Ulverston Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Cross (Handicap 8)
Set in South Cumbria within the gorgeous Lake District sits Ulverston Golf Club. Around 40 minutes from the M6 motorway junction 36, this par 71 parkland course measures 6,300 yards off the white tees. H.S Colt, well known throughout the world for superb golf course architecture, remodelled the course in the 1920s after being originally designed by Open Champion Alex Herd. Making it more challenging, but also rewarding with a focus on making each hole individual to be enjoyed by all levels of golfer.
Ulverston GC is a members club which is open to visitors, both golf and social, making it one of the most popular courses in the area.
The picturesque views are unique overlooking Morecambe Bay, with the course offering some serious undulations! On a clear day Blackpool can be seen.
We had a tour of the large clubhouse which has windows overlooking the countryside, the traditional golf club feel continues into the locker room, where you can leave your trolley and clubs alike. I was met by member (and good friend) Chris Conway, taking some time to warm up using the covered driving range and also the putting green adjacent to the 1st tee.
Club professional Alyn Cousins joined us, after borrowing a trolley and having a look around the well-stocked shop we headed to the 1st tee. The weather for the time of year (April 2019) was remarkably calm and dry! If anyone has played golf in Cumbria, you always take a chance with the weather!
Front 9 Overview
The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th all have a marker post in play off the tee. Buy a course guide or play with a member! After the 4th there are no marker posts until later in the back nine.
On paper it seems like the course is pretty “standard”, a good variety of holes but maybe one or two too many par fours which are mid length. Don’t be fooled. None of the holes are a giveaway, well designed with well-placed bunkers and small sloping greens; this course is a good test for any golfer.
Starting gently (although blind) a mid length par four played over a marker post presents a narrow fairway. Out of Bounds right and trees left make the golfer think. Second shot is key, if you’re in play off the tee then make sure you get the ball on the correct tier of this two-tier green. As I found out, being blocked out (after the tee shot) only allowed me to leave a long uphill putt.
The 3rd, 4th and 5th are all worthy of a mention. Especially the 3rd, 414 yards par four played over a marker post. The fairway has a huge mound in the middle with run offs forward, right and left. The toughest tee shot on the course? No. We haven’t got to 17 yet! Tree lined, with a bunker short right of the green making both tee shot and approach tough. The green also slopes from left to right. Par would be a great score here.
The 4th is visually tough, blind off the tee, over the post and the fairways sweeps down to a well-guarded green. Short enough to be on in two, this presents a great birdie chance.
All the par threes at Ulverston are different, the 5th being my favourite. Played over a valley, at around 150 yards. Short right lays a huge slope which drops 50ft and a near impossible up and down, if you get lucky, you’ll hit the bunker. Long and left is a bunker, with the green sloping severely from back to front, troubles everywhere! Hit the green and run to the 6th.
Back 9 Overview
The back nine starts with a par three, measuring 130 off the yellows played up hill to a well-guarded two-tier green. Walking to the 11th tee is one of the highlights of the course. An elevated tee for a short par five offering another marker post to guide the golfer’s line. Views of Ulverston beneath the fells and mountains at the same time, just one of the many places the view elevates this course.
Stroke Index 1 and the par four 15th is worthy of a mention, measuring 372 yards, but each shot demands concentration. Another marker post where depending on how you’re feeling the closer you’ll get to the trees on the right. Safety would be a slight fade over the marker post. The green is tricky with almost a false front. Try to be pin high if the pin is at the back of the green.
The course comes to an end, with my two favourite holes. “The Quarry” 17th is a superb golf hole. The golfer being faced with a blind tee shot up and over an old limestone quarry. With trouble left and right, anything wayward is punished. BUT when you walk up the hill to the fairway, the golfer is presented with a spectacular view to the left. Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland Fells, for me as a local lad (many moons ago) to see this on a golf course was quite something. It’s easy to lose yourself. The fairway is very tight, and the green one of the larger targets. Par here is a great score.
“Conishead” is a 425-yard par four where the round comes to a close, the tee at the highest point of the course. On the same level as the 17th fairway you get to enjoy the surrounding views for one last time before heading down towards the green. Blind tee shot to a dog-leg left to right. Anything right is OOB, and as I found out the bunkers are well placed! The green approach slopes hugely and my advice would be to club down 20 yards and let the ball run down.
Writing this review has brought back how much fun I had playing this course, it’s a good test, but does allow you to be aggressive if you so wish. Something I like in a course is options off the tee. Ulverston delivers on this. The condition of the course was good. Last summer (2018) the weather was not kind to any course, Ulverston has recovered well.
Personally, (apart from 18!) I played really well; this is very much my sort of course. Also, having Alyn and Chris with me was a huge help as their course knowledge allowed me to know the correct lines and approaches.
The clubhouse is very traditional with a good buzz (the staff were really friendly) and huge windows overlooking the 18th fairway where you can watch other victims complete their rounds! Ulverston is everything you’d expect from a good members club. The food looked good, and with visitors and social members welcome it’s a place you would bring the family.
Open to everyone, with a covered driving range and indoor swing centre, practice pitching and chipping area and a big putting green – this does tick all the boxes for members and visitors alike. The green fees are reasonable (£50 at weekends) but deals are available. Ulverston is really good value for money, it doesn’t rest on being the best course in the local area, striving to improve and maybe one of the best things to see is the thriving junior section.
I loved the variety of the holes, elevated tees and spectacular views alike. I’ll be taking my clubs when I visit home and will definitely play Ulverston every time.
Overall Rating – 9
Course (Conditions) - 8
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9
Course (Green Condition) - 8
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 8
Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 10
Practice Facilities - 9
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 10
Value for Money - 10
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