Established in 1893, Northampton Golf Club celebrated its centenary three years after moving to its current location in the grounds of the Althorp Estate, home to the Spencer family, where Donald Steel laid out a challenging 18-hole course across 130 acres of rolling terrain.
The club’s original course was situated near Cliftonville but it lasted only a couple of years before the club headed off to its second home, known locally as “Kettering Road”. This was a 9-hole course laid out by Old Tom Morris and subsequently modified by both Willie Park Jr. and James Braid.
Today, the club’s course extends to 6,515 yards from the back tees, playing to a par of 72. Feature holes include the par three 2nd (“Sunset”) which plays across a small pond into a two-tiered green in the northeast corner of the estate, and the left doglegging par four 4th (“New Park”), rated the most difficult hole on the outward half.
There are back-to-back par fives to negotiate at the 11th and 12th but all the drama is kept until the final three holes which are routed around the ornamental Harleston Lake, starting with the par three 16th (“Water’s Leap”) and ending with the par four 18th (“Causeway”) where the tee shot has to carry the lake at its widest before an approach is played to the home green.