Golf Yorkshire: Oulton Hall

There's such a good choice of golf in Yorkshire that it's well worth a prolonged stay. Here we review the Dave Thomas-designed Oulton Hall Golf Club in Leeds

Oulton Hall Golf Club

Originally owned by the Blayds family in the mid 18th Century, Oulton Hall is a stately home with extensive grounds and a rich and interesting history.

The first house was significantly damaged by fire in 1850 and Sydney Smyke was employed to design a new Hall. Later, the building was used as a hospital during the First World War and then as a mental institution by the county council until 1971. De Vere Hotels (opens in new tab) acquired the lease in 1991 and has spent some £20 million transforming the Hall into one of the most luxurious hotels in the north of England.

Designed by Dave Thomas, the 27-hole golf complex at Oulton Hall (opens in new tab) plays across the landscaped parkland that surrounds the hotel.

The Calverley course, with views over the surrounding hills and dales, is in a peaceful setting as the fairways wend through the trees across rolling terrain.

With the five-star hotel offering opulent accommodation, fine dining and a highly rated spa, Oulton Hall (opens in new tab) is a superb destination for a luxury golfing break.

Toughest hole: 16th (Calverley). A tree-lined hole of 397 yards with a narrow landing area, you must decide whether to be aggressive from the tee. Hit driver and you'll be left with a short iron in. But, the trees will affect anything off-line.

Best par 3: 11th (Calverley). At 192 yards and played into the prevailing wind, you'll be going at this green with a long iron or hybrid club. The ball will kick towards the centre of the putting surface if it lands on the bank left or long.

Course strategy: Fairways and greens" is an old saying but it rings true when you play at Oulton Hall. Don't be enticed to ‘let rip' with the driver on every hole, if you keep the ball on the fairway there's always a good chance of making par or better. The success of your round will depend on the par 3s. Make par on them and you'll be fine. James Whittaker - Professional

Essentials: Address: Rothwell Lane, Oulton, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS26 8HN T: 0113 201 4477 W: (opens in new tab) Stats: Calverley - par 71, sss 71, 6,482 yards; Hall - par 36, sss 36, 3,300 yards GF: From £60 Best day to play: Any day, there are no restrictions Weekends: Anytime, but play after 4pm from £20 Course legend: Bruce Grobbelaar plays his golf here Top tipple: Pint of Black Sheep (brewed locally in Masham) Chef's recommendation: The Claret Burger

Review: I played Oulton Hall on a rain-dogged Saturday morning in August. On such grey mornings, playing golf can be a rather trying experience, but thanks to the course I had an enjoyable game. Indeed, it's the nature of the challenge that lies at the heart of Oulton Hall's charm. Relatively forgiving off the tee it gives you the chance to enjoy the sweeping views across the Yorkshire countryside without feeling your score is under constant threat.

From start to finish it presents a subtle challenge requiring a sound strategy and strict control. If you're looking for somewhere to practise, receive lessons or get custom-fitted, the Nike golf academy is a great facility with absolutely everything you'll need to fine-tune your game.

Where next?

- UK & Ireland golf travel - Rest of the world golf travel - Golf prizes to be won


Neil Tappin
Digital Editor

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."

Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X