While many golf clubs are struggling in the current financial climate, one Yorkshire club is going from strength to strength and investing for the future. Wetherby Golf Club, founded in 1910, has recently completed a £350,000 investment in a redesign of the 17th and 18th holes of this beautiful parkland course. Believed to be the largest golf development project undertaken in Yorkshire in 2017/18, their design has been undertaken by one of Europe’s leading golf course architects, Jonathan Gaunt with construction and earthworks being contracted to NLS Contracts.

The new 17th hole is a par three of around 160 yards, with a carry, over wetlands fed by numerous natural springs that flow through the course, to a green set into the hillside. The hole is a strong one, with plenty of teeing options and the big green provides plenty of pin locations of varying difficulties. “One of the features of the course was the old railway embankment that runs through our property,” explained General Manager, Darren Tear. “With the old seventeenth, we had a walk back of around 100 yards to the tee, which was not ideal. Now, the flow is much more natural and the path through the embankment is more attractive.” Indeed, the view which greets golfers as they ascend the tee is truly stunning, featuring attractive landscaping and a view of the distant clubhouse.

The new finishing hole, the 18th, is a magnificent 535 yard par five. “The hole meanders down a valley along the side of the railway embankment to a theatre style green 25 yards in front of the clubhouse,” said Darren. “It will give us a much more satisfying and high-quality finishing experience. There’s a good variety of hazards on the golf hole too, ideal for the 18th, with a pond around driving distance, and a natural stream that cuts across the fairway.”

The major construction was completed by mid-July 2017 and subsequent favourable weather conditions encouraged growth and “greening” up of seeded areas of greens and fairways. Thus it was that the opening ceremony could take place on the evening of Friday, 22nd June 2018. The honour of inaugurating the holes fell to a four ball consisting of Ladies Captain Kechil Gilchrist, Mens Captain Terry Nicholson, Junior Captain Henry Culloden and Club President Royce Hoodless. A second fourball featured Club Manager Darren Tear, Club Professional Mark Daubney, honorary life member Alistair McIlroy and we were also delighted that Course designer Jonathan Gaunt could complete the group. The event was given an excellent send off with Tony Page as MC and it was witnessed by an appreciative group of some 200 members who went on to celebrate the inauguration with a welcome glass of wine and nibbles whilst admiring the view from the terrace.

Indeed, a further advantage of the redevelopment was the removal of part of the old railway embankment so that it opens up a full vista of both the Par 5 1st hole from its elevated tee to the raised green and the full sweep of the new 18th. This offers an uninterrupted view of the opening holes along the River Wharfe something which is immediately noticeable for members and visitors walking from the car park to the Pro Shop and 1st tee. The view from the clubhouse and terrace must surely be one of the most picturesque of any Yorkshire course. It is rare at any club to have views of both the 1st and 18th from the same vantage point. “It now provides a magnificent aspect and a memorable one for visitors with the view from the club house lounge and outside terrace being equally impressive,” said Darren. “We take great pride in offering both members and visitors exceptional facilities at this friendly Yorkshire club and are sure that everyone will be very impressed with the improved course.

Our Chair of the General Committee, Ann Kelly concluded the opening ceremony paying tribute to Darren Morris and his excellent team of Greens Staff for all their efforts in keeping our golf enjoyable during the construction period and presenting the new holes so well. Indeed, the team were in action from 3.30am the following day in preparation for Captains’ Weekend which saw all our members sampling the delights of the ‘new’ course. Tributes were also paid to Kenny Miller who was Greens chairman during much of the design and construction phase and Peter Bryant who was project manager. We must also thank all our members for their patience, loyalty and understanding during the period of reconstruction.

We are looking forward to welcoming visiting parties to our new facilities in 2018 and to continuing to attract new members to Wetherby Golf Club.