You’ll never have much of a problem putting together an itinerary for a Yorkshire golf tour. In fact, the hard bit is trying to fit everything in – you could enjoy an annual visit to Yorkshire for several years before playing the same course twice, such is the quality of golf courses on offer.
So, what are the best golf courses in Yorkshire? We’ve made our selections of the top 10.
Whatever your personal favourites, there’s no doubting Yorkshire’s pedigree as a top-class golf destination.
This historic venue, which dates back to 1891, is Yorkshire’s undisputed number one in the eyes of many.
The heathland makes for a wonderful test and provides some memorable holes, whilst its links characteristics – a very long time ago it was right by the North Sea – only enhance its allure.
Ganton has hosted the Ryder Cup (1949) and Walker Cup (2003), and this summer it’s gearing up to hold two more prestigious championships – the Senior Amateur Championship in July and the Brabazon Trophy in August.
With over 100 bunkers, and no shortage of deep rough, gorse and trees, this beautiful course poses a tough test for any golfer, and you’ll need to bring your ‘A’ game to score well here.
Ganton is worthy of hosting the Open Championship, should the powers that be ever break with tradition and decide to hold golf’s oldest Major somewhere inland.
In summary, if Ganton’s not on your bucket list, it should be.
Dr Alister MacKenzie’s layout is one of the finest inland championship courses in England, never mind Yorkshire – and Alwoodley is another venue blessed with a rich history.
The renowned architect was a founding member and the first secretary of the club in 1907, and he fashioned quite some test of golf.
For all its qualities – the springy turf, far-reaching vistas, and beautiful bunkering –Alwoodley’s strength in depth and a particularly testing finishing stretch of par-4s sets it apart. They don’t come much tougher the 17th, a terrific driving hole with out-of-bounds down the left and a green that’s tucked down and away out of view.
Alwoodley has drawn comparisons to Woodhall Spa’s Hotchkin course, and it wouldn’t feel out of place alongside Surrey and Berkshire’s finest.
No golf trip to Yorkshire is complete without visiting this heathland gem – just be sure to stay clear of the heather and gorse.
If you’re going to play Alwoodley, you have to play Moortown – they’re neighbours.
Many a keen golfer will have played these two tremendous courses on the same day – 36-holers don’t get a lot better. You’ll then have the debate as to which is the stronger, and not everyone will agree.
Whatever your opinion, Moortown is another UK top 100 course which oozes class and boasts a fascinating history. To start with, this urban heathland held the first Ryder Cup match on British soil (which the hosts won 7-5), and over the years, it’s hosted many great championships, including the Brabazon Trophy and English Amateur Championship.
Like its famous neighbour, Moortown benefitted from MacKenzie’s incredible vision and expertise, with the large undulating greens and deep bunkers evidence of his input. The par-3 10th is the signature hole and is fittingly called ‘Gibraltar’ as the green was built into a rocky slope. This is one of Moortown’s many charming holes.
You’ll find plenty of heather, birch trees, and burns to contend with throughout the 175 acres of woodland and moorland, and a good golf brain is required to score well. However you play, you can’t fail to enjoy the post-round drink in its wonderful clubhouse.
Lindrick is another Yorkshire golf course teeming with history. It was here, in 1957, that Great Britain beat America to win the Ryder Cup.
The course, which can always be found in terrific condition, is a mixture of heathland and moorland, with birch trees and gorse lining the stunning fairways. Meanwhile, the greens are subtly borrowed and usually often on the quick side. They’re also well protected by bunkers, so make sure you’re comfortable playing out of the sand before heading out.
Whilst not long enough to host today’s professional men’s tournaments – it measures just over 6,600 yards – for most, it will test every facet of the game.
5. Fulford, York
One look at the misty image on the club’s homepage, with the sun below the trees, tells you everything you need to know about Fulford – it’s stunning.
The course switches beautifully from green parkland to the gorse, heather, and wildlife of a heathland links.
Like a number of the county’s other top courses, Fulford has tested the game’s best players. It was, for many years, a regular stop on the European Tour schedule, and it continues to host prestigious events, with the 2021 R&A Girls Amateur Championship coming here in August.
Visiting golfers have much to enjoy nearby, too, with the course just outside the historic city of York. As such, it’s the perfect base from which to venture out and play some of Yorkshire’s other great courses.
Situated between Sheffield and the Peak District National Park, this out-and-back Harry Colt design will provide a strong examination of your game.
It’s characterised by large pockets of heather, gorse and bilberries, whilst the relatively small greens present a wonderful challenge of their own.
The par-3s are excellent, especially the 195-yard 6th, called ‘Saucer’. When you’re standing on the tee with a deep valley of heather below you, you’ll realise it’s not one for the faint-hearted. But it’s one of many holes that’ll have you reaching for your camera.
There’s also the short par-3 17th, which plays across a former quarry and impressed the late, great Peter Alliss so much that he once said it ‘could be included on any course in the world.’
Here’s another top-class venue for heathland/moorland fans that’s close to the spa town of Harrogate.
This course was created in 1906 and has hosted many top events over the years, including recent Open Championship Regional Qualifiers and the English Amateur Championship.
Pannal lies in the midst of picturesque countryside, and offers wonderful views; on a clear day, you can see as far as York Minster. What will keep you coming back, aside from friendly hospitality, is the wonderful variety, with Pannal’s blend of woodland and moorland characteristics enhancing its great charm.
8. Sand Moor
With Alwoodley and Moortown nearby, you have quite a trio of fine courses in close proximity when you add Sand Moor to the mix.
Its four challenging par 3s have a great reputation – each was originally designed by Alister MacKenzie and will test you in different ways.
Three of them come on the back nine, and whilst Sand Moor isn’t the lengthiest of courses, it’s certainly no pushover, either. Holes like the 556-yard 16th offer plenty of opportunities for you to open your shoulders – just don’t expect to use brute force to overpower this corker.
The clubhouse, meanwhile, was refurbished in 2010 and has a very contemporary design. Overlooking the 18th green, it’s the perfect spot to sample some fine ales. There’s also the snooker room if you’re still in competition mode when you get off the course.
‘River’, ‘Bridge’, ‘Island’, and ‘Kingfisher’ are the names of some of the holes you’ll face at Ilkley, which should give you an idea about the type of test it presents.
The River Wharfe is very much a feature here, but it’s not the course’s sole defence, and the trees are more of a threat on the back nine.
Whilst the likes of Ganton, Alwoodley, and Moortown receive the most plaudits, Ilkley offers a treat of its own with several standout holes. Just ask Colin Montgomerie, the course’s Honorary Life Member who learnt his trade here and once said it will ‘always have a special place in my heart.’
Be sure to stop at Ilkley if your golf travels take you to the Leeds/Bradford area – you won’t be disappointed.
Founded in 1891, Huddersfield Golf Club is one of the oldest clubs in the north of England.
Although it’s perhaps less well known outside the area, anyone in this neck of the woods will tell you just how good a course it is.
It has benefitted over many years from the likes of Herbert Fowler and Alister MacKenzie and features a number of memorable holes. Looking down from the 10th green to the charming Fixby Hall (which is what many locals refer to the course as), you’re reminded what a beautiful setting you’re in.