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Best golf holes in Yorkshire

What are the best holes in Yorkshire you’ve ever played?

Steve Carroll has picked out the best golf holes he has played from 20-odd years of living in God’s own county. What would you add?

 

It’s called God’s own county and with good reason. I may be a Teessider by birth, but I’ve called Yorkshire my home for more than two decades – and what a place it is.

Nowhere does that extend more than to the golf courses. We’ve got some of England’s greatest in this green and pleasant land and I’ve been lucky enough to play more than a few of them.

So I’ve picked out some of my favourites in this composite 18 – my best golf holes in Yorkshire – those that have stuck with me the most on my travels across the nation’s largest county.

There will be some omissions, so please don’t @ me. I’ve spent a lovely summer’s day at Ilkley for the past three years, for example, and still not managed to play the course. I’ve still got plenty of treading to do in parts of South Yorkshire.

But let’s see how some of mine stack up against yours and why don’t you play along as well and tweet me your results.

If you want to construct your own 18, these are the rules:

– You must have played the hole

– It must correspond with the number on your virtual card (so your 1st has to be an opening hole and so on)

– You can only use a course once

I used the white tees for this list, as it’s me playing, but go from wherever suits you. The key is just to keep it uniform throughout.

All good? Right, let’s get stuck in…

Best golf holes in Yorkshire: Front 9

1st: Scarcroft (Par-4, 435 yards – Par-5 and 394 yards from the forward tees)

Best golf holes in Yorkshire

The golden age golf architects advocated a gentle start – ease the player into the round. Not on this course. You’re going to get put to the test from the off, and the opener at this West Yorkshire classic layout does just that. Out of bounds all down the left, clumps of trees waiting to trap your ball on the right, and the best part of 450 yards to negotiate. It’s a meaty par 4 and just what I want to immediately sort the wheat from the chaff.

2nd: Malton & Norton (Par 3, 151 yards)

A little course knowledge goes a long way. So I know that this green slopes dramatically from left to right and anything that lands on the green is going to take a sharp hop sideways. Get that wrong and you’ll be off the putting surface. Don’t just think you can pop it on the left edge, either. There’s a compelling hump at the side of that green ready to play pinball with your ball. As short par 3s go, this is a knockout.

3rd: Huddersfield (Par 5, 529 yards)

A tight tee shot that doglegs left to right suits the fader. Anything that stays left is just tree bound. Some well-placed bunkers will snare those who have to lay up and the green is difficult to hold and harder to hole a putt on. If you’re after an easy birdie, you’ll need to find another par 5.

4th: Lindrick (Par 5, 478 yards)

Best golf holes in Yorkshire

This is an absolute beast despite its relatively short yardage. That’s principally because the green’s about 40 feet lower than the tee and there is trouble all around it – not least the ditch in front but also the pond that’s waiting to catch anything that airmails the putting surface. The approach to that sunken green is really difficult to judge. Think yourself very lucky if you get to put a 4 on the card here.

5th: Scarborough South Cliff (Par 5, 543 yards)

Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club

I’m going to say this is the best view from a golf course in Yorkshire. The hole itself is fairly straightforward. It’s long but if you don’t put it left – and over the cliffs – it’s a matter of execution. The green, which is small, provides some challenges and you don’t want to go long and into the North Sea. But that vista looking out at the water and North Cliff in the distance. Just drink it in. I spent about 20 minutes there and didn’t think about golf at all. Wonderful.

6th: Sand Moor (Par 4, 476 yards)

I spurned this course’s excellent par-3s ahead of some other beauties, but Sand Moor is about much more than a couple of short holes. At the 6th, we get as close to Augusta National as we’ll find in Yorkshire. I remember perfect white sand in the bunkers. I remember lovely pine trees. I remember great turf. And I remember an absolutely solid par 4 that basically played as a 5 for me.

7th: Hallamshire (Par 4, 328 yards)

Best golf holes in Yorkshire

A short par 4 and it’s outstanding. Very tight, it plays downhill to a green that’s raised on a steep bank. You have to cross a little bridge just to get to that putting surface. If you find the wrong spot, your ball can even end up under it! In summer, when all the heather is in full display, it’s everything you’d ever imagine golf to be.

8th: York (Par 4, 463 yards)

You didn’t really think I’d leave my home course out of this, did you? Don’t be daft. This is not a biased addition, though. I genuinely love the 8th and it’s worth its place – particularly in the summer when the heather’s up and the pine is looking its best. You hit over the pond that’s the main threat on the short 7th and there is some room to find the fairway.

But even if you avoid the deep bunker on the left, you’ll still have a lengthy approach to the putting surface. Beware the traps that guard a big green. Marvellous.

9th: Brough (Par 3, 199 yards)

Brough Golf Club

I’m not a massive fan of long Par 3s per se, but this one must go on the list if only for its green complex. Long and set in a bowl, it’s hard enough to find the putting surface – as you hit from a raised tee and try and negotiate a narrow avenue of trees – but even if you do the sheer length of putt you might face means you can still easily walk to the turn nursing the effects of a three putt.  

10th: Moortown (Par 3, 165 yards)

Moortown golf course review

Dr Alister MacKenzie was so confident about the merits of Gibraltar, as it became known, he constructed it as a test hole to sing the praises of his upcoming course.

The build-it-and-they-will-come approach certainly worked as no one who saw this short hole, moulded out of a rocky slope, wasn’t amazed.

More than a century on, it still thrills. Whether that’s the quartet of bunkers ready to take the poorly struck shot or the feel you get when you hit the right part of the green and watch it slide, slowly and deliciously, across the contours to the hole, it’s just epic.

11th: Bingley St Ives (Par 4, 454 yards)

A tee shot across a diagonal, moorland everywhere you look, and – usually – a howling wind that’s careering back into your face. The 11th at Bingley is the epitome of tough, no nonsense, golf and everything you’d expect on a proper Yorkshire course. There is no let up. It’s brutally long. An ancient wall running down the right will claim anything that spins up in the air and it closes right in to the green. A trio of bunkers guards the left of the putting surface, which slopes from either side and drops off at the back. This could be the best par you’ll ever earn.

12th: Halifax (Par 4, 263 yards)

You thought I was going to pick the 17th, didn’t you? That is spectacular, and a big reason you travel to Ogden, but I’ve got another in mind for that penultimate hole and Halifax is also blessed with a couple of other spectacular short holes. This is a par 4 off the back tees but, for me, it actually plays better further forward. That’s because some of the challenges – sharp drop offs, the small green, and navigating the path to that putting surface – are more in focus when you take some of the yardage off. Come away with a 3 and you’re a very happy camper indeed.

13th: Fulford (Par 4, 469 yards)

Fulford

The gorse just in front of the tee will terrify those with a propensity to top it but this hole’s real beauty comes not only in its tight tee shot – with trees and out of bounds left and plenty of foliage right – but also in its length. Even the longer hitters are going to have deal with some decent yardage and a green that’s difficult to hold and well bunkered. It’s the best hole of a sensational stretch at the former European Tour venue.

14th: Cleveland (Par 4, 387 yards)

Cleveland may be Yorkshire’s only links, and one of its oldest clubs, but this is one of its newest holes – fashioned by Donald Steel about three decades ago. Didn’t he do a stellar job?

The tee shot sends a quiver into even the most confident of swings. The dogleg left looks gentle enough but the wind can be blasting sideways and you just can’t avoid staring at the white stakes that run all the way down the right hand side.

Yes, you can go too far left and you’ll still be in play. But it will be in a very smelly fescue encrusted lie which makes finding the green all but impossible. What a green it is too. Tight, slightly raised, and falling off the front and back. You can have done a lot of good work up to here, only to see it undone with just a couple of loose shots.

15th: Bradford (Par 4, 417 yards)

You’ll find a high tee from where it feels like you can see half of Yorkshire, down to a valley, cross bunkers, trees on both sides, and, oh yes, a ditch to a difficult green that’s bunkered everywhere and which will send anything on the short side hurtling back down towards you. The best hole at Bradford for me.

16th: Ganton (Par 4, 447 yards)

Best golf courses in Yorkshire

The tee shot is treacherous and the massive cross-bunker, which shouldn’t really come into play with any kind of solid contact, is still plainly unsettling.

The pines on both sides frame the hole beautifully and the undulations on the fairway mean you can end up with just as tricky a second shot as from the tee.

The gorse that has been removed from the back of green means the views from the putting surface have been wonderfully opened up.

17th: Headingley (Par 3, 174 yards)

Best golf holes in Yorkshire

MacKenzie at his absolute finest. Sitting in the shelter of a hillside, and with five bunkers to negotiate, the green feels to me like it slopes a little left to right. The middle of that putting surface is absolutely where you want to be.  

18th: Alwoodley (Par 4, 447 yards)

Best golf holes in Yorkshire

There is no debate. This is the finest finishing hole in Yorkshire. Everything about it just screams excellence. The raised tee which puts the hole and that formidable clubhouse in a starring role. The bunkers that flank either side of the fairway, just enticing your ball to find their sandy nests. The brutal length of the approach that will reward only the finest contact. And the huge green – one of the biggest on the course to my mind – that has three-putt written all over it. A championship course deserves a championship finish and this is everything you want. What a climax.

More from NCG Top 100 golf courses in England

Visit the NCG Top 100s homepage for more rankings, more opinion, more arguments, pods and blogs.

How does Steve’s list stack up against your best golf holes in Yorkshire? And what are your best golf courses in Yorkshire? Let him know with a tweet.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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