Ganton Golf Club

The bunkers are real tests that punish. One of only a few clubs that has hosted the Curtis, Walker and Ryder Cup.

Ganton Golf Club

North Yorkshire, England

Overview

Being a championship course, the fairways at Ganton Golf Club can be narrow for the higher handicapper.

Harry Vardon and Ted Ray were both professionals here.

Ganton Golf Club was the club which gave Harry Colt his first paid commission.

Tom Doak recommends golf architecture students pay special attention to the bunkering.

Tom Doak recommends the two-shot holes all as standouts.

Ganton Golf Club earned two 7's and two 8's on the Doak Scale - the same as West Sussex and Turnberry Ailsa!

Frank Pennink wrote that no other course could be compared with Ganton with the exception of The Addington New.

Gary Player felt it the only inland course capable of hosting the Open Championship.


Golf Course Review

Ganton Golf Club is the singular exception to the overused descriptor that a course could possibly be an 'inland links'. Frank Pennink wrote: "I do not know whether I should describe Ganton as a course or links because the golf it provides is really seaside golf play nine miles inland. Whichever is correct no course no links is it's superior in playing conditions."

Ganton Golf Club's Distinguished Professionals

During the summer of 1891, Tom Chisholm and Robert Bird (the first club professional) laid out the original course. Harry Vardon was professional of the club from 1896 to 1903. During his tenure, he would bring 3 Claret Jugs back to Ganton Golf Club. In addition, Open Champion Ted Ray served the club as professional.

Harry Vardon Ganton Workshop Clubhouse 1899

Ganton Golf Club is an Impeccable Host

Harry Vardon played two infamous matches at Ganton. The first, in 1896, against JH Taylor and in 1899, against Willie Park Jr. The latter came to be known as the Driver v Putter Test Match. Legend has it that Park Jr had neglected to play a practice round on account of practicing his short game. He was overcome by the challenge of the back tees placed by Vardon which played to his strength.

The club has also hosted the Ryder Cup in 1949, the Curtis Cup in 2000, and the Walker Cup in 2003. The Amateur Championship or Brabazon Trophy was contested here in 1964, 1977, 1991 and will be again in 2021. Ganton, Royal Birkdale, Muirfield, and Royal Lytham & St Annes are the only four clubs in this prestigious group, with Ganton being the only inland course.

The Only Constant is Change at Ganton

With a pedigree as rich as Ganton's you could excuse it for being resistant to change. After all, there is literally no equal to it with regards to the tournaments it has hosted and perhaps those who have had a hand in making it what it is. With names such as Colt, Braid, MacKenzie, Fowler, Simpson, and Hutchinson all improving the course with each successive change, Ganton is not a club that rests on its laurels.

The course was reviewed in 1899 by Golf Illustrated. The course was described as a fair course, full of traps but with all the danger clearly seen from the tee. There was nothing tricky about the design and the putting greens were described as large, well-kept, and true. The turf was described as the sort you would find on the seaside links. 'Pandy', a large bunker, came into play on the 16th and 17th and it was said it would not shame a seaside course of the sandiest description.

Pandy Bunker 1913 Ganton GC

Chisholm, Dunn, and Vardon at Ganton Golf Club

The course was originally laid out by Tom Chisholm and improvements were made by prolific Victorian golf course architect, Tom Dunn. The greens were enlarged and improved by Harry Vardon after he joined the club in 1896. The farmer who leased the land to the club objected to bunkers being dug so holes 7, 8, and 9 had none.

Herbert Fowler at Ganton Golf Club

By 1908, Herbert Fowler was invited to address the bunkering and to add some length. A new hole, the then 17th of 220 yards, was his favourite. It was noted the course had over 50 bunkers in all when Herbert Fowler was done.

Alister MacKenzie at Ganton Golf Club

Just four years later, in 1912, Alister MacKenzie made suggestions to improve the course. He was unhappy with every green with the exception of the 17th as they were not sufficiently undulating. The same criticism was leveled against the fairways. The approaches to the greens were not firm enough and the Fowler's bunkers had been placed in penal locations as opposed to strategic locations.

He specifically remarked that the bunkers should have been placed so that the tee shot would have to be placed in order to open up the green for the approach. He also wanted to include heroic carries but also provide alternative routes for the weaker player.

Ganton Golf Club Reviews

Take Sean Arble's tour of Ganton Golf Club.

Ganton Golf Club Photography

Purchase Kevin Murray's photography of Ganton Golf Club.

Ranked30/100in GB&I
Colourised portrait of James Braid.Evalu18

Featured Architect: James Braid

James Braid moved very little earth due to technological constraints. Minimal artificial features are present. Putting greens must be well guarded, often by dykes, directly in front of greens. Green size is governed by the length of the approach. Alternative tees are provided to allow play in all conditions. Bunkering...

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Contact Details

North Yorkshire, YO12 4PA, England

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Call now: +1 843 968 0991

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Colourised portrait of James Braid.Evalu18

Featured Architect: James Braid

James Braid moved very little earth due to technological constraints. Minimal artificial features are present. Putting greens must be well guarded, often by dykes, directly in front of greens. Green size is governed by the length of the approach. Alternative tees are provided to allow play in all conditions. Bunkering...

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