A guide to golf in Leeds
If you’re golf-mad, you’ll find a kind of second home in the city of Leeds. It isn’t necessarily the very first place you’d think of for golf in the UK, or even golf in Yorkshire, but Leeds and its surroundings boast a great range of golf courses.
Here’s our guide to golf in Leeds, with all courses less than four miles away for sport enthusiasts staying at Weetwood Hall just on the outskirts of the city centre. Our guide includes an interview with Gary Day, General Manager at Cookridge Hall Golf Club in Leeds.
- Roundhay Park. In addition to being one of the largest city parks in the whole of Europe, with a host of other sporting facilities, Roundhay is also home to a popular golf club with an impressive 90-year history. A modest and welcoming 9-hole course adjoins the main park and club house, one that is suitable for all playing standards, ages and handicaps.
- Sand Moor Golf Club. Sand Moor Golf Club is located within scenic moorland five miles to the north of Leeds. It was founded in 1926 by the acclaimed golf course architect Dr Alister MacKenzie. Sand Moor has a great variety of excellent holes and boasts fantastic facilities, including a spacious clubhouse within overlooks the 18th green.
- Temple Newsam. This fantastic facility located in the grounds of the historic Temple Newsam House has not one, but two 18-hole golf courses. Each is available on a pay-and-play basis across undulating parkland. Golfers and spectators can enjoy stunning views of the Leeds countryside and cityscape, as well as a welcoming clubhouse with a fine selection of traditional ales.
- Moortown Golf Club. Founded in 1909, Moortown Golf Club is well-known globally as the host of the first Ryder Cup match in Britain, which took place in 1929. This well-facilitated golf club, which was designed by the world-famous gold course architect Dr Alister MacKenzie, is widely regarded as one of the UK’s finest inland golf course.
Playing at Cookridge Hall Golf Club
In addition to these great four golf clubs, there are plenty of other opportunities to play golf in Leeds. For example, you can visit the welcoming Cookridge Hall Golf Club. Cookridge Hall Golf club on the outskirts of Leeds features an 18-hole golf course, 22 bay floodlit driving range, clubhouse bar & restaurant and award winning junior academy.
Weetwood Hall had the pleasure of catching up with Gary Day – General Manager at Cookridge Hall Golf Club and asked him a few questions about golfing in Leeds…
Are you a golfing enthusiast yourself?
I have played golf from the age of 13 when I first moved to Leeds and turned Professional in 1996 spending many years thereafter teaching and competing. I was fortunate to compete in South Africa, Asia & Europe and prior to hanging my clubs up so to speak achieved a boyhood dream of mine in qualifying for and competing in The Open Championship in 2006.
What do you like about the game?
There are far too many reasons to list why I like this great game. Unlike many sports Golf is relatively unique by virtue of the handicapping system. Amateur golfers of varying abilities can all compete against each other on a level playing field. Indeed you could take world number 1 Rory McIlroy and put him alongside a competent 15 handicapper and have a closely fought match on your hands. One part of the game I never really appreciated as a youngster was the social and networking aspect that the game offers and the opportunities they then bring.
How long have you been General Manager for Cookridge Hall Golf Club?
I took over the role in 2006 so this is my ninth year. Since leaving school I have always worked in the Golf industry from a Saturday Lad at Eagle Golf Centre in Leeds, to turning Professional. I have always had a keen interest in the business side of the industry hence when the opportunity came to join Cookridge I jumped at the chance.
What makes Cookridge Hall such a quality and popular golf club?
Whilst predominantly a members club, we are open to the general public and indeed given our 22 bay floodlit driving range we do welcome many members of other local courses using our facility. Alongside the range, we have short game practice areas including bunkers and putting greens. The golf course itself offers a stern yet fair test of golf for golfers of all abilities. Set in the rolling countryside of north Leedsthe views over the Yorkshire Dales are stunning and may contribute to the clubs popularity.
The clubhouse dates back to the 18th century and provides an idyllic setting certainly during the summer months where both members and guests can enjoy food and drink whilst relaxing out on the patio.
Having taken over ownership in 2005 we have worked extremely hard in making improvements to the course and developing the club itself. We are a very friendly club managed and operated by a young and extremely enthusiastic workforce, which I believe has been one of the key contributors to the success that the club has seen over recent years.
What level of golfer does Cookridge Hall predominantly attract, beginners, intermediate, professional, perhaps all three?
Given the facilities we have we do and are able to welcome all standards of golfer from complete beginner to tournament professionals. We have 6 fully qualified PGA Golf Professionals on hand 7 days a week offering tuition using the latest in computer software and teaching aids.
In 2014 we were awarded by England Golf the GolfMark Club of the Year award for our contribution and continuing work with grass roots and junior golf. We welcome in excess in 300 children to Cookridge each week his alongside our Professionals going out to teach at schools in the local area. We are recognised across the country for our commitment and achievements with junior golf for which we are very proud.
With over 500 active playing members we have a broad spectrum of golfer including handicaps in the mid-twenties down to scratch and better. The scratch team in particular fared extremely well in gaining promotion to Division 1 in the Leeds Scratch league, before becoming Yorkshire Champions and going on to finish 8th overall in the English County Team Championship, a fantastic achievement and coupled with the above GolfMark award 2014 proved a great year for Cookridge.
Why do you think Leeds has become such a golfers’ hub?
The city of Leeds continues to grow and is responsible for attracting many visitors to the city including golfers. When it comes to golf we in north Leeds are blessed with in excess of 10 courses within only a few miles. Stretch this a little further and golfers have an abundance of quality courses to choose from including former Ryder Cup venue Moortown and its neighbour and host to many major events Alwoodley. There is a course to cater for everyone’s needs and budget all offering a different challenge and each presented to the highest standard. Throw in accommodation in the leafy suburbs or in the city itself and it comes as no surprise as to why we are seeing more and more travelling golfers in the area.
What are the essential ingredients that make up a quality golf club?
We pride ourselves on the welcoming and friendly atmosphere we have here at Cookridge. This not only portrayed by our staff but also our members towards visitors and new members. Whilst Cookridge Hall is a proprietary golf club it remains our priority to listen to our members needs and concerns and where possible act upon any request. We communicate on a daily basis with our members which we feel is essential in continuing our good relationship. It cannot be overlooked either that enthusiastic and friendly staff are crucial to making up a quality golf club.
If you do happen to be a guest of Weetwood Hall and you’re hoping to access facilities for a game of golf, you’re in luck. You can choose Cookridge as part of your ‘Stay, play, pick and mix’ break and we will take care of booking your tee times and accommodation requirements by creating a bespoke package along with any other course you choose.