Originally called the Shipley and Saltaire Golf Club it was formed in 1896 at an augural meeting of just 30 persons at the Manor House Shipley and the Rt. Hon. Laurence - 4th Earl of Rosse KP was invited to become the club's first President with subscriptions fixed at 1 guinea for Gentlemen and 10 shillings and sixpence for Ladies.
The course was originally located at Moorhead in the hills to the north of our current location, where, after much wrangling with local farmers from whom land was rented, the Club opened their “links” on 6th March 1897.
However after years of continual disputes with said farmers, in 1919 the club took the monumental step of purchasing 124 acres at Beckfoot.
Dr Alister MacKenzie was appointed to lay out the new course and supervise the work for a fee of £200 (c. £10,000 in today’s money). The new Course was officially opened on 20th June 1921 with the new name of “The Shipley Golf Club Ltd” followed some months later on 16th September 1922 by the formal opening of the “magnificent” new clubhouse designed by local architect Mr. F. Atkinson. The opening was celebrated with an exhibition match featuring James Braid and Harry Vardon – Braid returning the best score of 75. The Club professional Harry Loveridge also played who went on to complete 49 years service with the Club to be succeeded by Walter Lees who only managed 37 years!
In May 1931 Shipley was a founder member of the Bradford and District Union of Golf Clubs and in 1940 Henry Cotton appeared in an exhibition match which raised £664 for the Red Cross war effort.
Bounded by Harden Beck on the one side and dense woodland to the other with no urban encroachment, the Course remains as remarkably quiet and peaceful as the day Mackenzie finished his work. Similarly the Course itself remains largely as he intended save some changes around what is now the 11th and to the order of play. His design is evident with subtly sloping, cleverly guarded greens with narrow approaches being a hallmark of his work and which reward skilful and accurate play.
At a little over 6200 yards do not be fooled into thinking this is an easy round. Unusually for a course of this standard there are 6 challenging par 3’s; one of which the 7th (in the middle of what is considered an early version of Amen Corner) is Shipley’s’s signature hole. A testing downhill mid to long iron shot into a two tier green bounded by Harden Beck to the left and rear. 7 tough par 4’s uniquely with no two par 4’s back to back; and 5 par 5’s complete the challenge with mature trees lining the fairways accompanied by several ditches and ponds. The current layout has an opening loop of 10 holes bringing play back to the Clubhouse and in recognition of MacKenzie’s original plan, count back at Shipley starts on this front 9 which is highly unusual.
For more information on the Alister MacKenzie Society of Golf Clubs click here; http://www.alistermackenzie.co.uk Shipley Golf Club members receive discounted green fees at many of the clubs in the society, see the web site for details.
The Song Thrush or “Throstle” was adopted as the Club’s logo in 1959 at the suggestion of the then Captain John Williamson. The reason being that Bingley was historically known as the “Throstle Nest of Old England” because of the abundance of said birds in the district. We still have them.