Originally owned by the Blayds family in the mid 18th Century, Oulton Hall is a stately home with extensive grounds and a rich and interesting history.
The first house was significantly damaged by fire in 1850 and Sydney Smyke was employed to design a new Hall. Later, the building was used as a hospital during the First World War and then as a mental institution by the county council until 1971. De Vere Hotels acquired the lease in 1991 and has spent some £20 million transforming the Hall into one of the most luxurious hotels in the north of England.
Designed by Dave Thomas, the 27-hole golf complex at Oulton Hall plays across the landscaped parkland that surrounds the hotel.
The Calverley course, with views over the surrounding hills and dales, is in a peaceful setting as the fairways wend through the trees across rolling terrain.
With the five-star hotel offering opulent accommodation, fine dining and a highly rated spa, Oulton Hall is a superb destination for a luxury golfing break.
Toughest hole: 16th (Calverley). A tree-lined hole of 397 yards with a narrow landing area, you must decide whether to be aggressive from the tee. Hit driver and you’ll be left with a short iron in. But, the trees will affect anything off-line.
Best par 3: 11th (Calverley). At 192 yards and played into the prevailing wind, you’ll be going at this green with a long iron or hybrid club. The ball will kick towards the centre of the putting surface if it lands on the bank left or long.
Course strategy: Fairways and greens” is an old saying but it rings true when you play at Oulton Hall. Don’t be enticed to ‘let rip’ with the driver on every hole, if you keep the ball on the fairway there’s always a good chance of making par or better. The success of your round will depend on the par 3s. Make par on them and you’ll be fine.
James Whittaker – Professional
Address: Rothwell Lane, Oulton, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS26 8HN
T: 0113 201 4477
Stats: Calverley – par 71, sss 71, 6,482 yards; Hall – par 36, sss 36, 3,300 yards
GF: From £60
Best day to play: Any day, there are no restrictions
Weekends: Anytime, but play after 4pm from £20
Course legend: Bruce Grobbelaar plays his golf here
Top tipple: Pint of Black Sheep (brewed locally in Masham)
Chef’s recommendation: The Claret Burger
Review: I played Oulton Hall on a rain-dogged Saturday morning in August. On such grey mornings, playing golf can be a rather trying experience, but thanks to the course I had an enjoyable game.
Indeed, it’s the nature of the challenge that lies at the heart of Oulton Hall’s charm. Relatively forgiving off the tee it gives you the chance to enjoy the sweeping views across the Yorkshire countryside without feeling your score is under constant threat.
From start to finish it presents a subtle challenge requiring a sound strategy and strict control.
If you’re looking for somewhere to practise, receive lessons or get custom-fitted, the Nike golf academy is a great facility with absolutely everything you’ll need to fine-tune your game.