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The Best Alister MacKenzie Golf Courses to Play Near You

By: Golfshake Editor | Fri 09 Apr 2021

A Yorkshireman of proud Scottish descent, Alister MacKenzie served as a physician during the Boer War and First World War, before embarking on a journey through golf, creating a legacy within the game that has remained timeless and profound. 

Closely involved with several clubs throughout Yorkshire, MacKenzie famously charted The Old Course at St Andrews in great detail, an experience that strongly influenced his approach to the designing of golf courses, of which he became an early pioneer alongside colleagues and partners Harry Colt and Charles Alison.

MacKenzie's vision and imagination gave the sport revered creations like Cypress Point and the West Course at Royal Melbourne, but it's his connection to Augusta National, which he designed in collaboration with legendary amateur Bobby Jones, that stands prominent in the minds of the general public. Sadly passing away two months before the inaugural Augusta National Invitation Tournament (which became the Masters), it was MacKenzie's final course.

Further cementing his legend, discovered after his death was MacKenzie's writings and philosophy on golf course architecture, eventually published as The Spirit of St Andrews.

While it's not likely that you'll play Augusta, Cypress or Royal Melbourne, luckily there are many examples of MacKenzie's work throughout the UK and Ireland, which you can discover.

Bringing together member clubs of the Alister MacKenzie Society, we add further Golfshake detail to these courses that were designed, enhanced or influenced by the revered architect.

This year, why not find an Alister MacKenzie golf course to play near you!

Alwoodley Golf Club

Alwoodley Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.52

Review Comment: "One of the North of England's very best courses. Moorland with sweeping holes, wonderful greens and an atmosphere of understated quality."

Bingley St Ives Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.51

Review Comment: "Played Bingley St Ives a few times now and never fails to impress. Friendly welcome all round, great food, especially the full breakfast. Course in usual great condition, greens always true. Good mixture of holes from parkland to moorland, a few to trip up a decent round. One of my favourites for sure."

Blairgowrie Golf Club


Location: Perthshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.27

Review Comment: "A brilliant, challenging course in a lovely area, would definitely play again."

Bolton Old Links Golf Club

Location: Lancashire

Golfshake Rating: 4.63

Review Comment: "Course is in excellent condition - the greens are immaculate and may catch you out if you're not concentrating!"

Bonnyton Golf Club

Location: East Renfrewshire

Golfshake Rating: 3.80

Review Comment: "Course is in good condition. Tricky elevated greens throughout add interest. Worth a visit."

Bramall Park Golf Club

Location: Cheshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.27

Review Comment: "One of the best courses I have played in a long time. Highly Recommended."

Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society


Location: Edinburgh

Golfshake Rating: 4.36

Review Comment: "Course in excellent condition for time of year and would love to see it in the summer. Nice friendly atmosphere in excellent clubhouse too."

Burnham & Berrow Golf Club

 Burnham & Berrow

Location: Somerset

Golfshake Rating: 4.40

Review Comment: "Although I’ve played many courses, I’m not used to links golf but have enjoyed this new experience on a tour of the West Country."

Bury Golf Club


Location: Lancashire

Golfshake Rating: 4.03

Review Comment: "Good course. Great layout, hilly, get a buggy if you are not the strongest of walkers. Greens were good, tough test for any ability of golfer. Will definitely return."

Castletown Golf Club

Location: Isle of Man

Golfshake Rating: 4.16

Review Comment: "Excellent course with some really challenging holes! The clubhouse served fantastic sandwiches with very friendly service. A must visit."

Cavendish Golf Club


Location: Derbyshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.80

Review Comment: "This is a very friendly welcoming club designed by Dr MacKenzie in 1925 and it has stood the test of time. A member of our party actually said it was the best course he had ever played. Greens immaculate and true. Well done to everyone at the club, it is a true first class course."

Cleckheaton & District Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.53

Review Comment: "Fantastic little course. Good chances to take on the greens on the par 4s and some very picturesque holes with elevated tees. Greens phenomenal for the time of year."

Crosland Heath Golf Club

Crosland Heath

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.60

Review Comment: "Played several times, but this was the first visit when all the heather was in bloom. Purple flowers everywhere, stunning. Great course with a real variety of holes, great views too and tricky when the wind blows!"

Crowborough Beacon Golf Club

Location: East Sussex

Golfshake Rating: 4.70

Review Comment: "A very good course in excellent condition, worth a visit. Right on the top of the downs, the views are wonderful. Everyone very friendly."

Darlington Golf Club


Location: County Durham

Golfshake Rating: 3.80

Review Comment: "Darlington is a superb little course and the MacKenzie greens really add to the challenge. The members here are extremely friendly and accommodating of visitors, which added to the enjoyment of my visit. The clubhouse offers great food and drink, with staff always on hand to help you out."

Dewsbury Golf Club


Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.29

Review Comment: "The greens are amazing! The views are stunning. The course is challenging. Every hole is real fun and different and there are some fabulous feature holes that will amaze you!"

Doncaster Golf Club

Location: South Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.29

Review Comment: "Nice track, tight off the tees, easy walking, better for having played before which I hadn't. Greens were quick."

Douglas Golf Course

Location: Isle of Man

Golfshake Rating: 4.60

Review Comment: "A beautiful 18 hole course, with plenty of challenging and variation between holes. A first class quality kept course and facilities."

Duff House Royal Golf Club

Duff House

Location: Aberdeenshire

Golfshake Rating: 3.95

Review Comment: "Wonderful course. Tight fairways, but forgiving rough - allows you to find your ball but penal enough to make the next shot tough. Two wonderful two tiered greens make for precise approach play."

Erskine Golf Club


Location: Renfrewshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.51

Review Comment: "Amazing course. Fantastic condition again. Gets better every time I play here."

Garforth Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 3.95

Review Comment: "This course is definitely worth a visit. Beautiful club house, supplemented by a challenging yet fair course in superb condition."

Grange-over-Sands Golf Club

Location: Cumbria

Golfshake Rating: 4.17

Review Comment: "This course is my favourite course by a mile, so picturesque with tight-ish fairways that are a good test. Every time I've played here I've been welcomed by the members and the pro is very helpful. The course is always in great condition."

Hadley Wood Golf Club

Hadley Wood

Location: Hertfordshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.62

Review Comment: "An absolutely outstanding venue with a cracking 18 hole course and excellent facilities. The greens were in awesome condition and there are many interesting features such as false fronts, changes in elevation and pretty views."

Halifax Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.50

Review Comment: "The course is a challenge for golfers of all abilities as the course has been expertly sculptured from the natural landscape. If you love golf that is closer to the game's origins combined with excellent greens and a welcoming clubhouse, then Halifax GC must go on your bucket list."

Harrogate Golf Club


Location: North Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 3.88

Review Comment: "A beautifully kept course with lovely greens. Played on a Sunday afternoon with barely a soul on the course!"

Hazel Grove Golf Club

Location: Cheshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.38

Review Comment: "Great course to play on. There are a few tricky holes, especially the par 3s, but overall was a brilliant day out and would definitely go again."

Headingley Golf Club


Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.10

Review Comment: "Staff very friendly and helpful. Course in excellent condition, greens were good. Fair challenge for all level of golfers."

Hornsea Golf Club


Location: East Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.55

Review Comment: "Just a super course. Mix of long and short par 4s. Interesting par 3s and couple of par 5s that really make you think, Course in good condition despite a massive downpour the day before. I'll be back!"

Horsforth Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.08

Review Comment: "All in all a good test and an enjoyable afternoon finished with drink in the very nicely appointed bar over looking a sizable patio, the putting green, whilst watching others completing the 18th, and I would definitely recommend it if you're in the Leeds area."

Ilkley Golf Club

Ilkley Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.07

Review Comment: "One of the best courses in West Yorkshire. The course is in excellent condition, with the greens and fairways outstanding and true. Always love playing this course with friends."

Lahinch Golf Club


Location: Ireland

Golfshake Rating: 5.00

Review Comment: "Incredible golf course. Brutal but brilliant. Wish I'd booked a caddie though because there are an awful lot of blind shots. Doubt there is a better links course in the world (I've played a fair few)."

Leeds Golf Club

Leeds Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.07

Review Comment: "Great course, always interesting. In fantastic nick for this time of year - greens were very true."

Lilley Brook Golf Club

Lilley Brook

Location: Gloucestershire

Golfshake Rating: 4.55

Review Comment: "Lilley Brook is a really beautiful golf course just outside Cheltenham. Fairly easy walking to start then very hilly on the back 9 with some spectacular views."

Lindrick Golf Club


Location: Nottinghamshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.81

Review Comment: "Lindrick is a lovely course and not too challenging on the day we played it. It is very well laid out and the fairways were not too narrow. The greens were excellent and consistent as were the bunkers."

Littlestone Golf Club

Littlestone Golf Club

Location: Kent

Golfshake Rating: 4.46

Review Comment: "Think links golf - think Kent! This absolute gem is up there with the best of them - it's beautifully maintained and well laid out. It's challenging, yet playable - though, like a true links, each hole plays differently with a change in the wind. Put it on your 'must play' list!"

Low Laithes Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.24

Review Comment: "Course is in excellent condition and is a true test of golf. Even the short par 4s have tricky greens."

Moortown Golf Club


Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.61

Review Comment: "Well worth a visit. The club is steeped in history. Great course and challenging back 9. The facilities are excellent and the staff welcoming. Highly Recommended."

Morecambe Golf Club

Location: Lancashire

Golfshake Rating: 4.21

Review Comment: "Made very welcome at this lovely course with beautiful views over Morecambe Bay to the Lake District."

Muskerry Golf Club

Location: Ireland

Golfshake Rating: 3.80

Review Comment: "Sitting in the midst of all that is best in the Irish countryside, this course rewards the aesthetically appreciative as well as those who can rise to the golf challenge."

Nelson Golf Club

Location: Lancashire

Golfshake Rating: 4.40

Review Comment: "Good course, providing a real challenge with the variety of holes. Am likely to play again."

Oakdale Golf Club

Location: North Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.40

Review Comment: "What a lovely course. A real variety of holes, although all tree lined. In superb condition. The greens were fast and true."

Pannal Golf Club


Location: North Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 3.89

Review Comment: "The course was in fantastic condition! I would put this as one of the best courses I have ever played."

Pitreavie Golf Club


Location: Fife

Golfshake Rating: 4.14

Review Comment: "The greens, especially, present the golfer with a very thorough test of their skills. The round was very enjoyable, we received a very warm welcome in the clubhouse and pro shop, I think it very likely that we will be back for another round soon."

Pollok Golf Club

Pollok Golf Club

Location: Glasgow

Golfshake Rating: 3.62

Review Comment: "This course was in good condition, greens were not all that fast, fairways were tight and in good shape, fun round, fairly straight course with a lot of trees."

Reddish Vale Golf Club

Location: Cheshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.49

Review Comment: "After playing here it makes a lot of other courses seem like fields with flags in. It’s amazing to find such a fantastic course in an urban area. The first five holes are great and then you move to the sixth and the plot of land just opens out in front of you. It’s incredible how the course threads through and integrates with the landscape. The good doctor was truly a genius of course design."

Sand Moor Golf Club

Sand Moor

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.72

Review Comment: "Always thought Sand Moor gets overlooked due to the more 'known' courses locally (Moortown/Alwoodley) but it's a very good course and often half the price. Great varied mix of holes."

Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club

Location: North Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.48

Review Comment: "Always enjoy playing on a cliff top with a view of the sea. Wind can be a bit of an issue but it's a course that keeps you thinking."

Seaton Carew Golf Club

Location: County Durham

Golfshake Rating: 4.22

Review Comment: "I can never believe just how firm this course is in the winter, when many others are unplayable, but that's links golf for you. Worth a visit at any time, one of the North East's best courses."

Shipley Golf Club

Shipley Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.43

Review Comment: "Fantastic opportunity to play this historical course and lived up to expectations. Wonderfully kept fairways and greens and full of surprises. Very friendly. Would definitely recommend."

Sitwell Park Golf Club

Location: South Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 3.90

Review Comment: "Holes that make you think, where to place the ball, several short holes worth going for the green but need to be precise. Keep your ball straight you can have excellent round. Worth a visit."

Skipton Golf Club

Location: North Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.41

Review Comment: "What a fantastic golf club! Layout really challenging but fair and lovely to the eye. The scenery around the course was breathtaking. The course certainly gives you chances as well as challenges."

South Moor Golf Club

Location: County Durham

Golfshake Rating: 4.24

Review Comment: "An undulating well maintained course. Keep out of the heather and leave your approach shots below the hole and you will be rewarded."

South Shields Golf Club

Location: Tyne and Wear

Golfshake Rating: 4.10

Review Comment: "An outstanding course. The tee boxes are the best I've played and the greens fantastic. A couple of the 4s on the back nine are in reach for some."

Stanmore Golf Club

Stanmore Golf Club

Location: Greater London

Golfshake Rating: 4.40

Review Comment: "First time at Stanmore Golf club and not disappointed, course is in great condition with well looked after greens and fairways. Would definitely play the course again."

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club

Sutton Coldfield

Location: West Midlands

Golfshake Rating: 3.88

Review Comment: "This course will let you know how good a golfer you are. Highly recommended."

Teignmouth Golf Club

Location: Devon

Golfshake Rating: 4.51

Review Comment: "Very open course with wide fairways and enough bunkers but no water hazards. Friendly service from the club shop and bar staff and a fantastic "after round" view from the outdoor terrace."

Temple Newsam Golf Club

Location: West Yorkshire

Golfshake Rating: 3.23

Review Comment: "It’s a long course even with modern clubs. It's a municipal course and well worth the money. Thumbs up to the staff."

Walsall Golf Club

Walsall Golf Club

Location: West Midlands

Golfshake Rating: 4.26

Review Comment: "Played here for the first time and I was impressed by the condition of the course. Fairways were short and in great condition, greens fast and bunkers generally in good shape."

West Herts Golf Club

Location: Hertfordshire

Golfshake Rating: 4.27

Review Comment: "Really enjoy the course, particularly in the summer. The course condition is very good and friendly staff. I will definitely play again."

Weston-super-Mare Golf Club

Weston-super-Mare Golf Club

Location: Somerset

Golfshake Rating: 3.73

Review Comment: "Lovely links course in excellent condition, would recommend to golfers who enjoy links courses."

Willingdon Golf Club

Location: East Sussex

Golfshake Rating: 4.19

Review Comment: "The greens were like glass a real challenge putting. Probably in the best condition I have seen. Friendly clubhouse staff with excellent food."

Worcester Golf Club

Location: Worcestershire

Golfshake Rating: 4.20

Review Comment: "Fantastic course, lovely clubhouse, great facilities and very friendly."

The Worcestershire Golf Club

Location: Worcestershire

Golfshake Rating: 4.58

Review Comment: "Played here again as a guest, a very great course, the greens are quick, members very pleasant."

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