Wheatley Golf Club was established in 1914, with its course officially opened on 1st March that year. In the early 1930s, Doncaster Corporation made it known that it intended to purchase the club’s property at Wheatley Park, forcing a move to Sandall Grange Farm. The course was to be set out on 130 acres, using a planned construction budget of £3,500 with a similar sum set aside for building a clubhouse.
The new course was laid out by George Duncan in two 9-hole loops (as had been the case before) to a total length of 6,684 yards, which made it one of the longest layouts in Yorkshire at the time. Greens were constructed with turf brought from the old course and bunkers were built to allow easy exit. After many months of hard work, the course and tennis courts were opened for use on 29th March 1934.
Following the Second World War, trees were planted, bunkers improved, and agronomy refined. A greens irrigation system was installed in 1967 to keep the putting surfaces in the best possible shape and decisions relating to course playability were taken to minimise forced carries and generally reduce areas of rough to a minimum. A full fairway watering system was finally introduced in 1996.
In the new millennium, course improvements have continued at a steady pace, evidenced by the installation of new bunkers on the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th holes, with others on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 13th moved or replaced. It helps too that the pine and silver birch-lined fairways are set out on one of Doncaster’s largest, sandy-soiled hill locations, which offers great natural drainage and an ideal playing environment.
Wheatley Golf Club, on the outskirts of Doncaster, is one of Yorkshire’s better courses but often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
This fast-running parkland course, laid out over sandy terrain, has a number of very good holes, many excellent green complexes and some splendid strategic bunkering.
The current layout, which moved to its present site in 1934, was designed by George Duncan and he has done a wonderful job in routing the holes through majestic birch, oak and pine in two loops of nine that create a hive of activity around the clubhouse.
Par is 71 and the yardage is 6,398 but in the summer months it plays shorter than this because the fairways have good quality turf that provides fast and firm running golf.
Only half of the holes are two-shotter s at Wheatley; there are four par-fives, all within range for longer hitters, and five very fine par-threes. From the third to the eighth there isn’t a par-four to be found, the sequence is; 3, 5, 5, 3, 5, 3.
The property is only mildly undulating but where there are changes in elevation to be found it has been used to good effect to create some strong holes. There is a great mix of holes too; the short 6th is delightful whilst the 475-yard 10th is a mighty hole but it is soon followed by the driveable 15th which has a fantastic large sloping green.
Indeed, the green settings are excellent throughout and particularly well defended by deep sand-traps for a course of this style. All the short holes are well sited and are a real strength of the course whilst I particularly enjoyed the 12th and 13th holes where you firstly play to a raised putting surface with a false-front (similar to one at the fifth) and then drive over the brow of a hill and fire to a more secluded green at the next.
Holes 16 and 17 are slightly marred by the proximity of the practice ground otherwise you play in seclusion for the most of the round through mature woodland.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.