It’s not going to be hosting a Major anytime soon, but the scenic little 9-holer at Ben Rhydding is bursting with charisma - Rob Smith falls under its spell
Ben Rhydding Course Review
I stumbled upon Ben Rhydding Golf Club purely by chance when staying in Ilkley last Summer and mentioned it briefly in my guide to golf in the area. The decidedly eccentric course may not suit old school purists, but I loved it! A tenner in the honesty box, one long hole, blind drives, four short par 4s and four par 3s, round in 90 minutes and a smile on the face all the way - perfect.
The course starts with the only hole of any real length - a par 4/5 which leads you up and out onto the hills.
A short hole and an uphill par 4 lead you to the highest point on the course from where there a fabulous views all around and back down over to Ilkley.
The next is a short par 4 with a ‘what’s-going-on-here’ drive over a marker pole…
… to a green nestling in a delightfully natural setting.
A gentle descent - driveable even by me (though obviously I didn’t!) - leads you back down to a green situated in a shady dell beside a lovely pond.
The sixth is the final par 4, uphill to a well-protected green.
A trio of varied short holes concludes the round - seven and eight play down the hill, and the 9th is the toughest. Ironically it is named Well, because that is not how I played it!
As a huge fan of golf courses where the setting and the views both on and off the course are a key ingredient, I was totally charmed by Ben Rhydding. In a book of Hidden Gems, this would feature prominently.
For those who are simply after fun from a game, who have limited time for golf or for whom scenery is number one, this is just the place.
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Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,200 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during that year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! During the 2021-22 review period, Rob played 36 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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