Ilkley - Yorkshire - England

Ilkley Golf Club,
Nesfield Road,
LS29 0BE,

  • +44 (0) 1943 600214

Many great golf courses feature water in some shape or form – the Barry and Swilken Burns at Carnoustie and St Andrews, for example – but no course is more influenced by a river than Ilkley Golf Club. River, Bridge, Island and Kingfisher are some of the names of the opening holes. The scene is set from the off – the River Wharfe is dominant for the first seven holes.

Founded in 1890, Ilkley is the third oldest golf club in Yorkshire. In those days Ilkley was a nine-hole course, located on Rombald's Moor. Harry Vardon won his first prize as a professional on this course and his brother Tom was an early professional at the club. As golf grew in popularity, the club needed 18 holes and in 1898 work started on a new course alongside the River Wharfe. Today's course is mainly a tribute to the combined architectural skills of Alister MacKenzie and Harry Colt. Ilkley comes with a very high pedigree.

“On Ilkley Moor baht 'at” is Yorkshire's unofficial anthem, which is sung to an old Methodist tune. The song tells the story of a lover courting Mary Jane on Ilkley Moor. Mary Jane wasn't wearing her hat, and as all good Yorkshire folk know, you'll catch your death of cold on Ilkley Moor without one. The reason we mention this song is that Ilkley is one of the most beautiful places in the country and if it was pretty enough setting for courting Mary Jane, it's also a perfect setting for golf.

Measuring 6,276 yards from the medal tees, Ilkley is no championship challenge, but with a lowly par of 69, it's tougher than it first appears. Colin Montgomerie learnt his trade here and holds the current course record of 64. "Although I have played golf on the finest courses in the world, Ilkley Golf Club will always have a special place in my heart," he said.

The course is blessed with many fine holes and the most memorable are the openers adjacent to the river. The 4th, called "Long", is the first of the two par fives and requires a drive over the river's tributary. From the 8th onwards, trees become the principal hazards, but the sheer scenic beauty remains until the very last putt drops.

Ilkley is a delight and a must-play course. Mark James (alongside Colin Montgomerie) is also an honorary life member here and we'll let him close: "Nestling in the shelter of the Wharfe Valley, Ilkley is one of the most enjoyable courses in the North of England." How could any serious golfer overlook Ilkley?

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Reviews for Ilkley

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Description: The river setting at Ilkley Golf Club is inspiring, it's a delightful place to play golf and it's a testing course too. Rating: 7.8 out of 10 Reviews: 11
I can’t fault his course except that it can sometimes be wet in this neck of the woods. But this is one of the warmest golf clubs around and the course itself is maintained to perfection. Certainly Ilkley has customer service at the top of their list and I will certainly return here again soon. The course is as pretty as a picture and the river makes things thought provoking. I love the island hole and I’d like my ball back please when I return! A top course without doubt.
May 23, 2005
8 / 10
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Andrew Caukwell
January 02, 2010
I have played this course at all times of the year and what is mentioned on their website it clear enough for me. The course is built on sand and as it is next to the river you have the pleasure of playing on a very beutiful and picturesque course, dry and lacking in rough, competition greens all year round. No wonder Monty is a good driver of the ball playing his formative years at the Club. What more can you ask for when playing there and sitting on the verandah in the summer with good food, good beer and plenty of chat about the days play. I understand Ilkley have reciprical games with other well established clubs well up the pecking order in the list of English top courses, it's not a suprise as this is a real gem nestled in the Wharfe Valley.