GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A
I am showcasing one golf club a day across GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabetical order. Full write up and more images can be found on http://golfgurugroup.blogspot.com
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Bradnor Hill, Kington, Herefordshire, HR5 3RE
Another great golf course which sits on the English Welsh borders. Kington is the highest 18 hole golf course in England at 1284 feet above sea level, at its highest point. The beauty of Kington is most of the climbing is done by car as you snake your way up the the clubhouse in the sky.
That said as you stand on the first tee with its gradual uphill laid out in front of you, you might not think so. Especially when you see the green clinging onto the side of a hill to the left. But once you’re up there, there isn’t much more climbing to do. The wind can come into play. My playing partner was playing a driver on a par 3 to turn around and play the next hole, a par 4, with a rescue with it almost landing on the green says it all I think. But on one of those beautiful sunny days its the best place to see over towards the Brecon Beacons, The Black Mountains, The Malvern Hills and the Shropshire and Clee Hills.
Construction started in 1925
Under the watchful eye of golf course designer Major Cecil Hutchinson. Building a reputation in his own right after working with Braid at Gleneagles and Carnoustie. He later went on to work with Stafford Vere Hotchkin to redesign Woodhall Spa. At Kington he had the choice of two locations and opted for Bradnor Hill to work within its natural beauty and terrain. There have been very few changes to the original design, testimony to the strength of its original design.
There are some holes when you look at them and think, I should do OK here. Hole number five is that one for me. It is a par 3 only 126/150 yards with a menacing looking wall on the right and a lone tree in the distance to the right of the green. It is a relatively small green which is easily missed if too long and probably more forgiving if too short. It isn’t unusual to see the sheep, who wander around the course, taking shelter behind the wall. Watching with curious interest as they cheerfully much on the lush grass.
It has to be said, it is stunning at the top.
The golf course is a haven of manicured pasture with far reaching views, sometimes above the clouds, and I’ve heard sometimes above the military planes which train in the valley below. The heathland course has all the elements for fantastic play, all the hazards one might expect of its location, plus some. Yet despite it being so high, there is space all around. The fairways are often wide enough and the greens large enough for a good game. That doesn’t mean a good score though!! If a good score isn’t forthcoming take solace in the vista views of seven counties across England and Wales being Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Breconshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire.
It isn’t unusual
To see humps dotted around, some protect the greens as per the 12th. They not only add to the dramatic landscape but are in play too. There are no bunkers or water hazards at Kington, it doesn’t need them. The fairways are great to play from. Slightly spongy but not too much give that you end up popping the ball in the sky! I am always amazed by the condition of the greens, despite the wildlife and the relatively harsh climate, they remain great.
The elevation changes, the dramatic grass bunkers and the rough are enough to keep you on your toes on this course.
The closing hole has the clubhouse in sight. With an almost impossible looking green, a slither of short cut grass next to the clubhouse from an elevated tee. I guess it is achievable for a big hitter at 238/279 yards (SI18), to be on in one. But it is fraught with danger if you’re slightly off kilter. Go right and you’re down the hill, maybe even out of play. Go too long and you’re pretty much in the clubhouse. That green looks remarkably small and narrow front to back! And of course you have the spectators in the clubhouse watching your every move!