DESPITE the latest lockdown and course closure, Skipton Golf Club says it enters the New Year in good heart and is quietly confident that once restrictions are relaxed it will quickly get back into the swing of things both on and off the course, while continuing to follow play safe, stay safe guidelines in place at all times.

Club chairman Jim Fox said: “Fortunately, we find ourselves in a reasonably secure financial position, which gives us the flexibility to make some further investment in both the club and its facilities.”

One major new development in the pipeline this year is an extension to the pro’s shop to create a new junior academy, incorporating a swing studio and golf simulator, a forward-looking initiative made possible partly by the generosity of long-serving member David Rasche.

This is in memory of his late father, Brian, who passed away in 2016 aged 92. Brian was a member of the club for over 60 years with half of that on the committee or board.

He was a scratch team player, captain twice and president, as well as supervising the building of the new clubhouse. In addition, Brian was always very generous in support of the junior section and teams.

David is a highly successful businessman who was brought up in Skipton, attended Ermysted’s Grammar School and now lives in Ilkley.

For the past nine years he has organised a charity golf day at the club for the On Course Foundation, which helps seriously injured veterans rehabilitate through golf. It has raised some £170,000 to date.

The club is also pursuing a programme of continuous improvements to the famously scenic 18-hole course, which, due to the Environment Agency’s Flood Alleviation Scheme for the town, was remodelled in 2018, Skipton Golf Club’s milestone 125th anniversary year.

It represented one of the single most important landmarks in the club’s long and proud history.

Extensive work included the provision of two brand-new par 4 holes, creating a par 71 course with three par 3s, 13 par 4s and two par 5s, offering challenges to all standards of golfers.

In fact, a new slope rating under the World Handicap System ranks Skipton as one of most challenging courses in the region and among top 5% in Yorkshire.

For their outstanding contribution to the course remodelling, Skipton’s head greenkeeper Ian Brown and his team won through to the finals of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) 2019 Awards.

Since its launch the new-look course has won high praise from both members and visitors alike, with membership continuing to rise and now standing at 440-strong across all categories.

However, in a bid to cater for every type and ability of golfer and provide ‘enjoyable and affordable golf for all,’ Skipton has redefined its membership categories and subscription rates with a view to more effectively meeting the needs of existing and new members, and social golfers, as well as making the club in general more competitive.

As a direct result, two new membership categories have been introduced, including weekday and six-day flexible options, plus an extended membership offer to new members. Full details are at

Restrictions permitting, a full programme of golf competitions for members, along with open competitions and social dates, has been planned. It includes a brand-new annual highlight, The Dales Trophy, a 36-hole amateur scratch tournament, due to be run over two days in July.

Scratch team member Chris Payne, recently elected to the board at Skipton – he has taken over marketing and communications responsibilities from Steve Clayton, now chairman of the handicap committee – said: “It promises to grow into a fantastic profile-raising event for the club.

"Our aim is to attract 145 of the top amateur men’s and ladies’ talent across the UK to compete in an event we hope to develop into a prestigious date in the UK golf diary – one of the first gender-equal scratch amateur events in the golfing calendar.” Entries are open via the website.

The club continues to run thriving senior and junior sections, promoting the latter in particular, with young up and coming golfers of all ages and abilities seen to represent the very future of the club itself.

Golf tuition packages for both beginners and improvers remain available through Skipton’s long-standing professional Peter Robinson.

Both men’s captain Ian Sewell and ladies captain Ros Moloney remain upbeat about future prospects post-lockdown.

Sewell, who has raised £2,000-plus for his chosen charity, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said: “I continually witness extraordinary enthusiasm from the people who care about Skipton Golf Club.

"I can only see good for the future as the club goes from strength to strength.”

Moloney, who has netted over £1,000 for her chosen local charity 'ThisIsLuke', said: “The optimism and positivity that has always been present at the golf club has helped and is still helping us through these difficult times.”