Located just off junction 8 of the A14, the course at Kettering Golf Club was instigated in 1891. Apparently, a Scottish doctor named John Allison from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary relocated to Kettering and helped found the golf club. It was in his capacity as club captain that Allison then approached Old Tom Morris to set out an initial 9-hole course for the members.
Stretching to just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, the course plays to a par of 69, starting with a par three at the first hole. Feature holes include both the par fives that run along the west perimeter of the property at the 5th and 8th, along with the tough, right doglegging par four 16th, which is rated stroke index 2 on the scorecard.
Charley Hull learned to play the game here after she was introduced to the club by her father at a very early age. She won both the English and Welsh Amateur Stroke Play championships in 2011 before turning professional two years later and she’s since won events on both the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour.
Kettering started out as a nine-hole course in 1891 making it the oldest in Northamptonshire. Originally designed by Old Tom Morris it was soon extended to the full 18 holes. Old Tom went on to design two further nine-hole layouts within in the county at Wellingborough and Northampton very soon after but these were both lost due to relocation.
Generally speaking, I would characterize the routing as out-and-back, the 9th tee being the furthest point from the clubhouse. Without doubt there are a number of interesting holes here but unfortunately the rather bland opening par three is not one of them. Two good par fours immediately follow and neither the 2nd which curves right with trees and out of bounds lurking or the 3rd playing over water from the tee, will suit a right handed fade or slice. This is a theme that continues throughout the round as there are at least ten holes where it's possible to clear the boundary fence to the right.
One of my favourite holes is the par three 7th measuring 186 yards from the back tee. To the left a large and attractive lily pond awaits and a copse of trees will catch anything missing to the right. Three good par fours arrive at 9, 10 and 11, all have some undulation in the fairway and require good approach shots to raised greens and the 12th, another standout par three, is memorable for the grassy humps and hollows that surround an undulating green.
The pick of the remaining holes include three challenging par fours. The 14th slopes gradually uphill to a green fronted by more humps and hollows, the 16th, the longest of the two shotters is a raking dogleg stretching out over 450 yards to a front-to-back sloping green and the 18th, another dogleg, has two large bunkers protecting the front of the green.
Kettering is unlikely to feature on anyone's must-play list, however, the greens were superb at the time of my visit in July and I would happily play there again.