Founded in 1904 by nine local golfers of whom Haggitt Colbeck, a solicitor, was the first captain, Hull Golf Club started out with a 9-hole course on a site off Anlaby Road, three miles east of its current location, which later became Boothferry Park, the home of Hull City Football Club until recent times.
The story continues with the following edited extract is from James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses by John F. Moreton and Iain Cumming:
“Twenty years at the Anlaby course were brought to an end when the council embarked on a ring road around Hull. The Hellyer family, who owned the land, gave notice to the club, and a move to nearby Kirkella, a site of 108 acres, was logical.
Braid’s design consisted of three loops: holes 1 to 5 internal, 6 to 12 anti-clockwise along the perimeter of the land, and 13 to 18 along the south side and then internal, a fairly predictable layout. Braid’s four par threes almost underline his philosophy.
The 4th travels east, the 8th south, the 13th northwest , the 16th west. The lengths vary too.
This parkland course has stood the test of time, only the 9th changing, into a dogleg. Two aspects have changed: the reduction of over a hundred bunkers down to about fifty, and the difference in trees.
Old age, storms and Dutch Elm disease removed some of the original trees and many from the 1950s’ planting, resulting in the present greater diversity. The number of full Braid courses which have scarcely changed over the years is small. Hull is one of them.”
Located in the village of Kirk Ella on the western side of the city, Hull is a tree-lined parkland course laid out over predominantly flat land measuring 6,235 yards from the tips and playing to a par of 70.
In all honesty, the first eight holes didn’t really get my juices flowing when I visited in the late summer. The golf was pleasant enough but there wasn’t too much that lingered in the memory when looking back.
I did enjoy the strong downhill 2nd where the approach shot is played across a valley to a raised green and the pretty short par-four 6th which has some good strategic bunkering.
The par-three 8th consisting of a two-tier green ringed by three large bunkers is also fun to play and from here onwards the course improves considerably.
The dogleg par-four 9th which measures a meaty 463 yards from the back tee is very good and one of five long par-fours, all stretching out to well over 400 yards. These longer holes are somewhat balanced out by two relatively short par-fives that barely reach the 500-yard mark and two short par threes.
The back nine has much more character and a little more undulation. The 278 yard downhill 10th offers the chance to claw a shot back but a pond lying short and right of the green has to be considered when standing on the tee and the gently curving par-five 12th might also give up a birdie opportunity if the two-tier green can be successfully negotiated.
Other holes worthy of a mention include the 13th, the shortest hole on the course with one of the trickiest greens, and the 14th, a severe dogleg left with out of bounds very much in play. Not one of my favourite holes but the severely sloping green makes this a tough nut to crack.
The heavily bunkered 16th is the toughest and arguably the best of the par-threes and the final two holes, both measuring over 400 yards, provide a testing conclusion to a good back nine.