In December 1913, the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post reported that Alister MacKenzie had inspected the site for the proposed Harrogate Municipal 18-hole golf course, which was being considered by the Harrogate Corporation on the site of the Corporation Farm.
The decision of the sub-committee of the Harrogate Town Council appointed to consider the scheme would depend upon the public response to their appeal to support such a venture with a twenty-five shillings per annum subscription. The enterprise didn’t proceed as a municipal course, becoming the private Oakdale Golf Club instead.
MacKenzie again inspected the site for the new course and a photograph of him on location was published in the Harrogate Advertiser in June 1914. Almost a year later, on 22 May 1915, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported: “the second nine holes on the new Harrogate course, Oakdale, are ready for use, and were to be brought into play today.
The course has been planned by Dr. MacKenzie on the two loop principle, and play can be commenced at the tenth as readily as at the first tee when considered necessary.”
Set within a generous 120-acre property, the course comprises aspects of parkland and moorland, with the Oak Beck wandering alongside the 10th fairway then in front of the 9th and 10th greens, both of which bring the two nines to a conclusion in front of the clubhouse.
Located less than half a mile outside of Harrogate Town centre it's hard to believe you are so close to an urban life when on the course. This is a class establishment, clubhouse first class as was the communication and courtesy extended by the club, Catherine was amazing.
Straight away as you step onto the first tee complex you get a sense of an impressive course. Hole after hole tree lined with amazing mature pines, well manicured and maintained. The green complexes offer hidden severe slopes, certainly any local knowledge is an advantage. The course has a lot of lovely holes, but for me the 17th is my personal favourite a par 5, proper double dogleg provides a true 3 shot hole despite measuring only 510 yards, an architectural masterpiece. The closing 18th down a tree lined tunnel with a water Brook running directly in front of the green (same as no 9) has surely spoiled many a score.
A thoroughly enjoyable experience one I would recommend to anyone finding themselves in the North Yorkshire area, you won't regret it.
This is a nice parkland course in Harrogate. Designed by Alistair McKenzie, the course is laid out in 2 loops of nine with the Oak Beck running along the 10th fairway and coming into play before the 9th and 18th greens.
The 1st tee sets you up for a good round, short but teeing off across the beck and with the 18th fairway to the right and the par 3 9th to the left. Accuracy is therefore important, as it is throughout the round.
I think the mix of par 3’s (5 of them) and par 5’s (4 of them) work well with the par 4’s which some are short (333 yards 1st hole) to long - 460 yard hole 14, of which I was happy to walk off with a 5.
It’s an enjoyable round, greens and tees close together and a lovely par 3 9th over the beck and then the short 18th where position and knowing your favourite yardage is key.
It’s ranking in the extended Top 40 is warranted and good to see another Golden Age course make the rankings.
Oakdale is an established parkland golf course close to the City Centre of Harrogate. Despite its proximity to the hustle and bustle of city life, is set in well over 100 acres of peaceful North Yorkshire countryside.
Predominantly parkland in style, with a splash of moorland, there are many diverse holes. Several are typical of this type of course but Oakdale mixes it up well and there are many highlights throughout the round. A number of holes are played to canting fairways and when the ground is firm you need to shape your drives to obtain maximum length or to gain the best position. Trees are a prominent feature at Oakdale, too much so at times, and line virtually every hole.
The benched greens at three of the par-3s are a particular strong feature of the course. The second, sixth and 17th all feature complexes worked nicely into the hillside with bunkers high-right and low-left to defend them. They may be similar in appearance and head in the same direction but they work well and are spaced out far enough throughout the round.
The two main stars of the show, however, are the holes that close both returning loops of nine; each one is played over Oak Beck. The ninth is a dropping one-shotter to a severely tilted green and uses the angle of the water hazard well to create more interest depending upon the pin position. It’s an intimidating tee-shot and you’re never quite sure if you ball will end up dry until it has landed.
The same brook cuts straight across the front of the green at the 18th and although the hole is only 338-yards and plays downhill it is no less of a bum-squeaker. The problems start on the tee because out-of-bounds is hard to the left, over an old stonewall, and trees creep in from the right. You don’t want to leave yourself too long of a shot into the green, nor from off the fairway, but at the same time you don’t want to get too close either; an 80-100 yard pitch should be just about perfect.
Oakdale isn’t going to pull up any trees in the various golf course rankings (it might if it did) but the 18 holes all come together nicely to make for an enjoyable round of golf at this well respected private members’ club.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.