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The West Riding of Yorkshire is blessed with an abundance of extremely enjoyable golf, and Rob Smith believes Shipley Golf Club deserves to be far better known…
Shipley Golf Club Course Review
I know, I keep banging on about how lucky we are to have a seemingly limitless supply of hidden gems, but there is a reason for this… it’s true! And whereas Surrey has more than its fair share of Top 100 courses, Yorkshire has an equal embarrassment of less well-known but hugely entertaining and engaging golf (opens in new tab). Dating back to 1896 and with a course designed by Alister MacKenzie (opens in new tab) almost a century ago, Shipley Golf Club (opens in new tab) is a prime example.
The course opens with the first of five par 5s, four of which are on the front nine, and then a cracking par 4 to a beautifully-sited green in the picture above. You then encounter the first of six very varied, testing and enjoyable short holes, this one the longest of them at 188 yards from the whites.
Two more long holes take you gently up the hill and then back down, with the 5th bisected by trouble about 160 yards from the green.
The 6th is a strong par 4 before you reach two fabulous par 3s, unusually back to back. The first of these, the 7th, is played down to a green flanked by Harden Beck, a tributary for the River Aire which runs all the way down the left and then round behind the green. This is absolutely my idea of a par 3!
Hopefully with the same ball, you then play a hole of similar length but very different nature that is all carry to a plateau green slightly above you. A pair of threes here is a real result.
A short par 5 and a long par 4 take you back to the clubhouse, and the back nine continues with the next par 3 alongside the practice ground with a pond lurking to the left of the green.
I know that a hole that crosses back over another one is not ideal, but the short 13th is a fine par 3 to a well-protected green.
Another testing par 4 is followed by the final long hole, and the 16th is the shortest two-shotter on the course which very kindly yielded me a birdie.
The last short hole is one of the prettiest, no great distance to an attractive, shady setting in the trees.
The closing hole ends a round packed with variety; just seven par 4s, six short holes and five par 5s all add up to a great deal of fun and opportunity.
Following rain, the course at Shipley was beautifully lush and green and in fine condition throughout. As a course I had more stumbled across than sought out, I have no hesitation at all in making a thorough recommendation - great fun!
Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 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 nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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