The development of golf courses in England got going in the late 19th Century.
There was a limited supply of traditional links land, and in any case the growing demand was for inland courses. Much of the available land was clay soil, with poor drainage.
As a result, the springy and sandy soil of heathland was favoured. As well as being fast-draining, such land features the scenic colours of heather, broom and gorse, often with Scotch fir and pine, making ideal golfing country.
But there was not a lot of heathland in convenient locations, and true heathland courses are few and far between. In the Home Counties the Surrey “sand belt” saw the development of a series of classic courses such as Sunningdale and Walton Heath.
Further north Woodhall Spa (“The Hotchkin”) is a rare outpost of heathland golf.
Further north still, on the outskirts of Leeds, is the heathland gem that is Alwoodley.
According to the UK Golf Guide, Alwoodley is “without a doubt one of the finest inland layouts in the whole of the UK.”