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.
Card of the course
The course record of 68 is jointly held by Paul Butcher (Grimston Cup 2010) and Tim Smith (October Medal 2011). A typical Stableford card is shown below.
The Committee of Ampleforth College Golf Club has declared a Local Rule allowing players during a stipulated round to use devices that measure or gauge distances only. However, the use of a distance-measuring device that is designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect a player's play (e.g. gradient, wind speed, temperature, etc.) is not permitted regardless of whether such an additional function is used.
Other things to look out for
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 quite often find Goshawk kills on the fairways, but the chance of seeing one of our resident pair 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 this year we had 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.
We also had a fine crop of 'The Prince" (Agaricus augustus) on the bank in front of the 3rd tee in early September 2011. There were a few Parasol Mushrooms in the same area, but dont worry – both are edible and very tasty!