Up-and-down the country there’s only really a handful of golf courses that you would honestly categorise at prestigious. St Andrews, Royal Birkdale, Royal St Georges to name a few. Ganton is certainly a course that can be discussed in the same breath as these. Ranked Number 9 in the U.K.’s top courses, and having held the Ryder Cup the Curtis Cup and the Walker cup, the club has some real pedigree.
First opened in 1891 as Scarborough Golf Club the course was soon put on the map by the great Harry Vardon, the then captain. The course continued to develop and change, with the likes of Harry Colt, Alister McKenzie, and Tom Simpson all making their mark on it. That was until the late 1930s, since the course has been left pretty much alone in its design. To get an idea of how highly regarded this club is, just check out the long list of competitions it has held over the years on their website. The standouts being the 1954 Ryder cup as well as the Curtis and Walker cups at the turn of the century.
When you arrive you instantly realise that you are in a world where golf is changing and rules are constantly being relaxed, Ganton have taken the approach of sticking to their traditions. Myself lefty and Spence found this out straight away. Spence particularly being clad head to toe in Adidas golf gear, he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the club house, instead he was banished to the patio. A long debate, about how long, long socks should be, ensued. Gantons policy of ‘tailored shorts may be worn but only with single colour knee length socks’ might catch a few out. This meant on a baking hot summers day Spence was forced to wear trousers. At least his weren’t made of thick wool like mine. Ball management was the order of the day, both on and off the fairways!
We did receive a very warm welcome at the club, both by the Secretary Richard Penley-Martin and the Caddiemaster Paul Harrison. Richard sat with us as we enjoyed our coffee and explained the direction the club was going in. Keeping it as traditional as possible whilst also keeping the course in top condition. The main focus over the next few years being the completion of the renovation of the 100+ bunkers.
The Course itself has an inland links feel to it, fast, sandy and gently undulating fairways, weave around the gorse and heather. This is explained by the fact that thousands of years ago the area would actually have been a beach. One of the standout features of the course are the bunkers, put simply, you will end up in one. Placed perfectly around the course to catch anything slightly wayward, they are the main obstacle to try and avoid, and, when you first go in one, you’ll want to avoid them even more! The vast majority have been revamped recently and the sand is perfect to play out of. But the depth of them is just something else.
The sand base of the course means that there isn’t really a perfect window to play Ganton in, it’s as good both in the summer and the winter. So look out for their winter offers. It might not be the cheapest round you play, but pound to quality wise, I can’t think there’s anywhere better.
Our thanks to all at Ganton Golf Course for a great days golf.