Top 30 Golf Courses in Yorkshire 2015
Yorkshire Best in County rankings updated
It goes without saying that Yorkshire and sporting excellence go hand in hand – indeed, it was recognised after the London Olympics in 2012 that the White Rose County would have finished twelfth in the medal table (with seven gold, two silver and three bronze medals) if it had been regarded as a separate nation during the Games.
Many of the organised sports in the region date back to the mid-19th century, for instance, Sheffield FC, the world’s oldest football club, was founded in 1857 and Yorkshire County Cricket Club started out in 1863. If anything, the county’s oldest golf course at Cleveland was something of a latecomer, arriving in 1887.
A lot has changed since then, of course, and there’s no shortage of places to play golf in the county these days, with almost two hundred golf clubs attached to the Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs and Yorkshire Ladies’ County Golf Association. We don’t feature all of these clubs, but we do maintain a Top 30 chart of the very best courses.
Following a consultation period with every club in the region, we’ve just finished updating our rankings for Yorkshire. Don’t expect any shocks at the top end of the table as positions 1 to 6 remain exactly the same as last time. A handful of new entries at the lower end of the chart are, however, worth a closer look.
Ganton is still our Yorkshire No.1 and there can be no doubt about the allure of this fabulous inland links/heathland layout, where James Braid, Alister MacKenzie and Tom Simpson have all had a hand in the design. Host to Walker Cup, Curtis Cup and Ryder Cup matches down the years, this formidable course is famed for its fearsome bunkers.
To a certain extent, Alwoodley and Moortown both live in Ganton’s shadow, reflected by their number 2 and number 3 positions in our revised Top 30 listings. Alwoodley was recently described by a reviewer as “a magnificently understated layout, immersed in a beautiful landscape“ whilst another person thought Moortown was “a fine course, in the top bracket of inland courses in England”.
Like Ganton and Moortown, Lindrick is another Yorkshire course that enjoys a proud Ryder Cup heritage, the event having been held there in 1957. The layout sits at number 4 in our county chart and lies just outside the Top 50 for England. Architect Ken Moodie joined forces with the club recently to carry out an ambitious course upgrade program that will see a total of seven holes modified.
At number 5, Fulford is probably best known as the first venue for the Benson & Hedges International Open, which the club hosted for eighteen years during the 1970s and 1980s. Located close to the city centre of York, the course is a beautiful heathland/parkland track that was originally laid out by Major Charles MacKenzie in the mid-1930s.
Hallamshire occupies the number 6 position in our Yorkshire chart. The club dates back to 1897 when it leased part of the Duke of Norfolk’s estate for golf. Today’s heathland layout is largely the product of a Harry Colt redesign in 1938, when its signature par three 6th hole was first introduced.
Two courses make upward moves at the top end of the rankings: Pannal, a fine moorland track located to the south of Harrogate, rises two spots to number 7 and Huddersfield, which had all eighteen greens re-laid to USGA specification a decade ago, advances one place to number 9.
In the middle of the chart, another three courses head in the right direction: Bingley St Ives (up two to 11) has fairways routed around a mixed landscape of heathland and parkland, York (up three to 13) celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and Rotherham (up two to 15), is a beautiful parkland track that’s set out within the impressive Thrybergh estate.
Hornsea makes the biggest jump up the Top 30, soaring six places to number 23. The club moved to its present location in 1908, ten years after its formation, when Sandy Herd designed a layout that was subsequently modified by Alister MacKenzie then James Braid. Following a course audit by Swan Golf Designs five years ago, significant course improvements are now being carried out.
At the lower end of the revised county listings, there are five new entries:
Headingley (22) was formed in 1892 but the club moved to its current site in 1906, calling in Alister MacKenzie soon after to remodel the new layout. Harry Colt later redesigned the bunkers.
Crosland Heath (25) is another MacKenzie design, with the architect setting out “The Heath” fairways on the site of an old quarry in the hills overlooking Huddersfield.
The Welham and Park nines at Malton & Norton (27) are recognised as the principal 18-hole layout at a modern facility which first opened its doors in the mid-1990s.
JH Taylor and Fred Hawtree laid out Selby (28) and its tree-lined fairways, which extend to 6,341 yards from the back tees, occupy a rather tight parcel of land.
Oakdale (30) is yet another 18-layout from Alister MacKenzie, dating back to 1914. Measuring 6,484 yards these days, it’s certainly been stretched a little over the last 100 years.
We’re grateful to everybody in the region who helped with our re-ranking process for Yorkshire. To view details of all the courses in our Yorkshire Top 30 rankings click the link. If you have extensive experience of playing across the northern region of England and would like to contribute to our next re-ranking exercise then please email Editor-in-Chief Keith Baxter at [email protected].
25 September 2015 Respond to this article