Peter Alliss, Clive Clark
The forested grounds of the grand Woburn Abbey estate, the abode of the House of Bedford and onetime wildlife preserve, have yielded some of the most promising opportunities for new courses in the area in recent years. The land came available as the result of the desire to make financial adjustments to the estate without yielding it up to public access. Woburn's courses were constructed in the Seventies as a result of cooperation between the Bedford family and a tobacco manufacturer. The layout was entrusted to the Pennink, Cotton and Lawrie firm, with Charles Lawrie himself designing the Duke and Duchess courses, the former being the tournament course. And indeed the Duke hosted the British Masters in the Eighties and Nineties. Woburn remains one of England's best clubs, in part owing to the wide selection of holes on the Duke, such as the short but intense 134-yard, par 3 3rd.
After the great support Woburn received from its members and corporate clients in the Seventies and Eighties, a third course was commissioned in the following decade. Peter Alliss provided the overall vision and Clive Clark took care of the niceties in creating the Marquess, and Woburn's long-time club pro and later managing director Alex Hay deserves recognition also for using his business acumen to help the club develop. Since it was better funded, the Marquess is somewhat more luxurious than its sister-courses. Taking its name from one of the titles of the British peer who was a major promoter of the club, the course works its way through a stunning site with plentiful trees and changes in elevation. Fairly lengthy at 6596 meters from the back tees, the nicely balanced layout has attracted the British Masters three times, but there are a variety of tee positions to accommodate players of all types.