Shipley Golf Club’s original course was situated in Moorhead but the club moved to a 124-acre site at Beckford in 1921 when Alister MacKenzie designed a new 18-hole layout for the members.
Around the world, especially in the USA, Alastair MacKenzie courses are held in the highest regard and incredibly sought after. In Yorkshire, home of the good doctor for a long period early on in his life, there are lots of MacKenzie courses to choose from. One example of this is Shipley, near Bradford
I’m sure it now plays different to how originally intended, with lots of trees meaning tight fairways, but there are interesting features throughout. The 2nd is a sharp dogleg to the right, which sets the tone for the course. The 4th and 5th are played alongside each other and have rumpled fairways that you might expect to see on a links course.
The 7th was a favourite hole, a downhill par 3 with a stream on the left on the green. This is followed by another par 3, an example of MacKenzie not worrying about back to back par 3s on the routing. The routing is unique, as the front 9 also has 4 par 5s. The 9th is one of these, and has an interesting bowl green.
The greens are well bunkered throughout, they don’t look threatening but after you keep finding yourselves in them you gain more of an appreciation for their placement. The 13th is a short par 3, which makes the most of the acreage as it plays straight across the 12th fairway, something you wouldn’t expect to be built nowadays. The 16th is a short par 4 where missing the green can lead to a big score, and the par 3 17th has some slopey run off areas round the greens. The greens are good in general, but perhaps not as undulating as other MacKenzie designs round Yorkshire.
This course is set amidst a wonderful wooded valley on the outskirts of Bingley, the course is the creation of the renowned Dr Alister Mackenzie. It stretches across the rolling valley floor of Beckfoot.
Unusually for a course of this standard there are six Par 3 holes one of which, the 7th, is the Course's signature hole. A testing downhill, mid to long iron shot with the babbling Harden Beck both to the left and rear of the small green ready to swallow up the errant shot. Seven tough Par 4's and 5 medium Par 5's make up the rest of the challenge with mature trees lining the fairways, and several ditches and ponds.
The course opens with the first of five par 5s, four of which are on the front nine, and then a cracking par 4 to a beautifully-sited green in the picture above. You then encounter the first of six very varied, testing and enjoyable short holes
The 6th is a strong par 4 before you reach two fabulous par 3s, unusually back to back. The first of these, the 7th, is played down to a green flanked by Harden Beck, a tributary for the River Aire which runs all the way down the left and then round behind the green.
I know that a hole that crosses back over another one is not ideal, but the short 13th is a fine par 3 to a well-protected green
The last short hole is one of the prettiest, no great distance to an attractive, shady setting in the trees.
I played this in a Texas Scramble and had the most fantastic day. Highly recommend