Bingley St Ives
By Dave Tindall and Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 03/03/15 3:08pm
We visit Bingley St Ives Golf Club in West Yorkshire - a former Euro Tour venue and home to Billy Foster.
We visit Bingley St Ives Golf Club in West Yorkshire - a former Euro Tour venue and home to Billy Foster
A guide to the quality of a course can usually be gained from looking at the list of winners there.
So it speaks volumes for Bingley St Ives that when it hosted the European Tour's Lawrence Batley International on three occasions in the 1980s the winners were major stars Sandy Lyle (twice) and Nick Faldo.
Another giveaway to the West Yorkshire course's quality is found when delving further into the history of the club.
During it's early development one of the designers was Dr Alister MacKenzie - the great architect whose works include Augusta National.
Today's Bingley remains a real challenge as it winds between parkland, woodland and moorland and we found it a hugely welcoming venue when visiting the course in August.
Our round at Bingley
This picturesque layout provides the perfect blend of risk and reward and we'd advise you to place plenty of will-power in your bag in order to come out of the round unscathed.
We got burnt on more than one occasion as tempting tee and pin positions lured us in but that is all part of the beauty of this quaint countryside challenge.
Mostly, there is plenty of margin for error off the tee with spacious fairways widening as you make your way out onto the open part of the course. But the slippery, undulating greens take some acclimatising to.
The toughest stretch comes around the turn when missing the fairway really can be penal. Pars are good here, even the odd bogey.
Favourite hole: 18th: Par 3, 184 yards
It can split opinion but the signature 18th hole that takes you back to the clubhouse has a stunning view over the Yorkshire countryside. The green is situated well below your feet, guarded by a nasty bunker to the left. It looks a small target when you take aim although, on this occasion, we held our nerve and rewarded ourselves with a trip to the 19th....
No visit to Bingley would be complete without a visit to Billy's 19th - named after caddie legend and local hero Billy Foster who calls this club home.
This bar is crammed full of memorabilia gathered by Billy over the years during his time with some of the game's greats.
It features the bib Billy wore when looping for Tiger Woods at the 2005 Presidents Cup, a personal message to Bingley from the great Seve Ballesteros and also Tour bags donated by Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.