Bradford – 125 years of great golf

Alan Hedley needed every club in his bag as he took to a challenging, and historic, course

Bradford has been described as having an inland links feel. It’s a description that sits well with this intriguing and often demanding course.

There is an excellent mix of par fours, five of them more than 400 yards, while there are just three par threes and two par fives on the undulating 6,303 yard par 71 layout.

At 325 yards, the opening hole would normally be considered easy, but with out of bounds down the right and trees left, you have to be straight to leave a short second to a blind green.

Bradford's 17thThe second, the first of the par fours over 400 yards, is a good driving hole but, again, there is a blind approach to the green to contend with, while the short third is all about an accurate tee shot to an elevated green avoiding the pond and bunkers.

A classic risk and reward par four of 280 yards follows. There is a boundary wall on the right running the full length of the hole with trees left and three hidden bunkers, plus a green which slopes back to front. However, some will simply not be able to resist having a go!

The fifth is stroke index one, a par four of 461 yards, and is a dogleg right. The safe line from the tee is left, which leaves a longer second, but it opens up the well-guarded green. A shorter par four follows – it is quite narrow and accuracy is key here.

The seventh is another big par four of 444 yards and many rate this as the toughest hole. It sweeps right to left up the hill to a long green guarded by three bunkers.

A new bunker to the left at eight requires a careful drive to give you a chance with the approach to a steep false-fronted green before arriving at the first par five to end the front nine.

The ninth is long enough at 491 yards and there are trees all the way down the left side with out of bounds to the right. Beware the three fairway bunkers, while Willow Lane also crosses the fairway – the hole rises steeply up to a plateau green.

The start of the back nine is not easy with trees and out of bounds right and more trouble left, plus a second shot over a ridge to a blind green, but you’ll probably forget all that when you stand on the tee at 11.

bradford hole 3The view across Baildon Moor is spectacular and at 307 yards, the big hitters may well be inspired to have a go at the green. An excellent par three follows with its green perched on Greenhouse Hill and played over a valley.

The 13th is a generous driving hole but there are fairway bunkers to worry about and four more guard the green – a fine hole which is followed by a challenging uphill par three with the green set into the face of Birkin Hill.

The 15th is rightly judged to be the course’s signature hole (see fact file) and it heralds an excellent finish, with 16 a par four of 420 yards played from an elevated tee to a narrow, undulating fairway. If you go too far, you will have a downhill lie, not easy with the approach to a raised two-tier green.

The penultimate hole is a sharp dogleg par five right with three new bunkers at the corner, a new bunker before the green to the right can catch an errant second shot as the fairway rises steeply to a well-guarded green.

The tee shot is tight at 18, which plays uphill and doglegs right, but avoiding the trees and Willow Lane is important to be able to get at the two-tier green defended by a big tree and three bunkers.