IT’S likely there won’t be any bells and whistles sounded this year to mark the 125th anniversary of the founding of Settle and Giggleswick Golf Club.

Instead it will be remembered as the year coronavirus put all activities in lockdown for three months and golfers could only dream of getting back on the fairway.

Honorary Secretary Peter Johnson explains: “The club has enjoyed a rich and chequered history and its 125th year is no exception. With coronavirus hitting hard right at the beginning of the season, fearing the worst for the club, members had to dig deep in their pockets and rallied round to support their beloved golf course.

“The first restrictions were lifted in mid-May and members could play on the course. This was a fantastic relief for all golf club members. However the next step was a bit of a surprise. The weather was kind, the health specialists and government were advocating outdoor exercise and new members started to make enquiries. “Golf has always been great exercise and is a perfect game for good mental health and general wellbeing. Taking on over 60 new members in the last month is an unprecedented experience for the club and new enquires are still coming in.

“It appears that every cloud has a silver lining.”

The Settle and Giggleswick Golf Club was formed on Wednesday, October 16, 1895. The opening was marked with a match between a Doctor Thomson and Tom Vardon. Tom was the brother of six times Open Champion Harry Vardon who popularised the overlapping grip known as the ‘Vardon Grip’.

During the early part of the twentieth century the club endured some hard times and has nearly closed on a number of occasions. Indeed during the Second World War it was only kept open by Harold Lambert, a member who donated twenty-five pounds per year throughout the war to cover the club’s rent.

Harold went on to be club secretary for 49 years. By the sixties the club’s fortunes started to pick up. The course has constantly been remodelled and changed over the years to provide what is now an excellent nine-hole course with one of the best opening par three holes in North Yorkshire.

Celebrating 125 years of glorious golfing history Settle and Giggleswick Golf Club commenced its opening drive-in competition on Sunday.

Starting the season and opening the competition were lady captain Christine Mercer, senior’s captain Mike Noble and club president Ray Jones. All three hitting good straight drives splitting the fairway and the delayed season got underway. With tee times full virtually all day and the course in pristine condition the scoring was competitive.

The winner playing four shots below his handicap was Mike Elstub, card count-backs separated the next three players with Ben Terry in second place, Mike Harrop in third and Simon Rice-Birchall in fourth place.

This nine-hole course nestles in a bowl at the foot of Giggleswick Scar and is the source of Tems Beck which is a tributory of the River Ribble.

Bunkerless it may be, however the course is protected by streams, trees, crags and traditional dry stone walls.

The outstanding opening hole, which also serves as the tenth, provides a wonderful start to your round.This is followed by four ‘flat’ holes in the bottom of the valley where deep streams criss cross the course.

Alternate tees are used to create a varied experience between the first and second nine holes. The four ‘hilly’ holes on higher ground provide a change in terrain and bring an interest to the course that should not be missed.

The course consists of:

Hole 1 Quarry - Par 3

A straight drive over the 160 yards of ‘carry’ will land your ball on the slope which should feed it nicely on to the putting surface. However, the prevailing wind from in front and left can easily catch your ball.

Hole 2 Catteral Corner - Par 4

The fairway has been moved to the right. From the tee, your ideal line is the centre of the fairway between the trees. The beck which runs down the middle of the fairway up to the corner of the green is the challenge for your 2nd shot:

Hole 3 Coffin Wood - Par 4

From the tee, your line is the corner of the left to right dog-leg. Longer hitters may be tempted to cut the corner, driving over the wall towards the crow’s nest but should be aware of the trees and the internal OOB down the right hand side.

Hole 4 Tems Beck - Par 4

A straightforward left to right dog-leg offers a good birdie opportunity if played well but presents similar hazards to the previous hole.

Hole 5 Dry Tarn - Par 4

The cross beck is waiting to swallow your drive.

Hole 6 Scar View - Par 4

The landing area from off the tee is very wide but the ideal spot is on top of the hill from where the green is clearly seen.

Hole 7 Huntworth - Par 4

The approach shot is over a farm track and stream which widens into a pool directly in front of the two-tier green.

Hole 8 Buck Haw Brow - Par 3

A par 3 and stroke index 17 & 18 should not deceive you! The uphill green is difficult to hit.

Hole 9 Craven Fault - Par 5

A straight drive over the marker post should get you off to a good start. The ideal way to find the green is to keep to the left hand side, parallel to the road, but there is a cross beck at the bottom, 150 yards from the flag.