The game of golf has changed dramatically since renowned Yorkshire golf course architect, Dr Alister MacKenzie, created Oakdale Golf Club in Harrogate well over 100 years ago.
Ever changing lifestyles leaving less time for pastimes like golf have led to challenges for clubs in attracting new members, but Oakdale has introduced an innovative and modern approach. Full membership comes with a basic fee of just £700 plus £5 every time you play, but this is capped at £1200.
For those with family commitments or heavy work schedules this membership option offers the best of both worlds, delivering flexible and affordable golf with all the benefits of a high-end member’s golf club. There are also reduced fees for under 35 ‘s.
The Harrogate district has several clubs but the Good Doctor’s 1914 design is the only one within the boundaries of the Spa town, and is just a mile from the hustle and bustle of the centre and even closer to the Harrogate Convention Centre.
Oakdale seemingly has a package to suit every society or group starting at £42 per golfer which includes a registration desk on arrival, tea or coffee and bacon roll and a round of golf right through to a 36-hole package which as well as including two rounds of golf also offers full fare for the day-coffee or tea and a bacon roll plus soup and sandwiches and a two-course meal.
Après golf at Oakdale is enjoyed in the well-appointed clubhouse which has become a welcoming oasis of relaxation for golfers, visitors, societies and corporate clients. It is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet drink, delicious bar snack or more substantial cuisine in the restaurant.
An ideal venue for a host of special events, weddings and celebrations, the club has built a reputation for friendly, efficient service and the very best value for money. The clubhouse is open to the public at all times, and the large the balcony is a favourite spot for patrons to drink in panoramic views of the course and beyond.
One of MacKenzie’s great strengths was using natural topography to great effect and Oakdale is one his best examples. Laid out in two loops, the tilting fairways require accurate and well-shaped drives to gain maximum distance or a good position to approach the greens.
Predominantly parkland in style, with a dash of moorland, there’s great diversity at Oakdale. Trees are a prominent feature, but benched greens at three of the par-3s are a particular highlight.
The second, sixth and 17th all feature complexes worked nicely into the hillside with bunkers high-right and low-left to defend them. They may be similar in appearance and head in the same direction, but they work well and are spaced out far enough throughout the round.
Two holes that will live long in the memory, however, are the holes that close both returning loops of nine; each one is played over Oak Beck.
The ninth is a dropping one-shotter to a severely tilted green and uses the angle of the water hazard cunningly to create more interest depending upon the pin position. It’s an intimidating tee-shot and you’re never quite sure if your ball will end up dry until it has landed.
Meanwhile, the same brook cuts straight across the front of the green at the 18th and although the hole is only 338-yards and plays downhill, it is no less of a potential card wrecker. Problems start on the tee with out-of-bounds is hard to the left, over an old stonewall, with trees creeping in from the right. You don’t want to leave yourself too long of a shot into the green, nor from off the fairway, but at the same time you don’t want to get too close either in what can be a daunting finish to the round.