La Moye Golf Club is set spectacularly on a promontory, some 250 feet above sea level. The views are quite breathtaking, overlooking the wide sweep of St Ouen's Bay and on to the lonely Corbierre lighthouse. On a clear day, the tiny isles of Sark, Helm and Jethou can be seen clearly against the distant Bailiwick of Guernsey. We're on the enchanting and unique Channel Island of Jersey.
George Boomer, the headmaster at La Moye school, laid out the original links course in 1902 because Royal Jersey, home club of Harry and Tom Vardon, was becoming overcrowded. Clearly inspired, Boomer's sons, Aubrey and Percy, both went on to become professionals and Aubrey won the French Open on a number of occasions in the 1920s. The course we play today is mainly the work of James Braid, who overcame his fear of sea travel to redesign and lengthen La Moye. Henry Cotton made further minor changes in the 1970s.
La Moye, home to the Jersey Open for many years, has seen some big names emerge as winners, including Ian Woosnam, Tony Jacklin and Christy O'Connor. The championship course measures 6,797 yards and it's close to 6,000 yards from the ladies' tees, so La Moye is certainly a challenge. On this elevated position, the going is especially tough when the wind is up, but it is exciting seaside golf with all the natural facets of a great links... quick draining turf, firm and fast greens, humps, hollows, dunes and the occasional exciting blind shot. Outcrops of rocks are scattered across some of the fairways - most notably the 6th - forming La Moye's additional and quite unique hazard.
The pick of the holes is on the back nine in the dunes. The 11th is a testing par five, where the fairway doglegs between the dunes towards a narrow and wickedly sloping green. Then the short 12th appears, with no bail-out option apart from the green itself. A solid drive to a plateau fairway is required on the 13th to avoid leaving a blind second shot into the green. And so, the challenge continues until the last putt is holed in full view of the magnificent clubhouse.
Combine the wonderful scenery with the exacting test of golf and the most delightful climate and you have a cocktail of sheer delight. La Moye Golf Club is a wonderfully exciting experience, not to be missed.
The par four 4th hole is the hardest on the course and one of six par fours that exceed 400 yards. Out of bounds is along the right for your tee shot and on the left right up to the green for your second shot. The par four 9th demands a very precise second shot to a raised green. The shot is made more difficult by the fact that the fairway twists to the left for the last sixty yards.
The narrow par five 11th bends uphill, between sand dunes and trees, to a green with a very narrow entrance. Not surprisingly, it is rated the second hardest. Thirteen is a lovely hole through dunes and stunted pines. Unless your drive is over the hill then you will have a difficult blind second shot to the green.
The 15th leads back out to the cliff tops with simply wonderful panoramic views. This is not the time to be nervous on the tee as your drive needs to carry across a valley of gorse and sandy scrub before the fairway commences. The final hole doglegs left but a straight drive is your best option. The second shot is uphill to a green that slopes from back to front and right to left.
This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every English course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via www.golfbooks.com.au and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.