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Why You Should Play Howley Hall Golf Club

By: | Wed 15 Nov 2023

The Yorkshire area is brimming with fabulous golf courses and Howley Hall is certainly a member of that impressive group.

Based on the outskirts of Leeds, only minutes from J27 of the M62, lies this terrific parkland setting that is easily accessible from major motorways.

A historic facility, golf has been played at Howley Hall since their establishment back in 1900, which is a testament to the product and friendly service that every golfer receives.

The Course

Howley Hall

The iconic Dr Alister MacKenzie - who was responsible for Augusta National - was involved in the design of Howley Hall Golf Club.

Since opening more than 120 years ago, the club has become home to the PGA Yorkshire Open Championship - which was won by Daniel Gavins and Marcus Armitage previously.

The golf course extends to 6,500 yards from the white tees and boasts a par of 71.

This magnificent parkland provides a stern test for golfers of all abilities, which is why it’s so regarded in the local area.

As you can imagine, there have been several changes since its inception, but the charm has remained.

Howley Hall is a great option for societies, and the club can offer society packages from as little as £25pp.  

Due to the popularity of the club, there are several open events in 2024 that may pique the interest of talented golfers.

The Ladies Texas Scramble will take place on 29 April, with the Senior’s May Open following on 13 May.

The Gents Open 4BBB will happen on 23 May. July will see the Mixed Open take place on 7 July, whilst Howley Hall will host the Ladies Am-Am on 5 August.

The Gents Open 4 Man Team is happening 18 August, before two final events in September - the Senior’s September Open on 2 September and the Gents Open 4BBB on 13 September.

Howley Hall

Golf Shop & Performance Centre

Whilst Howley Hall is home to a brilliant golf course, that is not the extent of their services as a well-stocked pro shop and a modern performance centre is also present.

The state-of-the-art performance centre is a wonderful facility that is used frequently and has been fitted with industry-leading TrackMan technology.

Custom fittings often take place and their team of PGA professionals are always available to help golfers unlock lower scores.

You should recognise the performance centre as Golfshake’s Equipment Expert, Ryan Rastall, is also the Head Professional at the club.

Howley Hall was awarded Pro Shop of The Year in 2019 from TGI, and golfers can find anything from equipment, apparel and snacks readily available.

Ryan Rastall Howley Hall

Q&A With Ryan Rastall

For someone who doesn't know too much about Howley, how would you describe the golf course and the challenge it provides?

"Howley Hall is a very challenging course and really tests every facet of a player's game. This is one of the reasons we have developed some exceptional players over the years. Howley Hall is not the longest course in the area but presents a stern test off the tee with some very tight driving holes and the relatively small greens make approach play equally difficult."

With regards to visitors and societies, what can they expect from their experience at Howley?

"All visitors will receive an extremely warm welcome from all of our staff and enjoy the very best of Yorkshire hospitality, whether enjoying a drink at the bar, a meal in our clubhouse and lounge or pitting their wits against the fantastic golf course. We also have an award winning golf shop and a state of the art indoor performance centre for those wishing to improve their game or indulge in some retail therapy."

Reviewers on Golfshake have repeatedly mentioned how good the condition of the course is. What has made that possible?

"We have a brilliant greens team led by our Head Greenkeeper Kevin O’Neil. The club has always been well regarded in the area and has been home of The Yorkshire Open for a number of years. Kevin and his team have done an exceptional job since he took over and improved upon the already excellent reputation."

Howley is renowned for having one of the best finishing stretches in Yorkshire. What makes those holes special?

"The last four holes here at Howley Hall can make or break your round. The 15th is our stroke index 1 hole and at a formidable 461 yards, is a tough hole for the average golfer to reach in two. It is also fraught with danger as a number of bunkers force players to hit an accurate drive and the green is also surrounded by four formidable bunkers.

"The 16th is a really good par 5 and only the very longest of hitters are able to reach the green in two. The shot into the green is also exceptionally difficult with a real emphasis on distance control as there is danger all around the green, in particular short, where a sleeper-clad ditch is waiting to gobble up any tentative approach.

"The 17th is another testing par 4 that borders the remaining ruins of the original Howley Hall that you will see just into the trees on the left of the hole. The green is actually situated on the site of the old croquet lawn of the16th century manor house so at nearly 400 years old, you could say it is one of the oldest greens in the game.

"The 18th hole at Howley Hall is a serious par 3 that demands a really solid long iron or hybrid for most golfers. At 196 yards from the back tee, this scenic hole has the clubhouse behind and plays downhill. Don’t let that fool you though, this is a great hole and a potential card wrecker."

Beyond the course and the condition, what makes Howley such an attractive golf club for people in the Leeds area and beyond?

"The golf shop, teaching facilities and ambiance within the clubhouse all add to making this club extremely friendly as well as a destination to improve your game."

How did you first become involved at Howley and can you describe your centre there and the work done by you and the team on a daily basis?

"I first started working at Howley Hall in 2015 under the previous Head Professional. Since I took over in June 2016, I have developed the golf shop and retail offering by introducing new brands and massively improving the aesthetics of the shop. The indoor performance centre has had a major facelift and continues to be updated every year with input from many of the fantastic brands that we work with. My team and I work hard to give the best customer service we can and believe that our knowledge, facilities and attention to detail far outweigh many of our competitors and particularly some of the ‘big box’ retailers out there. From a coaching and custom fitting perspective, the TrackMan technology we use gives the player the confidence to play their best golf as well as elevating the service level further with the ability to send swing videos, reports and fitting data to customers in real time."

More recently, we have seen the launch of the Howley Hall of Fame, featuring Danny Denison, Ben Hutchinson, Marcus Armitage and Daniel Gavins. Tour winners among that group. What is their relationship with the club and how much pride does the membership and staff take in their successes?

"We are extremely proud of all of them! As well as the names you have mentioned, an absolute legend here at the club is Paul Carrigill who played on tour for many years including five appearances in the Open Championship and in recent years he has been a prominent rules official on the DP World Tour. All of our current and former players have an amazing relationship with the club and are very supportive of many events here at Howley Hall. They all visit regularly and practice here at the club when they are home."

What are the benefits for a club like Howley to have tour professionals so closely affiliated with it?

"I think it really elevates the club! There aren’t many clubs that have two players teeing it up every week on the DP World Tour! These guys have learnt, developed and refined their games here at Howley Hall which is testament to the members, volunteers, professionals and club officials that have had an input in their success along the way and I hope we keep developing players for years to come. This club is a real sleeping giant and punches well above its weight in many areas which makes me so proud to be the PGA Head Professional here."

If you would like more information about Howley Hall, you can visit their website here

What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

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