Junior golf programme scoops a national award

Set partly in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Skipton is one of the prettiest and trickiest courses around the district.

On a good day you might spot herons, curlews, kestrels or deer, as Eller Beck – which flows through the back nine – is a wildlife haven.

For golfers, the beck is a fiendish hazard which has to be negotiated time and again as you play round its own version of ‘Amen Corner’.

Skipton’s origins lie not in the nearby pretty market town but down the road in the village of Gargrave, where the course started alongside the river Aire in 1893.

It moved to its present site as the 20th century dawned and is now handily placed just off the Skipton bypass.

In its early days, famous course designer Alister McKenzie (among his creations was Augusta National, home of The Masters) was brought in to shape the course; some of his greens, with his trademark two tiers, still survive.

For many years Skipton was a nine, then a 12-hole course, but in 1980 it moved to a full 18 holes, and a clubhouse, pictured, was built with magnificent views of Embsay Crag and the Bolton Abbey and Embsay steam railway.

Skipton prides itself on its junior golf programme, and in 2009 was one of three finalists and the northern region winner of the English Golf Union’s Club of the Year award for promoting junior golf.

Skipton is not the longest course in the region, but it is one where you have to think your way round. It is an enjoyable test for golfers of all standards.

FACT FILE

Name: Skipton Golf Club

Address: Short Lee Lane, Skipton, BD23 3LF

Website: skiptongolfclub.co.uk

Telephone: (01756) 795657

President: Chris Smales

Club pro: Peter Robinson, pictured right

Annual fee: £381 first year, then £681

Visitor fee: £18 Mon-Fri, £20 weekend

Course length: 5,789 yards

Par: 70

Signature hole: 15th – long par three with trees and beck

Shop: Yes