Hunter Golf Course, formerly Meriden Municipal Golf Course, was formally opened in late September, 1929 on property that was known at the time as the Grulich farm. Although originally conceived as an eighteen-hole design, our course was only a nine-hole design in its first five years of existence due to financial constraints caused by the onset of the Great Depression. R.J. Ross, Hartford’s assistant engineer and a distant cousin of the famed golf architect Donald Ross, was the principal designer of the original course layout. Peter Suzio Construction handled most of the original course construction.
The course expanded to eighteen holes in 1935. V. Ardsley Flood, a local landscaper and a self-professed part-time golf course architect, was the primary architect of the second nine holes. The construction of the nine hole addition to the original course was mostly performed by relief workers hired by the city during the Great Depression.
Since that time, the course has undergone several significant design changes, with a complete makeover in 1986-1988. Some minor re-design was performed by Alfred Tull in 1968 to 1970, with course workers handling the construction duties. The 1986-88 complete re-make of the course was designed by Al Zikoris with the construction work performed by Moore Golf Inc. (course), Meriden Parks and Recreation (irrigation), Carabetta Enterprises (maintenance building), and Kristian Larsen, Inc. (clubhouse/restaurant). Since the new course opened in 1988, multiple renovations of course features have occurred. Some of these renovations include rework and re-design of most of the bunkers (2010), removal of several fairway bunkers (2001 to 2010), installation of a new irrigation system (2012), installation of several new forward tees (2010 to 2015), and a restoration of the clubhouse/restaurant following the fire of 2014.
Despite the re-design of 1986-88, many remnants of the original course design can still be observed upon close examination. For example, there is a small area located in the right rough of our current 1st hole, where the original course’s opening green can be seen. The green of the original 7th hole (which became the 15th hole on Cardiac Hill in 1935) can still be observed to the left of our current 4th hole, in the deep swale approximately ninety yards from the current green. Two greens, currently located in the driving range, were part of the 2nd nine construction in 1935 (left) which was modified in 1973 (right). One can also see evidence of the old 3rd green (from 1935 course) on the left side of the fairway on what is now the 5th hole. The green constructed in 1933-34 for the “old” 5th hole is also readily observable as one follows the cart path from the 10th green to 11th tee box today. Other “old course” artifacts can be seen behind the 11th green (walk bridge), on the 18th (firepits), by the cart path on the 17th (green and tee), and behind the 17th green (old green). And with just a smidgen of imagination, one can time travel back and see most of the original tee boxes.
After the death of longtime pro, George Hunter, the course name was changed from Meriden Municipal Golf Course to George Hunter Memorial Golf Course (1967), often shortened to simply “Hunter’s”. Over the years, our course has hosted numerous exhibitions by celebrities and pros alike, with some of the more prominent names being Jack Fleck, Tony Lema, and Alice Cooper. We have also hosted several significant championship events, with some of the notables being the New England Public Golf Links championships (2006, 1989, 1970, 1959), CT Public Links (2011), CT Junior Championship (2014), and CT Women’s Amateur (2001).