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Tommy Williamsen

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Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« on: May 11, 2008, 10:20:08 PM »
A couple of years ago Mark Rowlinson and I played this lovely course.  Thanks to Mark for being the photographer.  Cavendish, was designed by Alister Mackenzie, and opened in 1925.    The course has not been altered but remains pretty much as it was designed.    At 5721 yards off the medal tees, the course is certainly long. Mackenzie had a long held belief that length has little to do with the quality of a hole.  Yet this “little” course has no less than six par fours over 400 yards.  It also has five of the most exciting par threes you could find.

The first two holes parallel each other and just get you started.  Number three is a little stunner of 285 yards straight downhill.  The hole might be driven but be careful of the second shot it could go twenty yards long.



Four is 121 yards of terror to a very small green with monsters lurking short
 and left.



Five is a brute of 422 yard par four uphill



Nine is brilliant.  It tumbles 139 yards to a very undulating/sloping green



Ten is a 422 yard dogleg left.  It is an all world hole.  There is a creek down the left and the second shot is to an elevated green.



Eleven is beaut of a 403 par four trundling down to a tricky green





Thirteen is an excellent par three.  It is an awkward tee shot that is easy to miss left.  If you do there is a tough uphill blind shot to the green.



Fourteen is a 500 yard par five that doglegs left around a field full of sheep.  It does not look it from this picture but the green may be one of the most diabolical you will ever play.  The false front is tremendous.  But there is only a short iron into the green.  But be precise.



Fifteen is another stunner.  It is straight downhill  to a large very sloping green that moves left to right.  I don't know how to get close to the right pin.


 
Sixteen is a good 403 yard downhill par four with a green that is very hard to hold.  The best shot is to bounce it on.



Eighteen woudl be a great hole on any course.  It is dogleg right of 441 yards.  The fairway is full of bumps and funny bounces with an elevated green.





The layout.



The greens fee is 30 pounds and worth every penny.  It is a tough par 68.  Tom Doak gave it a 5.  Probably right.  But if you were to rate the fun factor it is a 7.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 10:30:08 PM by Tommy Williamsen »
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Michael Dugger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2008, 10:31:43 PM »
Looks to be a qurirky little "sporting" course....
thx for the photo tour....
What does it matter if the poor player can putt all the way from tee to green, provided that he has to zigzag so frequently that he takes six or seven putts to reach it?     --Alistair Mackenzie--

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2008, 02:35:08 AM »
Cavendish is a great course that will often get overlooked, but if anyone finds themselves in the Peak District National Park then its well worth a game!

From what I've read and heard it is pretty much as Alister MacKenzie designed it, but I believe that the 9th green was completly redone recently and also I'm sure the routing has changed? I seem to recall (maybe it was an old plan in the clubhouse) that it was originally designed as 2 loops of nine (as AM usually tried to) that both returned to the clubhouse, as follows:

1 to 5, 15, 16, 17, 7
8 to 14, 6, 18



2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay, Ganton, Burnham & Berrow, Royal Dornoch, Woodhall Spa, Hallamshire

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Tom_Doak

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Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2008, 06:56:49 AM »
Tommy:

That is a wonderful course.  It was gray and rainy when I walked it years ago, so my photos aren't nearly as good as yours.

I had never heard of it until we were playing golf with the professional at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, who grew up near there.  I told him I was from Crystal Downs and he immediately said if I liked MacKenzie courses I needed to see Cavendish ... so we drove well out of our way to do so.  The assistant pro assured us the course had several "MacKenzie greens" -- I said he'd designed all 18 of them hadn't he? -- but he meant multi-tiered greens which are still called "MacKenzie greens" in that part of England.

I agree with your assessment of the best holes -- the first three which stick out in my brain are 3, 10 (which I have included in MacKenzie composite courses ever since) and 11.  The 15th hole which you pictured seemed to me to be modeled on the Eden at St. Andrews.

I'm sure not many Americans would ever consider playing the course because it's only 5200 yards.  It is the best course of that length I've ever seen, and loads of fun.

Andrew Mitchell

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2008, 08:19:07 AM »
Tommy - great pictures.  Looks a very challenging course despite its modest length.  I'm down in the Midlands next week and am currently thinking of detouring via Cavendish on the way back.

I like the statement on the club website:
"At 5721 yds off the medal tees, the course remains shorter than many, yet still fulfils Mackenzie's belief that length has nothing to do with the quality of a hole (unlike the current committee at the Augusta National!)."

Tom - you are correct that multi tiered greens in the North of England are referred to as MacKenzie greens, even if the good Doctor had nothing to do with the particular green in question!
2014 to date: not actually played anywhere yet!
Still to come: Hollins Hall; Ripon City; Shipley; Perranporth; St Enodoc

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2008, 09:11:25 AM »
Tom,

As I'm lucky enough to own a copy of your Confidential guide I was going to mention that you rated it as a good course and were a particular fan of the 10th (which is also one of my favourite par 4s).

I seem to recall I once read that you thought it was one of the best preserved MacKenzie courses or am I imagining that?
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay, Ganton, Burnham & Berrow, Royal Dornoch, Woodhall Spa, Hallamshire

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2008, 10:53:36 AM »
It is a late MacKenzie course, done shortly before his trip to Australia, one of his last (if not THE last) in England. A few years ago I played it with a friend who is a good golfer (low single figures at Royal Mid-Surrey) and he found the Cavendish greens impossible to read - not necessarily on the putt but usually on the approach shot. In such hilly country it is difficult to detect the slopes on the greens. The following day we went to Alwoodley where he found the approach shots much easier (apart from the tee shot at the 11th, which is a real homester's special).

Cavendish is a 30-40 minute drive from another Mackenzie fun course Reddish Vale (in Stockport). They make a fascinating pair to play in a day.

The principal caveat to enjoyment of either is the weather. The other potential hazard is the condition of the course.

I think it is fairly standard throughout the UK to refer to a 2-level green with a ridge joining them as a MacKenzie green. Most who use the term probably would not be able to name a course he designed. Interestingly there is no green of this sort at Alwoodley where he cut his teeth.

Andrew Mitchell

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2008, 11:30:04 AM »
I think it is fairly standard throughout the UK to refer to a 2-level green with a ridge joining them as a MacKenzie green. Most who use the term probably would not be able to name a course he designed. Interestingly there is no green of this sort at Alwoodley where he cut his teeth.

The closest I can think of at Alwoodley is the 3rd but there the ridge runs from front to back rather than across the green.  I think there is one on the 8th at Moortown (uphill par 3) but I'm not sure if that is an original Mackenzie green given the changes there.

Does anyone know where MacKenzie first came up with the concept of a multi tiered green with a ridge running across it?
2014 to date: not actually played anywhere yet!
Still to come: Hollins Hall; Ripon City; Shipley; Perranporth; St Enodoc

Michael Wharton-Palmer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2008, 11:44:44 AM »
Anyone going there, check out Buxton Pies while you are in the araea...the best pies in the world...I miss my Buxton Pies..one of the down falls of moving here...

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2008, 11:58:08 AM »
Buxton as a whole is worth checking out. It has a lovely little opera house and many nice buildings. I suppose one of the reasons for its survival has been that it missed out on all that expansion into conferences and the like that spoiled Harrogate and other big spas. So it retains its charm and not a little dignity.

Paul_Turner

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Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2008, 01:02:07 PM »




can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2008, 03:24:30 PM »
Paul, great pictures.  I can make out some of the holes, like 2.  What are some of the others?
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2008, 03:12:32 AM »
Paul,

Great pictures and thanks for posting them. Where did you get them?

Its been a few years since I played but they look like:
6 or 17?
Not sure but could be 6, 7 or 8 maybe?
11
4
17 from behind

2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay, Ganton, Burnham & Berrow, Royal Dornoch, Woodhall Spa, Hallamshire

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Paul_Turner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2008, 11:25:49 AM »
James and Tommy

I got these from an old club handbook.  I've only walked some of the course in bad weather and so don't know it very well at all.  I also don't have the captions for the pics to hand!   But I reckon the #3 pic is definitely the 11th and the #4 pic is the 4th.

Tom D is dead right about the term "Mackenzie" greens and tiers/undulations.  My old man is from this part of England and he always used the term.
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Mark Bourgeois

Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2008, 12:22:25 PM »
Thanks for the pics, Paul. To pile on, Mackenzie wrote of riding on a train next to several strangers who were criticizing the "Mackenzie greens" on a course as too severe.

In a Marshall McLuhan moment (that was the guy, right?), he told them who he was - and that he did not design those greens!

Mark

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2008, 12:58:06 PM »
I used to play at a South Manchester club, Bramall Park which had once had a MacKenzie course. They called in Braid to make it playable and maintainable! Unfortunately they have no records of what it was like back then.

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2008, 07:12:28 AM »
All,

My friend Nick Norton is a member at Cavendish... He asked me to post this which I'm sure is of interest to many of you:

"I am a member at Cavendish and have been for 25 years. It is a masterpiece of design, and I agree, is probably the best example of a pure Mackenzie course in existence (though I have yet to play his courses in America).

Just to give a little background as to why. It is called Cavendish, the family name of the Dukes of Devonshire, in a sense a family more aristocratic than even the Windsors. Indeed the first ever list of millionaires in the UK only had 8 names on it with Cavendish being one of them. The family home is Chatsworth House in Derbyshire the finest stately home in Britain. The gardens and park were laid out by Capability Brown. So, when in the 1920’s when MacKenzie was given artistic license over a fine piece of property just outside Buxton, he had perhaps the best client he could have hoped for at that time. He would have also known that he would have to come up with the goods, as it were.

Though it is uncertain how many visits that he would have payed to the site. I believe it would have been much more than most of his courses. He had the incentives and time to really communicate his design ideas to the constructors and shapers of the day. Unlike Australia, where he conveyed his ideas and left the courses in the hands of others, at Cavendish he would have made himself available to regularly oversee the developments. MacKenzie was never going to miss the chance to ingratiate himself to England’s highest aristocracy, a family of taste which has employed some fine artists over the centuries.

The routing of the course remains as it was, although the sequence in which the holes are played has changed from the original two loops of 9. The current loop of holes from 9 to 13 is Cavendish’s equivalent amen corner. In particular with the water/stream coming into play on 9,10 and 11.

The proof of the pudding is in the playability of the course. One never gets bored of playing shots at Cavendish. Almost every hole can be approached in bump and run fashion, from the right angle. Every shot to every green is interesting if not thrilling. The risk and reward concept even extends to putting when the greens are fast!!

At Cavendish the major mark of MacKenzie that impacts even the most ignorant golfers are the greens. The greens are boldly contoured in beautifully flowing manner.
The pictures here are great, however, the course must be played in summer to fully appreciate it, especially the greens. Buxton is one of the wettest places in England. The greens are currently playing very well thanks to recent work.
 
Where the course currently suffers is with its bunkers. The old pictures displayed here show that they were a good example of MacKenzies work; sand flashed and aesthetically very pleasing. Time, various greenkeepers and greens committees has resulted in bunkers that are currently an ugly mish mash of an insult to MacKenzie. Also, there has been some excessive tree planting over the years.

Essentially Cavendish is in need of some sensitive, well executed restoration work. Should this be done successfully, I believe Cavendish would be the best course in the world under 6000 yards!!!!! Actually, I will always think it is! Please visit, and find out if I am biased!"

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2008, 09:13:53 AM »
Ally, Nice post!

jeffwarne

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Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2010, 08:08:17 AM »
Tommy:

That is a wonderful course.  It was gray and rainy when I walked it years ago, so my photos aren't nearly as good as yours.

I had never heard of it until we were playing golf with the professional at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, who grew up near there.  I told him I was from Crystal Downs and he immediately said if I liked MacKenzie courses I needed to see Cavendish ... so we drove well out of our way to do so.  The assistant pro assured us the course had several "MacKenzie greens" -- I said he'd designed all 18 of them hadn't he? -- but he meant multi-tiered greens which are still called "MacKenzie greens" in that part of England.

I agree with your assessment of the best holes -- the first three which stick out in my brain are 3, 10 (which I have included in MacKenzie composite courses ever since) and 11.  The 15th hole which you pictured seemed to me to be modeled on the Eden at St. Andrews.

I'm sure not many Americans would ever consider playing the course because it's only 5200 yards.  It is the best course of that length I've ever seen, and loads of fun.

bump
Sean( and Tommy W.)-great pictures

Tom Doak,
If it's truly "the best course of its' length" you've seen, and you only give it a Doak 5, wouldn't it be fair to say you are also have a bias towards length?
I'm thinking of several stateside coures you clearly weren't enamored with designed by prominent modern architects that you rated as Doak 6s.
 I'd bet  the majority of golfers in the US play most of their rounds at 6000 yards or so (women, kids, seniors,white tees on older courses etc.)
Many Americans don't seek out and play such gems as Cavendish because they've never heard of it and have limited visits, the same as Europeans don't often seek out such courses as Southampton (in the US) or Westhampton when Shinnecock,Sebonack, NGLA,and Maidstone beckon.
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Cavendish (outside Manchester England in the hills)
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2010, 08:23:04 AM »
Tommy:

That is a wonderful course.  It was gray and rainy when I walked it years ago, so my photos aren't nearly as good as yours.

I had never heard of it until we were playing golf with the professional at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, who grew up near there.  I told him I was from Crystal Downs and he immediately said if I liked MacKenzie courses I needed to see Cavendish ... so we drove well out of our way to do so.  The assistant pro assured us the course had several "MacKenzie greens" -- I said he'd designed all 18 of them hadn't he? -- but he meant multi-tiered greens which are still called "MacKenzie greens" in that part of England.

I agree with your assessment of the best holes -- the first three which stick out in my brain are 3, 10 (which I have included in MacKenzie composite courses ever since) and 11.  The 15th hole which you pictured seemed to me to be modeled on the Eden at St. Andrews.

I'm sure not many Americans would ever consider playing the course because it's only 5200 yards.  It is the best course of that length I've ever seen, and loads of fun.

bump
Sean( and Tommy W.)-great pictures

Tom Doak,
If it's truly "the best course of its' length" you've seen, and you only give it a Doak 5, wouldn't it be fair to say you are also have a bias towards length?
I'm thinking of several stateside coures you clearly weren't enamored with designed by prominent modern architects that you rated as Doak 6s.
 I'd bet  the majority of golfers in the US play most of their rounds at 6000 yards or so (women, kids, seniors,white tees on older courses etc.)
Many Americans don't seek out and play such gems as Cavendish because they've never heard of it and have limited visits, the same as Europeans don't often seek out such courses as Southampton (in the US) or Westhampton when Shinnecock,Sebonack, NGLA,and Maidstone beckon.

Jeff

You have to remember that the Doak Scale is geared toward recommendations.  While I think Doak is slightly mean by giving Cavendish a 5, it is tough to recommend this course with so many wonderful courses not all that far away.  I have no problem with recommending Cavendish to the wing nuts on this board because the freak ratio is higher than for normal golfers and I include value as an important factor which Doak does not include.  That said, I am not sure I would reco Cavendish to the greater world of golfers traveling overseas (unless they have been to GB&I several times), but for UK residents (which is essentially how I treat all on this board when I factor in that folks know my tastes and they are more or less wing nuts), yes, no question I think Cavendish is worth an overnight detour to see.   For instance, yes, YOU should see Cavendish because you would get a lot out of the course and appreciate the excellent value for a lovely design which doesn't rely on distance to entertain.  In other words, you get it (me?) which is why I always want to read your take on courses.  Unfortunately you seem to be rather reticent in this regard - tee hee. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate, Hinckley, Robin Hood, Sandiway & Ladybank

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