The modern layout covers 9 holes of sloping parkland, with glorious views over the North York Moors from the long holes at the top of the hill. It is quite a tough walking course, with several holes along the valley sides, so a light carry-bag may be a good choice! Many of the holes play much longer than they appear on the card, particularly the 1st and the 10th which are uphill, and generally played into wind.
The course record of 67 is currently held by Tim Smith (Club Championship 2017). A typical Stableford card is shown below.
The Abbey woods are something of a wildlife refuge, and early starters are likely to see Roe Deer and Brown Hare anywhere on the course. Birders can listen out for Buzzards, Snipe and Cuckoo on summer afternoons, and you may well hear a roding Woodcock patrolling the 4th and 5th holes in the late evening. We have found Goshawk kills on the fairways, but the chance of seeing one is very low. Kestrel and Sparrowhawk are more frequent sightings, with the occasional Heron passing by.
Woodpeckers (Yaffle and Greater Spotted) have territories in the beechwood by the first and second holes, as have Nuthatch and Treecreeper (look out for these in the car park). Migrating geese (Greylag and Pink-footed) pass through in Spring and Autumn, and we may get an influx of Waxwings on the Rowans by the sixth green. Mixed flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing strip the Hawthorns and Holly thickets that cross the seventh and eighth fairways. There are many other birds including tree sparrows and blackcaps, and swallows hawking low over the fairways in summer.
The Bluebells by the second hole are a wonderful sight in late spring, and we have Selfheal in the fairways as well as Birds Foot Trefoil in the semi-rough.
Many and varied fungi in summer and autumn, including the uncommon Lycoperdon utriformis by the 4th fairway, spectacular Fly Agaric near the ninth tee and plenty of boletes (including the occasional Cep) in the beechwoods.
Club manager - Ian Henley, 01439 788274
© Ampleforth College Golf Club 2018