Hole 1 – 325 Yards – Par 4

The first hole has remained much the same since its creation. It runs directly west and so is against the prevailing wind. It is played along a ridge parallel with Hawksworth Lane on the right. Out of bounds is the whole way down the right side of the hole, but this is reasonably well away from the straight line. The green is just visible from the tee. Willow Lane, which is in a dip must be carried from the tee, but it is only 170 yards away. There are two bunkers, one left and one right to catch an errant tee shot. From Willow Lane the fairway runs slightly up until it reaches a brow at which it levels out to the green. A short second follows to the now unsighted green. The green is long, slopes to the left (as does the ground forming the approach to it) and is guarded by two shallow bunkers, one on each side and to the front. There is a line of trees at the back of the green. The hole is essentially a penal one and provides a relatively easy start to the course, something proposed as desirable by many architects, notably Harry Colt.

Hole 2 – 417 Yards – Par 4

There has been little change to hole 2 since 1922. This is played in the same direction as the 1st, but on a bigger scale. Again there is out of bounds all the way down the right, but not particularly close in. There are also trees periodically on the left, especially for the drive. The tee is on a ridge and the drive is across a valley. Again there are two bunkers threatening the drive, the one on the left being slightly further away. Anything short off the tee leaves a long blind second shot. From the tee it is essential to keep to the right side of the fairway as everything slopes to the left. The drive, then, is relatively demanding. The upslope levels out shortly after the bunkers and it is a great advantage to the player to reach this level ground for the sake of a good stance for the second shot. Even from the first part of the level ground, however, the green cannot be seen. A low ridge has to be cleared with the second shot in order to get onto the green which is in a dip beyond. Past the end of the level ground, there is a slope down to the fairly long green. Both the slope and the green fall away quite sharply to the left. The green is open on the right, although the rough grows well in, and the large bunker on the left of the green catches anything not on target. This is the one hole on the course with a completely blind approach shot.

Hole 3 – 155 Yards – Par 3

Hole 3 runs south and requires a tee shot across a dip to a green on the crest of Birkin Hill. The green is most difficult to approach, the entry being through a narrow saddle in a ridge running across the front, though the last few yards to the green are slightly downhill. There are two bunkers on each side of the green and towards the front. Depending on the conditions it can be difficult to judge the length, particularly with the prevailing wind that blows from the right. There is a pond, referred in front of the tee and slightly to the right, but this should not cause any real problems. If the tee shot is long a steep bank falls very sharply away to the left and rear of the green. One particular difficulty on this hole is that the greenside bunkers are raised up. Recovery shots over these bunkers can be very difficult to what is a narrow green, though this is dependent, of course, on the flag position. There is one slight change to the green since the 1922 revision and this is that the green itself has been raised slightly since then. However, this hole is a real link with the past and is to be valued for that reason alone. One final point, the present back tee means that the shot is played over part of the second green.

Hole 4 – 280 Yards – Par 4

The 4th hole also runs south. The tee is elevated. The slope is in the player’s favour and increases through a couple of terraces as the green is approached. A wall on the right, marking the out of bounds boundary of the course, runs the full length of the hole and is quite close in. There are trees adjacent to the wall on the course side the whole way. The first two bunkers, again one on the left and one on the right are no threat at all, but there are three hidden bunkers further on to the left, one of which is next to the green. The tee shot should either be aimed over the right bunker or hit further left with fade. With a good drive, the green is within reach. In any case the second shot is only a short pitch downwards to the large sloping green, but judgment of distance is difficult due to the variable slopes and terraces and the fact that the green slopes down towards the rear. This hole stands as an invitation for players to open their shoulders and drive the green and so have a putt for an eagle, balanced against the real threat posed by the out of bounds to the right. In addition, recovery shots from the two bunkers situated about thirty yards short of the green can be very awkward indeed. So there is an element of strategy and even “risk and reward” involved. Definitely one of Fowler’s trademark holes!

Hole 5 – 461 Yards – Par 4

The 5th hole runs east and so the prevailing wind is behind the player. The hole is a dog leg to the right and tall trees obscure the green if the tee shot is only slightly to the right. The rough encroaches further in on the right and there is also a bunker on that side about fifty yards short of the green at one point and threatening the second shot from that side. The safe line from the tee is to the left side of the fairway. This leaves a longer second, but opens up the green. There are also trees on the left menacing the tee shot. The second shot is slightly uphill to ground that slopes against the player. The green is well guarded by bunkers left and right. Again the approach has a tendency to run the ball down to the right. The green is a very tricky one with a distinct slope down from the left and also from the rear. This hole is a demanding “no-nonsense” par 4, even bearing in mind the prevailing wind, and the green is frequently the scene of three putts.

Hole 6 – 360 Yards – Par 4

The 6th hole turns the player back to the west and so into the prevailing wind. The ladies tee is high and to the right of the 5th green. The present men’s back tee is off to the left of the ladies tee and is relatively low down. This makes the hole a slight dog leg to the left in shape. The fairway is undulating and quite narrow, but a well hit drive will catch a downslope and shorten the approach shot. The tee shot needs to be middle to left, which opens up the green. This is especially so if the flag is on the right of the green, because of the bunker at its right front and the slope of the ground which runs away to the left. There are many more trees down the right, but these are further away. Anything right off the tee brings the green bunker into play and as the green itself slopes right to left makes the second shot that much harder. There is a dip before the green and then a slight upslope and ridge which runs across the entry, making the second shot more difficult. This is compounded further by a piece of rough ground at the front left of the green, which was a bunker at one time. There is out of bounds to the left of the green and slightly to its rear, though it is not close in. Before the latter is reached the ground slopes sharply away. This hole has always been well thought of. It has a considerable degree of subtlety and the first thing for the player to do on reaching the tee is to check where the flag is on the green. The hole is made by the bunker guarding the right front of the green, plus the fact that the land approaching the green runs the ball off to the left.

Hole 7 – 444 Yards – Par 4

The 7th hole runs east and so is favored by the prevailing wind, although the second half of it is slightly uphill. The hole is a dog leg to the left. Willow Lane, which has to be crossed at some point, is 302 yards out from the tee. Out of bounds is to the right for more than the first half of the hole, but it is not unduly close. On the left are two clumps of tall pine trees. The planting of these trees in the early to mid 1950s changed the whole character of this hole, since they were on the correct line of the tee shot at that time. The fairway before Willow Lane slopes down to the right and runs many drives down into the right rough. The best position after the tee shot is in the middle of the fairway, since to be on the left is to be blocked out from the green on the second shot owing to the trees, but it is not easy to gain this position in view of the slope. The second shot, across Willow Lane to the green, must carry a cross bunker in-front of the green. The ground approaching the green also slopes down to the right, so the approach must favour the left side of the green, which also slopes right. The green, which is quite tricky, is guarded by a bunker on the left and two on the right. This is a long and difficult par four, and another “no-nonsense” hole.

Hole 8 – 346 Yards – Par 4

Hole 8 is one of two major changes from Fowler’s original plan for the course. He envisaged four par three holes and this was going to be one. According to the plan, the tee was to be quite some distance on from the 7th green. However, it seems that things were revised and a par 4 was put in its place, to the same green, but from a tee back and to the right of the 7th green. The hole runs in the same direction as the previous hole and is uphill all the way. There is a stone wall marking the out of bounds for the first hundred yards or so. This is quite close in but provides no danger. After the end of the wall there is a line of trees further out on the right, also marking the out of bounds. This is also no particular threat. On the left of the fairway approximately 200 yards from the tee a new bunker has been installed and the player has to decide if this can be carried or play to the right. There is a further bunker to the right of the centre of the fairway. Although the drive is uphill, the prevailing wind is behind, so attention has to be paid to this bunker. The green is guarded by a bunker on the left and one on the right. The latter is closer in and makes it advisable to favor the left side of the fairway on the tee shot so as to get the best approach to the green. There is a lot of room on the right side of the fairway off the tee, but for the reason just stated this is not the best line. The approach to the green must not be too long, as this slightly elevated green is very close to the trees at the back. There is a significant rise at the front of the green, which slopes slightly up to the back for the rest of its course. This green used to be a real McKenzie green, in the sense of being two tiered, but it was altered in the 1960s.

Hole 9 – 491 Yards – Par 5

After the Fowler revision in 1922, a triangular piece of land adjacent to the course was given to the Club by its owner in order to enable a new back tee to be constructed. The gift was probably made in the 1960s. Certainly the change had been made by 1973. The 9th hole goes in a westerly direction and is therefore against the prevailing wind. It has a tee that is placed attractively between a stone wall and a group of trees. The green is visible in the distance perched on a ridge that forms part of Greenhouse Hill. There are trees all the way down the left side of the hole. There is a similar line of trees on the right until about halfway (with out of bounds on the practice ground just to the right of these trees). After this point there are just a few trees, and the later part of the hole has none on the right. The out of bounds referred to is something created very recently and is not particularly close in. The trees give the impression of the tee shot being narrower than it is. This first part of the hole is basically flat, though sloping very gently in the player’s favour. The second shot crosses a dip in the ground and needs to negotiate two potential hazards. The first is the line of three bunkers that have now replaced the large bunker (rather ugly when seen in the photos of that time and not in fact put in by Fowler) that used to cut across the fairway. The second potential hazard is Willow Lane which crosses the fairway at about 425 yards. Shortly after Willow Lane the ground rises up to the plateau green. There used to be bunkers set into the rise at the front left and front right of the green, but the one on the right was removed. The recovery from the remaining bunker is difficult, since it is well below the level of the green, so visibility is not good, and the ball has to be got into the air very quickly. The green is always a difficult target from any distance, especially when the flag is at the front. There is very little margin for error then. Also, it is hog-backed in shape and balls easily run through the green in consequence. The ground beyond the left side of the green falls sharply away and to the right of the green there is a little dip in the ground. The 12th green is also fairly close in on the right. The green is difficult to hold in two shots because of its orientation, and even a pitch from in front and below is demanding.

Hole 10 – 396 Yards – Par 4

Hole 10 is the other major change from Fowler’s provisional plan. He envisaged the tee being to the east of the previous green, and saw this hole as a short par 4 to the present green.  However, at some point the tee was moved back and right across the previous fairway so as to create a longer and more demanding par 4 hole, something which was definitely in place by 1935. The present tee shot crosses the 9th fairway and is threatened by gorse and very rough country to the left and left centre. There is a line of trees on the right, plus the out of bounds on another part of the practice ground to the right of that. As stated earlier this out of bounds is a very new creation and now stretches the whole length of the hole, whereas previously there was only out of bounds from a point on the right just short of and next to the green, where a hedge marks the boundary of the course with some residential housing. The out of bounds next to the practice ground is not close in, but the out of bounds near the green is and constitutes a significant threat on the second shot. The tee shot is slightly uphill onto a flattish area. This hole underwent significant alteration in 2017. In addition to the building of an extended Ladies Tee, there is new bunkering  both on the fairway and around the green. The two new bunkers on the ridge to the left of the fairway should only come into play for the big hitter, but should provide an aiming point for the best approach to  a very long green. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that the orientation of the shot makes aiming difficult. The green is also guarded by a bunker on the right front and one in a similar position on the left. Dependent upon where the flag is situated, this shot can be either semi-blind or totally blind. This hole is a very demanding par 4.

Hole 11 – 307 Yards – Par 4

The tee on hole 11 is an elevated one and built on the ridge to the right of the Clubhouse. There are beautiful views across the valley to Baildon. The hole runs in a south westerly direction. The tee shot is down a slope which then flattens out. Two bunkers, one on the right and one further on down the left, threaten the tee shot. The latter bunker was reduced in size relatively recently and relocated five yards to the right. In addition there are trees quite close in on the right, plus Willow Lane. On the left is a patch of heavy rough, plus a few trees. In favourable conditions a well hit drive may reach the green. If not, the second is a short pitch across mainly level ground to a flat green. There are bunkers to front left and front right of the green, another further on at the right, and a drop at the back. This hole is a real birdie opportunity. It was originally the opening hole in the 1922 layout and conforms to an easy introduction to the course.

Hole 12 – 142 Yards – Par 3

As seen from the left, the 12th green is perched on Greenhouse Hill. This hole goes in the same direction as the previous one. A relatively recent new back tee has been put in. Normally the wind blows up the valley from the right, adding to the difficulty. By looking at the flag on the 9th green, which is situated just behind this green, one can see how strong the wind is. The green is on part of Greenhouse Hill, but the hole is still somewhat downhill. The green lies diagonally across the line of play with two bunkers to the right, one to the left and a fourth one close to the green in front. The latter is well below the hole, making visibility difficult and the need to get the ball up quickly. Between tee and green is a dip in the ground. The ground around the green falls away severely on all sides apart from front right. The sheltered tee makes club selection difficult, but the hole usually plays shorter than expected. This is a rather pretty short hole, the green of which is not an easy target despite the fact that it is usually only a short iron shot.

Hole 13 – 367 Yards – Par 4

Hole 13 goes westward and so is against the prevailing wind. It is basically flat though the early part and slightly in the player’s favour. The tee is slightly elevated. There are trees both left and right. There is a ditch going across the hole in front of the tee, but it is only 130 yards away, so is no problem. The tee shot must avoid a bunker further on at the left and one still further on the right. The second shot is to a long green, which slopes down slightly to the left. The green is guarded by four bunkers, two run diagonally right to left at the approach to the green. Another is tight into the front left of the green and as a consequence makes an approach from the right somewhat easier. This is because there is a shorter carry and more landing ground for the approach from this side. There is a bunker also to the right of the green at its side. There is relatively little trouble at the back of the green. The tee shot tends to make the player favor the left side, since the bunker on that side is less of a threat. However, this is not the correct strategy, which is to flirt with the right hand bunker, since, as stated earlier, the best line in is from the right. So, what looks initially a penal hole does have an element of strategy.

Hole 14 – 167 Yards – Par 3

Hole 14 runs northwards. It also runs significantly uphill and so plays longer than its length. The green is set into the face of Birkin Hill and is most attractively framed by the slopes behind it topped by a single tree. The tee is sheltered, but the green is exposed to the prevailing wind from the left. The nearer portion of the elevated green is on a narrow spur and is guarded by a large, almost hidden bunker to the front, one at the front left (also hidden) built into the bank side, and two more at the right, similarly constructed, though higher up and visible from the tee. The front left bunker is especially difficult to recover from. It is very low down and the ground just beyond it is in any case the shape of a mound. The green from this direction is quite narrow. The further end of the green is cut back in the hillside and there is a potentially very difficult pin position back right on a small spur. There is thick rough on the mound to the rear of the green. Anything to the right or long to the left will fall away down the hill, often into the bunker. The green is slightly stepped and slopes down to the front. This hole has always been considered to be one of the best on the course. It is a delightful short hole and a successful tee shot, especially with a strong wind from the left, is a source of great satisfaction.

Hole 15 – 416 Yards – Par 4

Hole 15 runs in an eastward direction and so is favoured by the prevailing wind. A new back tee has recently been built right at the very top of the hill. From this pulpit tee on Birkin Hill, the highest point on the course, the tee shot plunges downhill into a valley which then flattens out. There are groups of trees on both sides. The ones to the left are closer in to the fairway. There is also a large bunker down the right side of the fairway, which threatens the drive. The second shot is over a ditch to a tricky green which slopes down to the right and back towards the player. The green is guarded by a bunker forty yards short and on the left of the fairway, blocking the approach from that side. However, there is a bunker at the front left of the green and a more threatening one front right which eats into the green and can cause problems for an approach from that side. The ground rises up at the back of the green to Greenhouse Hill. However, the ground just before the green does tend to run the ball in from the left.. This hole has a tee shot that is exhilarating to play and may engineer considerable run. Because of the bunker threatening the tee shot and the right greenside bunker’s obstructing effect, the best line is slightly to the left, though the run in from the left tends to counteract this to some extent.

Hole 16 – 420 Yards – Par 4

Hole 16 runs west and into the prevailing wind and once again the tee is elevated. The fairway, which is quite narrow and guarded by groups of trees, lies along a kind of natural shelf and the ground falls away to the left. The ground dips immediately down from the tee, but then rises again to the shelf. If the drive is too short it will lose its momentum when striking the hill and that leaves a very difficult second shot. The bunkering on this hole has been dramatically changed for 2017 with a bunker in the dip to the left encouraging play to the right of the fairway. If the drive is well hit so as to carry on to the top part of the shelf or even over it onto the descending ground, it will run out very well , though this can result in a second shot off awkward terrain with the player’s left foot much lower in the stance than the right one. The second shot is a difficult one uphill past three approach bunkers (two to the right and one on the left) to a large double tiered green which mainly  slopes to the left and also has a ridge across the entrance. The front left of the green is protected by two pot bunkers and there are two bunkers protecting the right of the green. The ground to the left rear of the green drops away quite severely. This is a demanding hole. It has an impressive look about it both from the tee and for the second shot. The view towards Birkin Hill and the isolated trees behind the green are most attractive. The second shot tends to look longer than it is in reality.

Hole 17 – 487 Yards – Par 5

Hole 17 is a sharp dog leg to the right, running basically in an eastward direction, so favoured by the prevailing wind. Work has now been completed on the introduction of three bunkers at the dog leg, and they came into play at the commencemnt of the 2015 season. Whilst it may be possible for the biggest of hitters to carry these, the safest line is to the left hand-side of the fairway. There are also trees all down the left, but they are not close in. The second shot is through a valley onto ground that rises significantly up to the elevated green. There is little run to be gained up the hill. Further bunker improvement has been undertaken to the right in the fairway in front of the green, where a new bunker has been constructed. There is also an additional bunker, green-side on the right behind an original bunker front right as well as a green-side bunker front left. which has recently been reshaped. This is a challenging golf hole and the tee shot is perhaps the most demanding on the course. If the corner is cut the ball lands on ground favouring the player bringing the green in range, but the second shot will have to carry virtually to the green to gain significant advantage. The view to the green is now much improved, but with nothing much at the back to give focus, there is the possiblity of overclubbing. Also, the orientation of the second shot with trees close in and relatively open ground to the left before the trees impinge, makes for difficult aiming of the shot. Most will play this hole as a genuine par 5 playing down the left from the tee, then left again, leaving a short iron to the green. The changes which have been undertaken should make this hole an even better par 5.

Hole 18 – 322 Yards – Par 4

The 18th hole runs north and is slightly uphill from the start, the slope increasing as the hole gets nearer. The tee shot is pretty narrow. Up the right is a line of trees and outside of that is Willow Lane. On the left there is significant rough and further left some trees and heavy rough. Willow Lane (by this time a sunken road) bends left not far from the green and runs diagonally across the fairway. A very long drive can reach the road, which is considered as part of the fairway, so that if the player’s ball is on the road, he or she can play it as it lies or take a penalty drop. There is a particularly large tree on the right at a point just before Willow Lane starts to turn left. This is the main strategic feature on this hole, because anything right off the tee is blocked out from the green by the tree. In view of this, the hole plays as a kind of dog leg and requires a tee shot to the middle or left of the fairway. The green is set into the rising ground which is quite steeply banked in front. The green is guarded by three deep bunkers, one to the left front and two to the right front and side. The green slopes down to the front, so it is best to try to stay below the pin. It is a two tier green with a swale at the back. The tee shot makes this hole and is the key to success on it. The second, though only a short iron, is difficult to judge since the bottom of the flag cannot be seen from down the fairway. The hole makes a good finishing hole as birdie possibilities are always there, given, as stated earlier, a long and straight tee shot.

TESTIMONIALS

“4* – I don’t get out on the greens enough but when I do I normally go for courses nearby in Roundhay and Wike. However from working with Bradford Golf Club I had to try out the course and it’s (a) not a bad drive from North Leeds side and (b) a *superb* golf course. Really welcoming and professional – what you’re looking for in a golf club”

Duncan Coleman Sept‘13

“5* – Ive been following Herbert Fowler golf courses & looking to play as many as I can when work permits. Bradford Golf Club does not disappoint. Whilst there are a lot of trees, they are redeveloping the course and taking it back to its roots & are in the middle of major tree removal. The contours of the land are coming back through & you can definitely see the Fowler influence”

Ken Thorpe Oct’15

“5* – Lovely surroundings and great for social events”

Caron Andrade, 23/6/16

“5* – Quite possibly the best golf club in the area. All staff are friendly and welcoming. Banter is included if you’re a southerner. The course has never been a reason to complain on any of the many occasions I’ve played it. I urge any keen golfer to play this course – you will NOT be unimpressed by it.”

Mark Adi Wardle, 6/8/16

“5* – Fantastic golf course. Every hole is different. Greens are also top drawer. Well worth a visit.”

Robert Harrison 14/9/16

“5* – Really enjoyed it , course in great condition for time of year !! Cheers to all involved!!”

Dave Gardner, 8/10/16

“5* – Played in the Seniors open, well organised, excellent course and friendly staff. Looking forward to playing again next week with the Wike Ridge Golf Society. Certainly one of the best courses in the area.”

David Walters, 27/8/16

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