Cavendish Golf Club Course Review

Cavendish Golf Club in Buxton, Derbyshire is home to an Alister MacKenzie moorland course that has stood the test of time

Cavendish Golf Club - 14th hole
The 14th is the only par 5 at Cavendish
(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Cavendish Golf Club Course Review 

GF Round: £30-£45wd, £30-£55we (off-peak offers available)
Par 68, 5,721 yards
Slope 124
GM Verdict – A fine Mackenzie-designed moorland course, which proves that even shorter courses can still test every facet of your game.
Favourite Hole – The downhill par-3 4th may only be a wedge or 9-iron for many, but its ring of defences can certainly exert a little added pressure.

Cavendish Golf Club - 7th hole

The par-4 7th is believed to have provided some of the inspiration for the 18th at Augusta National

(Image credit: Cavendish Golf Club)

Cavendish, one of the best golf courses in Derbyshire, is the moorland handiwork of Dr Alister MacKenzie, with shades of his later Augusta National design evident in places. In 1923, the Duke of Devonshire commissioned MacKenzie to design an 18-hole course in Buxton, and today’s layout retains virtually all of the features present in MacKenzie’s original design. Not long by modern standards, Cavendish exemplifies MacKenzie’s belief that “length has nothing to do with the quality of a hole”. Packed with charisma, natural beauty and sheer golfing delight, the overall length may fall some way short of 6,000 yards, but that in no way detracts from either the enjoyment or, indeed, the challenge of the course.

Cavendish Golf Club - 4th hole

The 4th is a short par 3 surrounded by a stream, a pond and a steep right-hand bank

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Yes, there are chances to score early on, with the opening three all appearing to be tempting short par 4s on the card. But don’t get too carried away with ambition, for the greens early on can be particularly tricky, especially if you stray above the hole on the 2nd and 3rd. Three of the five par 3s may only require a short iron, too, but potential trouble still lurks, for example on the pretty downhill 4th, where the green is surrounded by a stream at the front, a pond on the left and a steep, unforgiving bank on the right.

Cavendish Golf Club - 14th hole

Looking back down the 14th hole, the course's only par 5

(Image credit: Jeremy Ellwood)

And don’t be fooled into thinking length is never an issue, either. Considerably tougher par 4s await, especially 10 and 11 as you start the back nine, so any gains you can make on the shorter holes will certainly come in handy. The 422-yard 10th serves up a demanding drive where you must avoid a deep hollow on the left, before an equally demanding approach, which must clear the stream and steep bank short of the green. On the only-slightly shorter 11th, you’ll probably face a blind or semi-blind long approach down to a green set on a lower level beyond another stream.

Cavendish Golf Club - 18th hole

The 18th is one of several tough long par 4s on the back nine

(Image credit: Cavendish Golf Club)

The closing hole is also a classic, a dogleg right to a green beside the eye-catching clubhouse that plays every inch of its 441 yards. There’s a dip in the fairway here known as ‘5-iron valley’ where many drives end up and, you’ve guessed it, typically leave a 5-iron in. It’s hard to believe you’re just a couple of minutes outside Buxton - you could as easily be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by stunning scenery where the light changes with every passing cloud and where little has changed since MacKenzie weaved his magic.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response