The Club’s Origins & History
The Club was inaugurated in 1893 and has seen huge changes since those very early days.
The first three years of its life were spent in Gargrave, alongside the banks of the River Aire and in those early days it was known as Craven Golf Club.
It was in 1896 that the Club moved from the “links”, with its closely mown fairways, to the present site on the outskirts of Skipton. The existing site, when acquired, consisted of rough meadows, stone walls and fences and was grazed by horses, cattle and sheep.
The reason for the sudden move in 1896 is unknown but it is well documented that the new 9 hole course was just 2,216 yards in length. It was altered in 1911 and then again in 1931 when it was extended to 2,777 yards.
Further changes came in 1964 with the addition of three more holes and finally, in 1980, when it became an 18 hole course.
The club has always applied an ongoing policy of change and improvement to the course and this included a new 8th green in 1988. The construction of this green allowed the old “Devil’s Cauldron” to be converted to today’s 15th green, creating one of the most beautiful and memorable holes, not only on the course but also in Yorkshire.
The early part of this millennium has seen the continuation of a policy started in 1998 to improve the course in many ways. This has to date included the extending of teeing areas, building of new paths, implementation of drainage systems and work on course presentation. Some tremendous improvements have been made and we now look forward to one of the most exciting periods of our illustrious history as we work together with the Environment Agency on a flood prevention scheme for Skipton.
Our new interim course layout, designed by internationally renowned professional course designer, David Jones, is now in full use and offers 18 excellent golfing holes. The financial settlement negotiated with the Environment Agency will allow us to fund our proposed improvements with the first phase of the work involving the building of two ‘brand new’ holes and an extension of the current 9th hole into a par 5. The subsequent phases will aim to improve on our nationally acclaimed 16th hole as well as many other areas of our course.
Skipton Golf Club is proud of our long history of improvements and are committed to continuing with this programme of change.
A history of Skipton
Skipton is a country market town set at the southern end of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s a small and very friendly town with a population of around 16,000. It has considerable history and evidence of this can be seen in both the Castle and Holy Trinity church.
The name Skipton comes from the Saxon word for sheep and the town really began as a trading centre for sheep and wool. Skipton was probably just a sheep farm back before the Norman Conquest and the settlement commanded the Craven Gap, the best passage through the Pennines and so grew in importance to become the main market town of Craven.
The town of Skipton was granted to Robert Romillie after the Norman Conquest and he was responsible for building the first castle.
Skipton supported the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses, and was on the Royalist side in the Civil War. After the battle of Marston Moor in July 1644, Skipton was the only Royalist stronghold left in the north. The castle fell under siege for over a year until December 1645, when a surrender was negotiated.
Oliver Cromwell had the roof of the castle removed, but it was replaced just 10 years later on condition that the new roof wasn’t strong enough to hold cannons. In 1659, Lady Anne Clifford planted a yew tree in the conduit court of the castle to mark its restoration. It’s still there. She also had the Clifford family’s motto carved over the main gateway entrance to the castle: ‘Desormais’ which apparently means ‘henceforth’.
Skipton has now become a centre for tourism and attracts visitors from all over the UK.