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Ilkley Moor Golf Club, Rombalds Moor Course. (1903 - WW2)

Founded in 1903/5 when the professional was David Robertson.

When Ilkley Golf Club moved from Rombalds Moor to their new site alongside the river, Ilkley Moor Golf Club eventually took over the old 9-hole course which was extended to 18-holes just prior to WW1. The noted golf architect Dr Alister MacKenzie designed the new course which was still being constructed at the onset of the war. The additional nine holes were described as having been "carved out of a wilderness of heather and rocks" The fairways on the course were fairly tight but with excellent springy moorland turf. Although the greens were small they were well maintained. Hazards consisted of heather, bracken and grass bunkers. Sheep were allowed to roam the fairways but they were not a big problem to the golfers. There were no cattle grids on the course so the sheep were more likely to be found in local gardens and allotments.

Ilkley Moor members were mainly tradesmen and workmen. They originally named it the Olicana Golf Club but this was changed in 1905 to Ilkley Moor Golf Club. The later clubhouse was between the grounds of  Semon House and Cherry Bank, prior to this they had used a large Victorian stone built house, which has since been demolished . James Braid and Harry Vardon played an exhibition match on the course in 1907. The station at Ilkley was 1 mile away. Local hotels were the Royal, Troutbeck Hydro, Stoney Lea Hydro, Middelton and the Wells House, on the edge of Rombalds Moor the Ilkley Moor course was within a short distance of the hotel.

Evidence  of the earlier Olicana Golf Club from the Shuttleworth Popular Guide 1902/3.


Ilkley Golf Club, Rombalds Moor. Advert for the earlier Olicana Golf Club.

Image courtesy of Sally Gunton.


From the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Instituted 1905; Number of members 40; Hon. secretary - W L Stampe, 3 Grosvenor Terrace, Ilkley; Nine-holes; Subs, £1/1 shilling; Terms for visitors, 1 shilling a day (1s/6d Saturday and Bank Holiday), 5s a week, 12s/6d a month. The links are leased by the Ilkley District Council, and are situated on the south side of the valley within five minutes' walk of the Wells House Hydro, and a quarter of an hour from the railway atation.

Report from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph Monday 31 July 1905; "OPENING OF A GOLF COURSE AT ILKLEY - The nine-hole course on Ilkley Moor, occupied by the Ilkley Golf Club prior to its move to a new course near the River Wharfe, and which had been leased from the District Council by the newly-formed Ilkley Moor Golf Club was formally opened on Saturday. A 36-hole foursome match was played between Lady Cowley and Tom Vardon (Sandwich) and Miss K G Moeller (ex Yorkshire Lady Champion) and Herbert Dean (professional of the new club.) Lady Cowley and Vardon won the match 7 and 6."

In 1906 the secretary was A Hitt, 15 Eaton Road, Ilkley. The professional was H E Dean. Course records were, amateur H Ritchie with a score of 34 and professional H E Dean 31. Visitors’ fees were 1/6 a day, 5/- a week and 12/6 a month.

From the Yorkshire Post January 1907. "The members of the Ilkley Moor club, who a year or two ago took over the links from the Ilkley District Council, have secured and extension on the lease on the links until 1917, and are now engaged upon the erection of a handsome pavilion which will shortly open. There is accommodation for both ladies and gentlemen, with kitchen and other conveniences." 

During 1908 the Newcastle Daily Chronicle published a series of articles called “Northern Golf Links – A Tour Round the Courses.” Following is an extract from the article that appeared in the newspaper on Friday 10 July featuring the Rombalds Moor Course; “With the invasion from Leeds and Bradford it was inevitable that the great golf game should not be long in making its appearance, and today there are three golf courses within easy reach of the town. Two of these, with which this article will deal, are situated on the moor, and one, the best known of them, on the riverside, and in their way they are all good. The moor courses perhaps deserve the attention first, for they are, if not the best, at least the most distinctive. The course of the Ilkley Moor Golf Club is one of nine-holes and a short but stiff walk up the fell side is necessary to reach it. It is, in the best sense of the word, a sporting course. It puts a premium on sound play, for the lies on the fairway are all of the best and the greens are true, if apt in dry weather, to be a trifle fast. On the other hand the duffer is going to get more exercise than amusement out of a round, but the penalties exacted are so severe as to give him every reason to pay proper a proper attention to the improvement of his game, and a few days on the moor course should certainly suffice to make him an expert with the niblick. The opening holes on the course are along the roadside, and the road itself threatens any slicing, while a bountiful supply of rough is an inducement to take proper care over the tee shots. A tricky iron shot up the hill will reach the third green, and though the hole is a blind one the line is sufficiently well indicated. It is after this hole that the really characteristic part of the course commences, the holes wandering up and down the edge of the moor in a manner that tests the players power of pedestrianism as well as his capacity of a golfer, and the prettiest one of them all is one at which it is necessary to carry a stone dyke of substantial proportions with the drive, the second requiring an iron shot well hit and lofted to reach a green perched up on the hillside. Thereafter the player is faced by a yawning chasm which when seen from the tee looks sufficiently formidable, and the impression is not likely to be altered should he be so unfortunate as to make closer acquaintanceship with it. This has to be crossed twice in the course of the round, and is the outstanding obstacle of a course that abounds in trouble. It has been said already that the links offer no great difficulties to the straight player, as may be seen from the fact that Mr H Ritchie’s record is 34, and that H F Dean, the young professional who is now attached to the Ripon club, has been round in 31. But to the medium player the course takes careful negotiation, and it will take a fairly long holiday to tire the visitor of the infinite variety of difficulties. The club has a most comfortable house adjoining the course, and its secretary, Mr A Hitt, is an enthusiastic player whose management of affairs is quite of the best.”

The Ordnance Survey Map below shows the location of the golf course in the 1900s.


Ilkley Moor Golf Club, Rombalds Moor Course. O. S. Map showing the location of the course in the 1900s.

O.S. Map Revised 1906 to 1907 - © Crown Copyright {year of publication 1910}.


In 1914 the joint secretaries were F M Hood, Whinmore, Ilkley and A Wallace, Stoney Lea Hydro. The professional was H Mann. The Entry fees for gents were £3/3/0 and ladies £1/1/0. Subs were gents £2/12/6 and ladies £1/1/0. Visitors’ fees were 2/- a day, weekend and Bank Holiday 2/6 a day, 7/6 a week and £1 a month. There was no Sunday play.


Ilkley Golf Club, Rombalds Moor. Picture of the Moor Golf Course and Clubhouse.


Ilkley Moor Golf Club, Rombalds Moor. Picture of the Moor Golf Course.


Ilkley Moor Golf Club, Rombalds Moor Course. Picture of the Moor Golf Course.


Ilkley Moor Golf Club, Rombalds Moor. Picture of the Moor Golf Course.

Above images of the Moor Golf Course courtesy of Sally Gunton.


The following is from a booklet on the 18-hole course and gives a description of the course layout. It’s from the recollections of a former member. “The first tee of the old moor course was fifty yards northwest of the small bridge on the Keighley Gate Road which crosses the moor-land stream flowing through Spencer’s gardens at the bottom of Grove Road on its way to the river.

The course was slightly uphill for the first three holes, which followed the metalled track to the south of the houses on Panorama Drive. The fourth was a short blind hole played from a tee alongside the Panorama reservoir, over the steep crest of a ridge and onto a green surrounded by a high horse-shoe shaped grass bank.

The fifth hole continued westward with the second shot being played over the stream flowing into Heber’s Ghyll Wood. Hole six was just beyond a north-south stone wall and was steeply uphill to a hidden green with the foot of the pin invisible from the tee. The seventh tee was one hundred yards northwest of the sixth green and the flat fairway continued towards Addingham Moorside.

The eighth and ninth holes were played diagonally, one to the east and one to the west, across a steep slope of moor leading to the highest point of the course in the south-west corner from which magnificent views of Wharfedale and north Yorkshire could be seen.

The tenth hole was short and downhill running alongside the “twin” stone walls at the western end of the course.

The eastward return to the clubhouse started at the eleventh tee with a slightly downhill fairway alongside the “Swastika” stone; this was the longest hole on the course at 430 yards. The short twelfth was uphill and very similar to the sixth hole, but on the eastern side of the stone wall across the course.

Hole thirteen was played from an elevated tee with a daunting carry over the upper ravine of Heber’s Ghyll onto a narrow sloping fairway. The fourteenth hole was rather similar although without a ravine to cross and the third fairway adjoining to catch wayward drives. The green was adjacent to the stone wall which crossed the second and fifteenth fairways.

The fifteenth green was higher up the moorside as was the sixteenth tee from which a blind drive was played over a ridge before reaching the downhill fairway and the green at the side of the Keighley Gate Road.

The last two holes made a difficult finish to the round as the two drives had to cross both the road and the deep ravine; one hole was invariably into the wind. The seventeenth was a par 4 played on to an elevated green on the eastern side of the road. The last hole was played from the hillside high above the ravine to a large green just above the first tee”

Card of the 18-hole course:-

Hole Yards Bogey Hole Yards Bogey
1 250 4 10 155 3
2 320 5 11 430 5
3 283 4 12 120 3
4 130 3 13 250 4
5 264 4 14 420 5
6 140 4 15 310 4
7 387 5 16 240 4
8 200 4 17 213 4
9 170 4 18 160 4
Out 2144 37 In 2298 36
      Out 2144 37
      Total 4442 73


Ilkley Moor Golf Club. The Ilkley Moor golf course.

The Golf Links Ilkley. Postcard by Valentine’s G7041. Authors Collection.


Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s the joint secretaries were F M Hood, Thornleigh, Ilkley and W A Box, 10 Crossbeck Road , Ilkley, club telephone Ilkley 158. The professionals were W Robinson (1921 -1928) S Walsh (1930 - 1933). The 18 hole course had a membership of 300. In 1920 the amateur course record was set by G Sturrock with a score of 72, this was later beaten by W Mellor with a score of 70. Visitors’ fees from the 1 April to 1 October were 5/- a day, 1st November to 31st March 3/6 a day, 7/6 weekend, £1 a week. Station at Ilkley 15 minutes.

Result of the April 1920 medal; A C Cyrtis, 75 scratch; E Crowther, 80-2-78; J R Crabtree, 95-17-78; R Townson, 91-12-79; H Crabtree, 96-15-81; J S Cowling, 84-2-82; G A Lewis, 100-18-82; J E Ingham, 97-12-85. It was reported at the annual meeting that £2,700 had been subscribed towards the cost of purchase and decoration of Heathroyd, which the club has taken over as the clubhouse. It was hoped to have the premises ready for occupation Whitsuntide.

Result of the July 1921 monthly bogey; A E Dean (scratch), 3up; J E Ingham (9), 3up; F M Hood (11), 2up; F Mellor (4), 1up; J McEvoy (16), 1up.   

At the annual meeting of members in July 1921 it was reported that the revenue during the year had been a record. The membership numbered 396, and was higher than at any previous period in the club's history.

It was reported in the Leeds Mercury on Monday 1 August 1921 that the revenue during the year had been a record. The membership numbered 396, the highest in the clubs history.

In the Final for the Captain's Prize in June 1923 F Mellor defeated A G Franklyn by 5 and 3. Monthly Medal competition result; First Division - G A Sutherland, 79-11-68; F Mellor, 72-3-69; G Sturrock, 74-3-71; A G Franklyn, 84-11-73; A C Curtis, 78-3-75; F M Hood, 88-13-75; A R B Munro, 88-13-75; Second Division - C Barrett, 93-24-69; W Rayner, 86-16-70; G H Lewis, 88-16-72; H Town, 88-15-73; C Batty, 91-18-73; C E Walker, 96-21-75.

Competition results from September 1923,


Ilkley Moor Golf Club, Rombalds Moor Course. Competition results from September 1923.

Leeds Mercury Tuesday 18 September 1923. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD


Result of the January 1924 monthly medal.


Ilkley Moor Golf Club, Rombalds Moor Course. Result of the January 1924 monthly medal..

Leeds Mercury Wednesday 23 January 1924. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Result of the Clug (sic) Trophy played over 36-holes in June 1925; E L Moore, 133; W W Pasisngham, 134; G H Dean, 139.

Result of the May 1927 monthly bogey; F Mellor (3) 1up; W A Box (13) 1up; T A Dean (9) 1down; M Davy (14) 3down; W H Scott (24) 3down; E L Moore (6) 4down; H J Fontaine (8) 4down; F M Hood (11) 4down; C Hearth (18) 4down; C A Box (15) 5 down; A A Suffolk (20) 5down; C Davidson (22) 5down; G A Lewis (13) 6down; R H Spurr (15) 7down.

Course record in the Monthly medal in August 1927.


Ilkley Golf Club, Rombalds Moor. Report on a new course record in May 1927.

Leeds Mercury Tuesday 23 August 1927. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Result of the February 1928 monthly medal; First Division - E L Moore, 84-6-78; R Townson, 92-10-82; G A Sutherland, 95-10-85; S T Stephenson, 96-11-95; Division Two - W H Scott, 100-24-76; G Croysdale, 98-16-82; G A Lewis, 101-13-88.

Results from the Golf Gala played in July 1928.


Ilkley Golf Club, Rombalds Moor. Report on the Golf Gala played in July 1928.

Leeds Mercury Monday 23 July 1928. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Result of the August 1928 monthly medal; W A Box, 79-13-66; G Sturrock, 71-4-67; R Townson, 78-10-68; A A Suffolk, 91-18-73; H Diggle, 93-20-73; C R Riley, 96-22-74; H Town, 92-14-68; K P Dove, 98-15-83.

Result of the June 1930 monthly medal; W H Scott, 82-22-60; C L Davidson, 84-18-66; G H Sutherland, 81-10-71; B Blake, 91-20-71; A A Suffolk, 88-15-73; J Milford, 97-22-75; K D Dove, 95-15-80.

Result of the monthly medal for December 1930; M M G Sturrock, 74-3-71; G M Eddison, 87-12-75; A A Suffolk, 90-15-75; H Diggle, 92-15-77; H P Price, 98-18-80; C N Jennings, 98-17-81.

Monthly medal result for June 1931; G Sturrock, 74-3-71; G Croysdale, 80-9-71; G M Eddison, 84-12-72; M Davy, 84-11-73; B H Boden, 95-17-78; C A Box, 99-15-84; K P Dove, 99-15-84. Ilkley Artisans played the final for the prize given by Mr N Holmes, result; M Barrett (7) beat E Horner (17) by 3up. 

Result of the January 1934 monthly medal; H Diggle, 82-10-72; K P Dove, 85-12-73; G W Clough, 88-15-73; W H Box, 94-14-80; J L Hornby, 99-17-82; W Mellor, 86-2-84; G M Eddison, 97-8-88. Fourteen cards were taken out.

It was reported in May 1936 that T R Lee had been appointed as professional in succession to Sam Walsh, who had taken a similar post at Gotts Park the Leeds municipal course.

Captain's v President's match played in September 1936.


Ilkley Golf Club, Rombalds Moor. Match Captain's versus President's match played in September 1936

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer Monday 21 September 1936. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


In the 36-hole final of the President's Prize in February 1938 W Mellor beat G A Sutherland 5 and 4. 

The monthly medal in August 1938 was won by P L Watehurst, 87-22-65; runner-up was W H Scott, 80-9-71. Result of the Wells Mixed Foursomes; Miss Gaunt and W H Scott, 85-14-71; Mrs Bell and G A Sutherland, 95-19-76; Mrs Birch and S E Cruise, 95-11½-83½.  

At the annual meeting held on Friday 21 April 1939 it was decided that the club should be wound up. Golf had been played on Ilkley Moor since 1890. The Ilkley Moor Golf Club was founded in 1905. A financial statement showed a loss in the previous two years of £328, a bank overdraft of £1,956 against which the principal asset was the clubhouse.

It was reported in June 1939 that there was to be a new Ilkley Moor Golf Club to succeed the recently wound up club. It was to be known as the Ilkley Moor Golf Club (1939). Mr Douglas Hamilton was elected president; vice-presidents - Sir Henry Price, H Crabtree, A Talbot, W P Wood, J Rycroft; K P Dove, hon. treasurer; P Myers and N Thorne, joint hon. secretaries.    

In 1940 and 1947 it was known as the Moor Golf Club, Heathroyd, telephone Ilkley158 Ilkley. The joint secretaries were K P Dove, Ingleside, Ben Rhydding  and A A Suffolk, Raeburn, Skipton Road, Ilkley, telephone 123 the professional was T R Lee and the greenkeeper M Barrett. 18 holes with a SSS and Par of 66. Membership had dropped drastically to 120. Course records were, amateur N Thorne 64 and professional S Walsh 62. Visitors’ fees were now 2/6 a day, 10/- a week, 15/- a fortnight, 25/- a month. Bank Holiday weeks, Easter, Whitsuntide, August and Christmas 3/- a day, 15/- a week, 20/- a fortnight and 25/- a month. Sunday play was now permitted.

It was reported in February 1946 that the Ilkley Moor Golf, which was disbanded a few years ago owing to financial difficulties, was to be restarted. Ilkley Urban District Council had promised to help a local committee to get the club going again.

Nothing further was found on the Ilkley Moor Golf Club.


Ilkley Moor Golf Club. The Course and Clubhouse.

Ilkley Moor Golf Club. The clubhouse. Author's Collection.


Ilkley Moor Golf Club, West Yorkshire. Location of the former course.

Location of the Ilkley course. Grid reference SE10285,46870, co-ordinates 410285,446870.



Ilkley Moor Golf Club had disappeared by 1951.