Spalding Golf Club was established in 1907 as Surfleet Golf Club, operating a 9-hole layout on leased land that could not be played on in the summer months because the grass on the fairways was required for grazing. Over time, the course was doubled in size but the onset of World War II reduced the playing area to one that could only accommodate nine holes.
In 1950, the club was able to purchase the land it had previously rented. It also acquired additional land to bring an 18-hole layout back into play at the start of the 1970s. Another tract of 34 acres was secured in 1989, allowing an in-house team of members to redesign the course, with its unveiling taking place in August 1993.
Nowadays, the course extends to 6,092 yards from the back tees, playing to a par of 72. Highlight holes include the par four 4th (rated stoke index 1) where the fairway doglegs to the left with out of bounds on the right; the longest of the par fives at the 8th, which plays to a raised green; and the only par three on the inward half at the 186-yard 16th in the southeast corner of the property.
Spalding is a testing Par 72 parkland layout measuring just over 6,500 yards from the back tees. Accuracy from the tee is key to scoring well here as some fairways are quite narrow and lined by mature trees. The routing is good with more than enough variety in the design to keep me interested even if the land is predominantly flat. The fairway bunkering isn't overdone but most of the greens are well protected with some being quite tricky to navigate.
The River Glen is a factor on the 1st, 2nd and 4th holes and other water hazards come in to play on the 9th, 10th and 11th. The 1st is one of the toughest openers you will find stretching to 423 yards, the river forming a boundary to the left, trees on either side and a raised green waiting to reject anything coming up short or to the right.
The 2nd is definitely my favourite par four at Spalding. The tee shot must clear the bend of the river to reach an undulating fairway which doglegs from right to left en-route to an excellent small green which gathers from the left.
The tree-lined 4th at 428 yards is particularly tough with the river again in play down the right and the par five 8th, by far the longest hole on the course at 540 yards, is notable for an attractive approach shot to a raised green with a single pine tree protecting the left side of the green.
There are just three par threes at Spalding and two of them are worthy of a mention. The 6th is a great hole with two well placed bunkers lying short of the raised green. Just beyond them are two large mounds, one front left and one front right of the putting surface. The easier 9th occupies flatter ground but a lily pond to the left and a bunker front right must be avoided.
The back nine gets off to a strong start at the 10th where a large pond bites into the fairway just short of the green followed by the short par four 11th which is a fun hole doglegging from right to left to a raised green. The tee shot must initially clear a pond and then find the right half of the fairway to avoid being blocked out by trees. More doglegs follow at the 12th and 14th, both being decent enough holes.
Although the 15th and 16th could be described as mediocre, the final two holes provide a strong finish to the round. The 17th requires another accurate tee shot to open up a narrow approach between trees to a green tucked in to the left and tight to the out of bounds and the 18th, bending gently left before playing over a ditch, provides a superb finish in the shadow of the clubhouse.
It's probably fair to say that most of the memorable holes arrive fairly early in the round but Spalding is certainly one of the better courses in Lincolnshire and well worth searching out as it offers a little more than the average parkland layout. Fully deserving of its current place in the county top ten I would suggest.
I have recently joined Spalding as moved to the area. I have been made to feel very welcome all the way through the process. Finally played the course today following 2nd lockdown and was very impressed. Considering we are in a very wet / cold spell the course is holding up well. The tees and greens are in good condition. The greens in particular are very good!! Back 9 is excellent !! Would recommend to anyone