‘Parkland’ course where good touch is essential

Nestling under Ilkley’s Cow and Calf rocks, pictured, Ben Rhydding has a fascinating history and is a fine example of a small club with a thriving membership and attractive course.

Ben Rhydding is a ‘parkland’ nine-hole course owned by its members and located just two miles outside Ilkley on the edge of the famous Ilkley Moor close to the Cow & Calf Rocks.

The club’s origins lie in England’s largest centre for hydrotherapy – the treatment of rheumatic disorders using natural spring fed baths at White Wells, high on the moor.

The centre built a golf course to add to its attractions between 1885 and 1890, but as hydrotherapy fell out of fashion, the building became a hotel.

Now it is long gone, but the golf course survived.

In 1947, Ben Rhydding Golf Club came into being and the members did all the work themselves. That ethos is still alive today as the members operate the bar on competition days and use their own expertise to run the club, pictured. Indeed, the club prides itself on its ethos of everyone ‘mucking in’.

Members bought the freehold of the land in 1975, allowing them to make a big leap forward and produce the attractive, tidy golf course it is today.

Ben Rhydding is not easy, with small tricky greens and a number of blind shots – notably the Khyber, where a drive over a large mound into a basin is the prelude to a difficult second shot to a blind green.

It is not a long course, but it requires a good touch and a bit of local knowledge helps – not least on the par three seventh, downhill, with trouble looming for the wayward shot.

FACT FILE

Name: Ben Rhydding Golf Club

Address: High Wood, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, LS298SB

Website: benrhyddinggolfclub.com

Telephone: (01943) 608759

President: Stuart Yeadon

Club pro: None

Annual fee: £370

Visitor fee: £18 Mon-Fri, £22 weekend

Course length: 4,621 yards

Par: 65

Signature hole: 7th – par 3 downhill all the way to a tricky green

Shop: No