Located within the wonderful wooded St Ives Estate, a 550-acre Country Park on the edge of Bingley, the course at Bingley St Ives dates back to 1931, when an initial 9-hole layout was fashioned.
The fairways of the modern day 18-hole layout are routed across a number of different landforms, taking golfers on a journey from parkland to woodland to moorland and back again.
Many regard the short par four 15th as one of the best holes on the card but don’t overlook the closing hole, a testing par three where many a golfer has come to grief within sight of the clubhouse.The course hosted the first three editions of the Lawrence Batley International – a European Tour event that was held in the early 1980s – and Sandy Lyle claimed the first two titles before Nick Faldo won the 1983 competition.
I’ve played at Bingley St. Ives several times over the past couple of decades but it had been a few years since my last visit. Little has changed in the intervening time, however, I must admit I’d forgotten just how good a golf course this is.
The exact origin of who created the 18 holes that are in play nowadays is not certain. The Club claim Alister MacKenzie, who passed away in early 1934, was heavily involved in the early development meanwhile other research states that it was most likely his brother, Charles, who did both the design and construction or it was at least some form of collaboration between the two.
Regardless, the greens and their complexes are wonderfully crafted and the bunkering is exceptionally strategic; there’s nearly always a preferred side to be playing from on your approach.
The routing at Bingley is quite unusual too in that it is formed by a single loop leaving the clubhouse and moving through parkland, woodland and moorland before retracing those steps and returning to where you started.
Sprawling across the St. Ives Estate the park holes, on the lower part of the property, benefit from firm turf and elegant green complexes whilst the woodland holes crank up the quality as they roam through mature trees, bracken and gorse. However, it is the more open and exposed moorland-cum-heathland holes that define Bingley and set it apart from the glut of most other Yorkshire golf courses.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.