Golf Course Review of Pleasington Golf Club
Pleasington Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: One of the best inland courses in the North-West
Our 5 Star Rating: 3.9
Pleasington, a former Regional Open Qualifying venue, boasts a fine inland golf course - irrefutably one of the best tracks in the county away from the sea.
It is set in almost 150 acres of rolling East Lancashire countryside with easy access from all points of the compass. Originally designed by George Lowe and later extended by Sandy Herd this rural layout offers the golfer an engaging challenge with a wonderful variety of holes, including one highly unique one!
Unusually the course has a par of 38 on the front nine (3 par-fives against 1 par-three) and a par of just 33 on the inward half. I believe this irrelevant imbalance may be due to the switching of the current 5th and 11th holes when a new bridge was built to cross a railway line. The total yardage of the par 71 course is 6,940 off the blue tees and this is where I played the course from in the 2017 Pleasington Antlers 36 hole scratch tournament. The course was set up very well and the condition excellent.
As mentioned earlier a train track splits the course into two distinct parts. The 12 holes on one side of the railway (1-5 & 12-18) are played through established parkland where mature trees line most of the fairways. Meanwhile, the remainder on the other side (6-11) offer a stark contrast with a more open moorland and heathland feel; these holes contain swathes of heather, patches of gorse and the turf is much firmer. However, it all comes together nicely to create a very pleasing round of golf.
Of the park holes I enjoyed virtually all of them although trees do encroach far too much on several. Tee shots at the second, fifth and 18th in particular are compromised and it’s also possible to be on the third fairway yet completely blocked out by trees. The worst of the lot though is the par-three 16th where you can see less than 50% of the green due to trees which you simply have no choice but to play over! I’m probably being over critical of what is a very good golf course but it’s a pet hate of mine and the course could be so much better if opened up a little bit more.
The drive at the fifth is actually quite a scary one with the railway running all the way down the right-hand-side and the lay of the land falling that way too. The approach shot into 18 is also one fraught with danger; the clubhouse is just behind the green and the car-park is very much in play! Finding yourself above the hole on most of the greens can also be quite terrifying as there are some significant slopes. Course management and plotting your way round Pleasington is vital.
The most interesting golf can be found on the heathy side of the course. The driveable sixth and par-five ninth are two wonderful holes but it is the seventh which will grab all of the headlines.
It’s a par five of just 518 yards and has a rapid downhill elevation change of 100 feet at around 250 yards from the tee. On paper it sounds like an easy hole but it’s one of the most testing, unusual and thought provoking holes I’ve played. It’s possible with a good drive to find a narrow funnel of fairway that will feed your ball from the top plateau down to the offset lower section and leave not much more than a mid-iron into the green. However, in the most likely scenario that you should stay on the top level you then have a decision to make as to what angle you play down to the bottom fairway. It’s not infeasible to simply putt it down the chute at right angles nor is it impossible to have a crack at the green… or anything in between. The problem is exaggerated because you cannot see most of the lower fairway, let alone the green, because of trees that have grown up on the banking so you have to guess the line and distance. Again I’m not sure if it wouldn’t be a better hole if some of the trees were removed but at the same time it wouldn’t be anywhere near as nerve-jangling, so I’ll take it as it is. For the record I managed a 7 and a 6 in my two efforts at it!
Lancashire is not renowned for its inland golf courses, and rightly so, but Pleasington is an exception to this conception because it’s a very fine course and one I would strongly recommend a visit to.
Club Website: www.pleasington-golf.co.uk
Tournaments: Open golf competitions at Pleasington Golf Club.
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