When the Environment Agency informed Skipton Golf Club of their requirement to use a small part of the lower section of the course in the construction of the Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme, the members seized the opportunity to take their community responsibility seriously in order to minimise the future flood risk and potential damage to the homes and businesses in Skipton.
A financial settlement was agreed enabling the golf club to make exciting improvements including two completely new holes, extension and remodelling of the existing layout, improved practice facilities and drainage around the course and the replacement and upgrading of all existing bridges across Eller Beck.The Environment Agency has now constructed the 14 metre high, grassed embankment with sluice gate to control the flow of water into Eller Beck during an extreme flood risk situation. In addition, it has replaced all existing bridges which cross Eller Beck within the course. Bespoke wooden railings are currently being added to these bridges to enhance safety and appearance.
The Golf Club made prudent preparation under the guidance of leading golf course designer David Jones, to ensure that members and visitors have continued to enjoy an uninterrupted, 18 hole quality golf experience throughout.
A completely new hole was introduced to replace the former 17th and a new ‘interim’ green for the former 16th hole was constructed, to be used until the Flood Alleviation Scheme work has been completed. The current par 4, 9th hole has recently been extended back with a new tee to provide a challenging par 5 hole coming into play this season.
Leading golf course construction firm MJ Abbott Ltd started work on 24th April 2017 to build two completely new 400 yard plus, par 4 holes on recently acquired adjoining land between Brackenley Lane and Grassington Road behind the halfway house. As this work will take place off the existing course there will be no disruption to play and the Club will be able to continue to extend a warm welcome to visiting parties and casual visitors. Work will start soon to build a completely new 17th green, landscaped into the new embankment with an adjoining new ‘championship’ tee for the final hole. (Green and tee locations are currently marked by yellow and blue posts).
When the new holes come into play the current first hole will become available for conversion to a short game practice area whilst the ‘interim’ par 3, 11th green will become the focal point of a new junior and beginners’ academy area with three alternative tees.
We are nearing completion of our new and extended Greenkeepers’ building which will provide increased storage and workshop space and provide our staff with the excellent facilities they deserve.
We have completely rebuilt the previously troublesome 15th green and are planning a similar total renovation of the signature par 3, 16th in due course. Both holes have already benefited greatly from a significant thinning out of surrounding trees. The view of the 16th green has been enhanced by the removal of significant earth on the embankment to the right which was then used in the construction of the new 8th tee which will be completed soon.
Over the next two years Skipton Golf Club will benefit from many positive, planned changes including significant improvements to course drainage, bunkers and some greens. Members share our enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect of seeing the course and facilities improve over time.
With the compensation funding received via the Environment Agency, we have been afforded a unique opportunity to improve our facilities, whilst helping our local community to reduce the flood risk to Skipton. The Club is moving forward purposefully with confidence. We are making the course more attractive for current and new members and visitors, whilst ensuring that Skipton Golf Club Ltd remains financially secure into a long and successful future.
Plans of the new holes, all produced by World-renowned golf architect, David Jones
Further Information & Links
Environmental Statement [Craven District Council]
Slow release | Two new dams for Skipton [New Civil Engineer]
Top award for Skipton flood defences [Craven Herald]
Skipton’s £13.8 million flood scheme to get under way [Craven Herald]
Whilst this work has been ongoing the effects to member and visitor golf has been minimal and we have received many glowing testimonials and comments, typified by the following:
‘ I wanted to relate our experience when we visited you at the beginning of July. The work that was going on re the flood relief was very unobtrusive to our golf. We played 18 holes and how you had accommodated these was exemplary (the introduction of the par 3 and the 16th a par 4 instead of a 5). Look forward to seeing you next year.’
‘Ahead of our Seniors’ annual match at Skipton GC , our team were well aware of the ongoing flood relief works and that there might be some disruption on a small number of holes. In outcome, we played 18 holes of golf and there was absolutely no inconvenience and we had a most enjoyable match.’