Rudding Park is on target to achieve their ambition of becoming the premier golfing academy in the North. With an 18-hole championship course, stunning six-hole short course, state-of-art academy and award-winning four-star hotel and luxury holiday lodges at Follifoot, just outside Harrogate, many consider Rudding Park are already there.
Rudding is independently owned by Simon Mackaness and his family and over the last 30 years, a comprehensive programme of improvement and redevelopment saw the opening of Rudding Holiday Park in 1978, the renovation of Rudding Park House in 1987 and the subsequent opening of the hotel in 1997.
Now work has started on a new £8 million extension to the hotel and another nine holes which will bring the superb Hawtree course up to 27 holes. Work has started on the new nine with two new holes already built in mature woodland in the middle of the course.
The extension will take the hotel up to 84 rooms and provide a new spa and gym and the hotel, which has won numerous awards, recently picked up the “Yorkshire Life Hotel of the Year” while the quality of the golf course has seen the addition of nearly 200 new members while many other clubs are struggling to maintain their list.
The Hawtree course, six-hole Repton lay-out and academy have attracted several groups for coaching including Yorkshire Boys, the England North Under 16 girls as well as the national girls under 16 squad while Lee Westwood also brought his golf academy to Rudding Park in July for a masterclass.
Two of the planned new nine holes are ready and the first is a cracking 420-yard par 4 with a tree-lined drive and a stream at 200 yards across the fairway while at the hole there is a stream behind and two bunkers.
The second new hole is an uphill par 3 of around 150 yards with a heavily-bunkered green. The work, which is being carried out in-house, continues on the other new holes and the rationale behind the first two is that if you play one of them from the back of the 5th it gives a loop of nine going through to 14 and if both are played together, the development of the other seven holes can go ahead without disrupting play over 18 holes.
The bonus is that the construction of the rest of the holes can be phased and Martin Hawtree has also designed the new nine as the original 18 which are a real test at 6,883 yards off the back tees, 6,546 off the yellows and 5,823 of the ladies tees while there is also provision to play it at 5,679 off the blue tees.
Water comes into play on ten holes and the 4th might well be considered the signature hole at 442 yards with water menacing the approach, but I particularly like the par-3 5th across the lake. Interestingly, it’s the first hole with a bunker and there are only 20 bunkers in all.
Thirteen is also a terrific hole and at just 341 yards proves a par 4 doesn’t have to be long to be difficult. There’s a good finish with a short par 5 at 16, a lovely driving hole at 17 and a strong par 4 of 414 yards at 18.
The 18-hole course has its own attractive clubhouse and the Repton six-hole course is attached to the academy and driving range and is certainly worth a visit because this is no pitch-and-putt course as its been constructed to USGA specifications.
It has one parkland hole, two woodland and two water holes and an island signature hole – a replica of the notorious 17th at Sawgrass. It can be played in only an hour and it’s huge fun.
The state-of- the-art academy adjoining has an 18-bay driving range with two indoor swing studios equipped with the latest video technology, an indoor Tomi putting laboratory and a fantastic rotunda clubhouse and pro shop.
Two-time Walker Cup captain and PowerPlay Golf creator Peter McEvoy recently visited Repton to showcase the two flag ‘risk and reward’ game as the North Yorkshire resort has been chosen as an official PowerPlay Golf venue.
In PowerPlay Golf, players can choose to play to the ‘easy’ white flag or the more difficult ‘Skull ‘n’ Crossbones’ black flag which is placed in a difficult location. If a birdie or better is scored when playing to the black flag, double Stableford Points are earned.