Hole By Hole Tour
North Manchester Golf Club
Once you have made your way to the first you’ll begin to wonder how a course of such natural beauty could be so well hidden amongst the urban sprawl of the Greater Manchester area. There isn’t any evidence of the city’s juxtaposition to the club until you reach the fairway of the par 4 third. One of the finest views on the course, the city peers over the trees to the right of the green ahead and the contours of the hole make a photographers delight as the hillside steps its way down the hill to the green below.’ If that has whetted your appetite for more, click on the map or the individual hole images below for a more in-depth description and helpful tips from our Professional Jason Peel.
North Manchester – Hole 1
North Manchester boasts one of the hardest starts, certainly among the local courses if not nationally. The 1st appears relatively simple. An uphill par four of 320 yards sounds easy enough, but the carry over water from the elevated tee, combined with the steep bank on the right-hand side which throws everything towards the hazard and many trees on the left, combine to make it anything but. A confidently struck drive takes away most of the problem, but you are still left with a mid-iron second to a large but well protected green. Finding the flag often proves difficult since more often than not only the top half of it is visible from the fairway.
Ignore the water it shouldn’t come in to play. Keep the second shot short of the flag to leave an uphill put.
North Manchester – Hole 2
If the 1st proves difficult then, the 2nd will seem much harder. Although less than 450 yards long, the gentle but constant climb and the fairway always falling away from the green combine to make it a superb hole and certainly the most difficult on the course. The green is often out of range in two for the handicap golfer, since it is usually played into the prevailing wind, and a long iron or wood second must be struck accurately to find the putting surface which sits at an angle to the direct line of approach and perilously close to the out of bounds fence. Even when the green is reached, putting can be hazardous, since a steep slope from the back to the front makes the prospect of getting down in two anything but certain. The player who walks away from here with a four should be well satisfied.
Keep it up the left off the tee to increase your chances of scoring well on this hole.
North Manchester – Hole 3
The 3rd hole although fractionally longer than the 2nd often plays shorter, except when the wind is in the east. The hole is played from a tee that is not in line with the direction of play, but providing that doesn’t confuse the player, he can enjoy a real roller-coaster of a hole. A straight drive down the left side opens up the green and avoids the deep hollow on the right. A medium iron should find the green, but anything off line usually means the hoped-for par has escaped. A shallow incline from front to back of the green often carries the ball further than the player expects, and the resulting confusion makes the return putt more difficult than it should.
Driving line is just left of the Hall in the distance. Be careful as your approach shot tends to bound on.
North Manchester – Hole 4
The 4th is the first of two par five’s. Rarely is this green found in two shots, since the terrain prevents even the best of drives gaining sufficient distance from the tee. This is a generous hole, with few problems encountered from the tee, provided the ball is played to the right. Anything left is in danger of being consumed by deep rough or the dried up lake bed. The second shot is played over the crest of a hill, to a wide fairway, which, if found, leaves a straightforward pitch to the green. Three bunkers guard the front approach and its undulation can make for testing pin positions.
A three shot par 5. Keeping your second shot up the right hand side will help your approach
North Manchester – Hole 5
The 5th, stroke index 17, should be one of the easiest holes on the course, but beware. It temps big hitters into trying to reach it and this often leads them into unnecessary trouble. A sensible tee shot is often a long iron to the foot of the steep hill leading up to the green followed by a high pitch over the front bunker. This green is smaller than many, but one that can easily instill a three putt from nowhere.
One of the easier holes but be careful on the green.
North Manchester – Hole 6
This is a beautifully scenic hole, played from a high tee with commanding views stretching over Manchester to the hills of Derbyshire and Staffordshire in the south and across Oldham to the Pennines in the east. The hole itself is played into a natural valley which rises to an elevated green. The fairway is generous and although it funnels as it approaches the green, it still invites a big hit from the tee; but trees, especially on the left can cause problems, as can the edge of the ravine crossing from the 7th. The safe line is down the right side of the fairway, from where a more direct approach to the difficult pin placements on the left can be gained. A bunker on each side narrows the front entrance to the green.
A great driving hole, just ‘grip it and rip it’.
North Manchester – Hole 7
This is a magnificent hole, formerly played as a par five from a tee about 100 yards further back and across a deep ravine. It was altered after it was concluded that the long walk back from the 6th green did nothing to improve the speed of play and was really unnecessary since the difficulty of the hole still remained when played as a par four, even though much shorter at 380 yards. The second shot across the ravine can prove both daunting and demanding, often approaching two hundred yards and played to an elevated green across a “hog’s back” fairway. Anything straying off line and short of the green is usually thrown into the profusion of tree on either side of the fairway and a single bunker at the front of the green catches many loose shots.
A 200 yard tee shot puts you in a good position on this hole, but beware of the ravine.
North Manchester – Hole 8
Another fine par four, this hole sweeps gently from left to right and is dominated by a huge stand of Manchester poplars on the right side of the fairway. To the left a plantation, mainly of silver birch trees, divides this hole from the 12th. A long drive down the left leaves the best approach to the distant green, which is often only reached with a wood. The green is relatively flat and slightly elevated and often what seems to be a well executed shot will just fail to make the putting surface because of the steep incline at the entrance to it. Bunkers flank either side of the green and help make pitching to save par rather hazardous
Try an keep your drive down the left hand side of the fairway as this tends to be the fast lane.
North Manchester – Hole 9
The first of three superb par 3’s, this hole is played from an elevated tee, across a wilderness of trees and scrub to a tight green guarded to the left, right and short of the putting surface by bunkers. Anything poorly hit, or off line on this hole will usually cost your par. In the summer the long green can be particularly fiery and difficult to hold, especially if the hole is placed near the front.
A par 3 to challenge any level of golfer. This is a call-through hole.
North Manchester – Hole 10
The 10th hole is banana shaped and skirts Askers dam on the left. The ideal tee shot call’s for a long carry over the water, which is out of bounds, although most handicap golfers take the option of playing out to the right, this makes the hole longer but a deal safer. After finding the fairway, which is generous in width, it is still guarded all the way to the putting surface by a deep ravine on the left. Even if you are capable of reaching it in two, the steeply sloping green can still make par far from certain. This is a truly magnificent hole.
Beware of the lake on the left it is a longer carry than it looks.
North Manchester – Hole 11
Although the shortest hole on the course, it still causes far more problems than it should. The hole is often played straight into or across a right to left wind and this makes the small green a difficult target. Bunkers at each side narrow the entrance and anything off line is punished by deep rough and trees.
You get what you see with this hole. Beware if the flag is on the front of the green.
North Manchester – Hole 12
An attractive right to left dogleg with trees on either side. An accurately played shot up the left hand tree line will leave a fairly simple second to the green, but it is a brave player that takes on this line; the shot tends consequently to be played out to the right, leaving a much longer approach and the lurking presence of the bunker guarding the right hand front approach to the long undulating green.
Risk & reward. A long drive over the trees on the left only leaves a short pitch in.
North Manchester – Hole 13
One of the straightest holes on the course and certainly the one with the flattest green. Everything falls away to the right on this hole and a deep hollow and a bunker twenty yards short of the green provide the hazards to avoid. The green itself although appearing flat contains many subtle borrows and is ringed by high mounds forming an effective barrier to recovery from a wayward second shot.
Keeping your drive up the left hand side makes your second shot much easier.
North Manchester – Hole 14
This hole is played from the highest point on the course. The views from the tee encompass the distant hills of Staffordshire and Derbyshire as well as the Pennines and the tall buildings of Manchester. Strategically placed bunkers can easily catch a tee shot straying to the left side of the fairway; with a copse of trees down the right an accurate tee shot is required. The entrance to the green is closed off, surrounded by cavernous bunkers and escape from here can often be hazardous. The green although large, slopes noticeably from front to back presenting many opportunities to three putt.
Steer clear of the bunkers on yet another good driving hole.
North Manchester – Hole 15
On the face of it the easiest hole on the course. It should and does provide more birdies than most, but also has a nasty habit of throwing up bogeys that start the ruination of a good card, just when the player thinks he has it made. The green can be comfortably reached by big hitters, so long as they are straight. Three strategically placed bunkers easily catch anything off line and the trees that line the fairway and a depression to the left front of the green, await the careless. The green is long and narrow with a step close to the back of it, and anything left on the wrong level can easily turn into three putts.
Similar to the 5th hole with the green sloping severely back to front.
North Manchester – Hole 16
This hole has been much revised over the years. Originally played as a slight left to right dog-leg adjacent to the boundary fence, but a preponderance of broken windows and irate neighbours has forced a re-design of the hole. The hole has changed dramatically playing as a right to left dog-leg passing through a deep depression with the boundary fence protected by a large plantation on the left stretching all the way to the green. It now provides one of the few opportunities when a well positioned drive down the left edge of the fairway, will leave the player with two distinct advantages, one in length and the other with a view of the pin for his second shot. The green is large and fall slightly from front to back, a bunker on each side at the front and the out of boundary fence close behind means the length of the second shot must be judged with care.
A good drive down the left side of the fairway gives you a good view of the green for your second shot.
North Manchester – Hole 17
This hole is only just long enough to qualify as a par five, based purely on length, but with out of bounds and trees protecting the entire left side at different points and the undulating terrain, it is no push over. With the green protected by one bunker at the front right and two at the front left towards which the slope of the ground throws the approach shot that come up short the second shot must be positioned carefully to leave an easier chip to the sloping green.
Reachable in two for big hitters. Average players lay up well back with your second shot to leave a flat lie.
North Manchester – Hole 18
This has to be one of the great finishing holes in golf. The green sits imperiously above the lake on a “hog’s back” with the prevailing wind of the water. The player often has to play further right, across the water and the two guarding bunkers, than he would wish, but if he takes the safe route to the left and overdoes it, he is invariably down a steep slope in a forest of trees and decaying leaves, often never to be seen again. Stand on this tee with a good card in your pocket and strike the ball solidly to the centre of the green and your sense of achievement is complete; fiddle nervously and try to protect your score and you will almost certainly live to regret it. Most courses have a card wrecker somewhere along the way, but when it is the eighteenth and as picturesque as this one, there’s something special about it.
A great finishing hole but make sure you keep away from the bunkers on the right.