Horsley Lodge is a proprietary golf club, hotel and restaurant owned by brothers Richard and Malcolm Salt. The familys’ pride in their product, developed over 26 years, ensures a continued investment into all the facilities, where ensuring the customer’s satisfaction is their primary aim.
The brother’s grandfather, Harold W. Salt, pioneered the creation of Mickelover Golf Club in 1924, and it was their father John H. Salt whose original idea of creating a course at Horsley some sixty five years later, enabled the brothers to become pioneers of their own in the construction of the course at Horsley during the late 80’s, along with help from sister Fiona in the clubs formative years.
There is a lot of history surrounding the lodge. Rykneild Street is a Roman Road on which Horsley Lodge sits. This road from York to Exeter (mostly the A38) is today covered in tarmac for all but 2 miles , the very part beneath Horsley Lodge. The road can be seen in the streams, and down the 4th fairway when the ground is dry.
The remains of Horsley Castle are situated half a mile south of Horsley Lodge on a spur of rock 1000 yards away from the Roman Rykneild Street. There is nothing much left of the castle apart from a few sections of the North and West walls. Much of the castle was taken away to build Kedleston Hall in 1760 and in all possibility a lot of the walls around Horsley Lodge were made from castle stone.
Horsley goes back to the time of the Doomsday Survey which states the manor of Horsley was held by Ralph de Buron.
A Royal Visit: King John arrived at Horsley Castle on Sunday 22nd August 1204. In those days the King paid for his stay in wine, and Horsley recieved 3 tuns in total. In 1215 William De Ferrars was granted the castle at Horsley so he could place his wife there while he went on a crusade with the King. He ended up capturing castles at Duffield and Bolsover too, but kept his wife at Horsley because it was “better appointed for the accomodation of a lady”.
Various Barons and Knights looked after The Castle and its lands, of which Horsley Lodge was part of the estate. The hotel rooms are named after these various custodians.
Horsley Lodge was originally built by The Earl of Stainsby as late as 1863, originally for his son as a wedding present. The son never took up residence of his wonderful gift. His new wife can’t have failed to like the view but it was rented out until 1986 when John Salt bought it as a farm in an auction held at the Rose and Crown. The story goes Mr Salt had reached his maximum bid when a friend kicked his chair from behind; taking this to be a sign to go once more he did and bought Horsley Lodge. Turning round the friend said he was “merely uncrossing his leg” and did not mean to kick John into his purchase. As a family, we’ve only been lucky enough to share in its history for the past 30 years. During this time we have restored the property by converting it to a hotel and turned the undulating land into an award winning golf course.
It was a bold move back in 1988 when John Salt, a local farmer, decided to diversify into golf and design a golf course on his land. John had the idea whilst walking the land with a retired golf professional, Bill White who suggested the lie of the land would form a great golf course. He told the golf professional, Bill, to go and design one.
Bill arrived back the next day with a design sketched out on the inside of a cornflake box and the idea was born. It was John’s sons Richard and Malcolm who took up the challenge and over the next two years, created a course which originally was to be a good value pay and play. However, the demand from local golfers to become members of a club on the newly constructed course, led the brothers to form Horsley Lodge Golf Club which opened in April 1990. There was not much there in those early days, no clubhouse, no trees, no car park. Not to mention there was no electricity, water, gas or sewerage!
The members had nine holes to play on in the first year and a driving range to practice on. The next phase was to construct a clubhouse from the old manor house which stood in the middle of the estate. Once refurbished, the mayor at the time opened the clubhouse in October 1990, and the next challenge then was to get the next 18 holes ready for play in April the following year.
Another opening ceremony on April 1st 1991 saw the first 18 hole competition on the new Horsley Lodge course. During the following years the club gained popularity as a good golf establishment and a great place to eat and drink; a reputation which has grown over the intervening years. A radical move came in the late 1990s when the original greens proved to be not robust enough for modern golf and were all ripped up to be replaced by big modern United States Golf Association sand-based greens. Re- designed by Peter McEvoy the former World Champion golfer, this move then promoted the club to the higher echelons of Derbyshire golf.
Today the club still boasts a full complement of over 600 members, and the course is unrecognisable from those early days, with mature trees over 40 feet high and well contoured and manicured greens and fairways. The layout remains however, almost identical to the original “cornflake box” one. The club sits proudly on top of most golf rankings in the area, whilst over the years the Horsley Lodge name has become well trusted for dining out at the restaurant or a prestigious venue for holding weddings and events. The hotel has grown from just four rooms in the main house to twelve individual themed rooms to stay in, plus two cottages on site which double up as honeymoon suites.
Still under the same ownership, Horsley Lodge continues to thrive in an ever competitive world of golf and hospitality.
A restaurant serves local produce and the hotel with fourteen unique bedrooms, house furniture that sits well with the history of Horsley Lodge.
Please take the time to explore the rest of our website, we think you will be impressed by the range of quality services we offer at a competitive price and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
Richard and Malcolm Salt | Owner/Founders