History of Ben Rhydding Golf Club
The original Ben Rhydding Golf Course was built between 1885 and 1890 as part of a colossal Victorian hotel, founded on the craze for spa water treatment, or hydrotherapy, which was regarded as a cure for all ailments. It followed the establishment of the White Wells Bath House on Ilkley Moor in1793 and is part of the arc of spa wells that centres on the famous Royal Baths in Harrogate.
Hamer Stansfield, Mayor of Leeds at the time, was so convinced that bathing at White Wells had improved his health that he formed the Hydropathic Company and built the ‘Hydro’ hotel near the Cow and Calf rocks. He also developed the Ben Rhydding railway station in the village of Wheatley on the recently opened line from Leeds to serve staff and visitors to the hotel.
As the boom in spa tourism died down towards the end of the 19th century, the owners of the Ben Rhydding Hydro built the golf course as an alternative attraction, and by 1900 the hotel’s name had been changed to the Ben Rhydding Golf Hotel. The hotel seems to have prospered up until the Second World War when it was taken over by the Wool Control Board. The hotel did no reopen after the war and the building was demolished in 1955. Happily, the golf course remained, and following a public meeting held at the Wheatley Hotel in 1947, Ben Rhydding Golf Club was formed. In the 1960s, new houses sprung up below the course, many built with the stones of the demolished hotel.