’t putt anywhere near as well as on Moorland the previous day which led to a round a couple over handicap, maybe due to the greens being very subtle in places.

The bar after was busy and welcoming, we ate (the night before) in the Cast Iron Bar and Grill, which sits by the golf area adjacent to the spa facilities. The menu is varied and decent value and would appeal to golfers direct from the course and guests alike. The Bar and Grill has been rolled out Marriott wide and compliments the style of the hotel. Breadsall Priory also offers a restaurant in the hotel which is more buffet style.


Priory course at Breadsall is well worth playing, tight in places, tricky with plenty of marker posts along the way. A real challenge. Sloping fairways, elevated tees and changes, it’s got a bit of everything.

The condition was of a really high standard, greens and fairways were solid. Due to location plays all year round as well. It has a real golf club feel to it as opposed to a resort. Personally this course is not one that suits my game, but the back nine is visually impressive and I loved the holes where you play down to a green below the fairway. Breadsall has a thriving membership, greens fees are reasonable and it’s well worth a visit to play either course. Groups of golfers would be the perfect target audience, great hotel and facilities, two totally different high standard golf courses and a welcoming bar all lead to what would almost certainly an enjoyable break away.

I would without doubt play The Priory again, armed with a bit more local knowledge, if only to play the stunning back nine.

Overall Rating – 9
Course (Conditions) - 9
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9
Course (Green Condition) - 9

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 9
Practice Facilities - 9
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 10
Value for Money - 10

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