TRAVELLING LADY GOLFER

G – Galway Bay

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.


Photo Credit Kevin Markham

Galway Bay

Renville, Oranmore, County Galway, Ireland.

There is something quite familiar about Galway Bay, and until recently I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.  Then it came to me!  Every year we sing about Galway Bay along with the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl in the classic Fairytale of New York!


Photo Credit Kevin Markham

Arriving at Galway Bay

I genuinely had no idea what I might expect, I don’t always like to research where I’m going so it doesn’t cloud my personal judgement or generate any preconceptions.  So I didn’t know if this course was a links, parkland or heathland. 

I was playing some of the courses along the Wild Atlantic Way with a few other journalists when we stopped at Galway Bay.  A warm welcome was upon us in no time in a bustling modern clubhouse having a quick warm up before playing.  When I say warm up, I mean drink in huge coffee cups, not on the driving range!


Photo Credit Kevin Markham

Ready to play

We set off up hole one and back down hole two, before moving away again from the clubhouse.  This time in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean.  Whilst being so close to the Ocean, it isn’t a links course.  It is a good strong parkland course laid out to enjoy the sea views as well as the sea breeze.

Former Ryder Cup player and Snr British Open winner, Christy O’Connor, Jnr is the golf course designer.  His plan was to create a course in tune with nature, whilst accommodating golfers of all abilities.  A man with a plan, he drew from his vast experience as golfer.  With the rugged Galway Bay as the backdrop, trees bunkering and water hazards were finely tuned to give us the golf course of today.  


Photo Credit Kevin Markham

I recall the putting surfaces to be consistently good. 

That in itself can’t be an easy task bearing in mind its location and the ever changing wind direction.  Playing the eleventh hole a par 4 333/423 yards, SI 2/3 was good fun with its drive over water to a dog leg left.  Bunkers aplenty and the clubhouse in sight.  

But turn back away again to take on the 12th, a great hole playing quite differently from the forward and back tees.  384/469 yards SI 14/1 and a par 5 forward, par 4 back tees.  It is a hole to bat cleverly and play for position.  A dog leg right as it drops down the hill to the green with the Atlantic in front of you as you take on the water to the green.  This hole is often featured amongst the top 18 holes in Irish golf.  With views to the Burren, Co Clare; one of six nations parks in Ireland, the Aran Islands, Connemara and Galway City.

There were a few holes

Where the back and forward distances differences were quite large, with the par threes, being a little more even for distance on the front nine.  With water featuring over 10 of the 18 holes, maybe that’s one of the reasons?

My game that day was a bit up and down, a few blobs then pars, with the back nine giving me some points back after a very lack lustre front nine!  But I loved the feel of this club, playing a great parkland golf course with its natural beauty was a bonus after the welcome received in the clubhouse.

Nine miles away is Galway, City of the Tribes and the Cultural Heart of Ireland.  And the heart of a good night out too!

H for Hankley Common

H – Hankley Common

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

Hankley Common

The Clubhouse, Tilford Rd, Farnham

It has to be said the time I played Hankley Common it was absolutely tipping it down.  Known for being one of the best courses in that area that can stand that level of water, it was a bit of a non-brainer that we play Hankley Common on such a wet weekend.  To this day, I am sure the pro was completely bemused at our request to play.  Non of the members were daft enough to venture out that day!

The wonderful free draining turf on this pretty heathland course was a god send that day.  We were, despite the wet stuff from the sky, able to continue play without too many hinderances.

The original nine holes

Date back to 1897.  In 1922 James Braid added a further nine holes, encompassing the layout and natural beauty of the terrain.  10 years later Harry Colt was bought in to add length.

Bobby Locke described this heathland course as a ‘closest resemblance to playing a links’ with other such accolades as ‘one of the best inland layouts in Britain’

Playing Hankey Common

Was not always an open expanse experience, in so far as the fairways are often tree lined.  The greens were a decent size and nicely and receptive too.  The fairways seem to sway their way around the course, like chiffon in the wind, only broken up by the bunkering and heather.  Some of the bunkers were of such a depth that required thinking about!  The odd large establish tree came into play as the course criss crossed around the common with ease.  To be honest everything a good golf course can offer is here at Hankley Common.  But the rough of heather and pretty much everything else was incredibly punishing!

Whilst playing Hankley Common I didn’t feel as though I was in a mass expanse of nothingness at any time.  It was very neat and tidy as one navigated around he course with ease.  Dog legs and the colour contrasts were just beautiful to feast your eyes upon.  And just as you think you’re on the home ward stretch, hole 18 throws up a tough finish.  With its dip in front of the green- maybe it was because I was soaked by then, I just remember looking at the clubhouse thinking – Lumumba!

Hankley Common

Is owned by the Ministry of Defence. Set in 1400 acres, the surrounding area is designated as an area of special scientific interest.  The common has been the site for some classic films such as James Bond’s, the World is Not Enough and Die Another Day.  Michael Fassbender starred in Macbeth here and Michael Vaughan’s The Kings Man was another to be filmed here.  In fact many a movie star has trodden the soil of Hankley Common over the years.  Wildlife, flora and fauna are common place here with the Golf Club adopting the common fox as their logo.  The golf course occupies the West side of this Surrey heathland location.

I for Isle of Purbeck

I – Isle of Purbeck

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. For more innovative, fun unique golf content, please subscribe to my social media channels 

Instagram @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer

Twitter and Facebook @golfgurugroup

Isle of Purbeck

Corfe Rd, Studland, Swanage, BH19 3AB

When you’ve got a great course and some interesting history, you know you’re onto a winner for a good day out.

Founded in 1892

And originally opening as a nine hole course on Dene Hill in 1893 with 40 members, whose membership was just a guinea.  In todays money that is one pound and five pence, pre decimalisation it was 21 shillings (a shilling being 5p).

Fast forward to relative recent history and its new owners being Mr and Mrs Darrell-Waters.  Mrs Darrell-Waters, better known as Enid Blyton, the prolific children’s novelist maybe better known for characters such as Noddy and Big Ears.  Taking inspiration from local characters ‘PC Plod’ was based on a cheerful, well known local policeman in the 1950’s.

Enid Blyton

was good golfer and was elected Lady Captain in 1951.  During the Darrell-Waters ownership the course was extended to the 18 holes.  Enid Blyton’s putter is still at the club awaiting its new display cabinet.

Next in line of ownership was another punchy name, Mr H B Randolph a recent retiree from his ownership of the Wilkinson Sword Company.  A keen hobby golfer himself, he seized the opportunity to create an impressive clubhouse and bought out the land lease plus additional land.  The 27 holes of today and the elevated clubhouse overlooking Poole Harbour are testimony to his desire to showcase the spectacular views.  Uniquely the building material of the clubhouse is Purbeck Stone inset with giant fossils.

The Sword Bar

Was created in memory of his first wife.  Randolph gave many swords away. There is a replica of the Golf Flaming Sword as presented to His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie, the “Lion of Judah’, Emperor of Ethiopia.  In another room is the Sword of Stalingrad, the original being presented to the people of Stalingrad during WWII.  Many more swords decorate the clubhouse.

But what of the course itself?

I played 18 holes.  Hole number 1 and 2 go away and back to the clubhouse.  Crossing back in front of the club house is when the fun really starts.  From hole 3 you are walking away with the club behind you.  This heathland course is pretty in its own right, but once you get to the fifth, those views over towards Poole gives the game away as to what a special place you are in.

Holes 5 and 6 are the furthest away from the clubhouse on the front nine.  I remember them being so peaceful.  I was playing towards the end of the day, by myself just carrying my bag and enjoying the peace and quiet.  It suddenly struck me that I was completely alone, just listening to the world go by as I hit my golf ball towards the dip to the 5th green.

As you play around the course

You cross around the back of the club house after hole 7.  The golf course plays a little like a links course, but is probably best described as heathland, with a links feel.  The course splays out returning to wrap its arms loving around the clubhouse and embrace the vista view once more for the post round drinks. 

Maximising the space, the holes play in different directions, thereby offering a complete challenge in golf.

The late Peter Allis said

“I’ve always felt the Club is certainly one of the most spectacular in the whole of the UK and the general ambience of the Club and course is absolutely delightful.”

I guess he was in good company with his thoughts as the late King Edward also declared the view from the fifth tee as one of the finest in British golf.

Purbeck is a peninsular of land bordered by water on three sides.  The English Channel  are to the South and East.  The Dorset Coast, the Jurassic Coast with its high imposing cliff tops adds drama to this wonderful location.

J for John O’Gaunt

J – John O’Gaunt

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. 

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses in this series, and please do comment, like or share if you want to start planing ahead. For more innovative, fun unique golf content, please subscribe to my social media channels 

Instagram @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer

Twitter and Facebook @golfgurugroup

John O’Gaunt Golf Club

Sutton Park, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2LY

The imposing Mansion House enjoys panoramic views as it presides over the golf courses and grounds of the John O’Gaunt Golf Club.

Dating back to 1859, rebuilt after a fire in 1825, the mansion house is the clubhouse serving the two 18 hole golf courses and practice facilities. 

Originally the golf course was a 9 hole in a different location.  The War Office took over the nine hole, ploughing up 3 of the holes for crops.  The remaining six had ditches dug into them to hinder aircraft from landing.

In 1948 a new location was sought for the then known Mid Bedfordshire Golf Club.  The 300 acre Sutton Park was found to be the perfect location with its picturesque countryside views and established lime trees, some still standing to this day.

The front nine

Of the John O’Gaunt course were designed by W G Groves, a scratch golfer, with the back nine being designed by Fred Hawtree.  Hawtree went on to design the second course, Carthagena, but our focus for today is the main course, John O’Gaunt.

With the purchase of Sutton Park came the somewhat dilapidated mansion house and established gardens designed by one of Capability Browns contemporaries, Humphry Repton.

As I haven’t played John O’Gaunt, my guest writer for letter J is Phil Millington:

As I arrived at the club

Ready to represent my club in a Seniors Scratch Team match, I was greeted by the clubhouse which has the air of an old country hall, with its grounds now converted into two golf courses, the John O’Gaunt main course and the Carthagena course. As you walk in you get the impression of history at this club.

My match was played on the John O’Gaunt course and it was the first and only time I’ve played at the club; in Mar 2020 (before Covid truly arrived on the scene). The course itself is a gently undulating mature parkland layout with many tall old imposing trees lining the fairways. Positioning of your shots in the right part of the fairway is key to producing a good score on many of the holes, otherwise your course management skills will be tested for sure. For the time of year the course was in really good condition and well presented, with the greens being suitably paced and true. 

To sum it up for me

Almost a year further on, I find I can clearly remember all but maybe one or two holes; dog legs both ways, raised greens, some holes slightly uphill, some downhill. The John O’Gaunt course is recognised as the No.1 course in Bedfordshire and for me the fact I remember the course so well is truly the sign of an interesting course. One that I look forward to playing again in the future.

K for Kington

K – Kington

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

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses in this series, and please do comment, like or share if you want to start planing ahead.For more innovative, fun unique golf content, please subscribe to my social media channels 

Instagram @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer Twitter and Facebook @golfgurugroup

Kington Golf Club

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! 

L for Llanymynech

L – Llanymynech

GB&I Golf Course Reviews – Z to A

I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabetical order.  It is my ode to some great and in some cases, unknown golf.  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot. 

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I.

For more innovative and fun golf, please subscribe to my social media channels @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer on Instagram @golfgurugroup on Twitter and Facebook for innovative and fun golf media and marketing.

LLanymynech Golf Club

High Cottage, Pant, Oswestry, SY10 8LB

Wales or England?

One of the quirky things about Llanymynech is one doesn’t really know where it is!  So much so that hole number four, a dog leg left par four of only 323/340 yards is where you tee off in Wales and putt out in England.  An elevated tee box encourages the brave to go over the trees in a straight line to the green.  Or take on the acute corner and get on it two.  Either way this SI9 hole is quite playable.

Llanymynech is actually in Wales

However as the only way to get there by car is through England, it carries an English postcode.

LLanymynech almost plays a cluster of holes at a time differently.  Arguably giving you more variety in just 18 holes.

Some holes are parkland, whereas others play more like heathland, especially as you climb to the top of the hill and enjoy the views below.  I loved the fairways.  Each time I have been they played really well.  The par 3 third is a pretty hole with lots of shrubbery and small sculptured bushes laid out in front of you.  If you miss the 134/153 yard green short, you could be in trouble!  

Then you get the 18th

Again with an elevated tee with a mound right in the way as you take your drive.  In reality that mound shouldn’t be in play, but you know, sometimes, it just is!  In stark contrast the 9th is a relatively open hole but is the hardest hole on the course being a par 5 at 419/546 yards, SI 1.

I was playing Llanymynech during a society day a few years back and won the longest drive on the 13th hole.  I do recall the rest of the players, mainly male, being a bit fed up. I did agree with them as the distance between the two tees was a bit too much at over 60 yards!  Mind you, I did prefer the back tee box position being high, whereas the forward tees were on a lower level.

Another unique feature about Llanymynech

Is when you’re at the top of the hill you can see up to as many as five counties.  These counties are Powys, Dyfed, Clwyd, Shropshire and Staffordshire.  There is a map at the top so you can identify which landmarks you are seeing as you brave the highest part of the course.  Naturally, it is absolutely beautiful on a warm summers day and absolutely miserably on a cold wet one! 

As any good golf course will agree

Ongoing maintenance is essential.  Being forward thinking, instead of using the sods of tuff to create vetted bunkers, LLanymynech are using EcoBunkers.  A synthetic bunker system with a longer life.  When I go back, it is my mission to take a close look at these new bunkers!

Offa’s Dyke is a site of Special Scientific interest, roughly running the boundary between England and Wales.   King Offa was the Anglo Saxon King of Mercia from AD 757.   As Llanymynech also borders these two countries, it is no surprise that Offa’s Dyke also makes an appearance around the golf course.  Again adding to its interest in topography and its heritage.

M for Mount Juliet

M – Mount Juliet

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabet order.  It is my ode to some great and in some cases, unknown golf.  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab. 

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I.

Subscribe to my social media channels @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer on Instagram @golfgurugroup on Twitter and Facebook for innovative and fun golf media and marketing.

Photo credit Kevin Markham

Mount Juliet

Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

Wahoo another great parkland course, who’s relative newness doesn’t detract from it being a fantastic play and location just an hour and half from Dublin.

This beautiful Irish country Estate extends to approx 500 acres with the River Nore shaping its very existence as it dissects the 180 acre golf course. 

Completed just 30 years ago

In 1991 Jack Nicklaus was called in to give it his signature treatment.  This basically means he got involved and visited the sight personally before coming up with this little gem of a course.  It has to be said, at first glance, I would not have said it was a Golden Bear design. I can usually tell if a course is one of his, but this one was tricky for me to pin point its designer. 

Photo credit Kevin Markham

Mount Juliet is fun to play, it’s takes in the established estate and works with the mass of water to bring that in play too.  Hole 4, par 4 292/404 yards is a tight driving hole which seemed to narrow in the middle before opening up to the shot to the green.  Or so you think, in fact the entrance to the green is also narrow.  Water sits to the right of the green too, making it on in 2 is quite a challenge!

It was one of my first experiences of a Nicklaus course, and I recall at the time being impressed by the splodge bunkers, I now know are a trait of his.  Typically in play for the drive, the bunkers became less attractive as the round went on!

Photo credit Kevin Markham

Water and bunkers

Do play a big part of the design of Mount Juliet.  There are around 80 bunkers.  Five lakes were also constructed to come into play over 6 holes but this does enhance Mount Juliet’s natural and unique beauty.  It is little  wonder it was voted best Parkland Golf Course in 2008 and 2010 and more recently the same from Golfers Guide to Ireland.

The 16th, a par 4 335/452 yards is a strange one.  A slight dog leg from the back tees but playing straight from the forward tees. Out of bounds on the left. The inevitable bunkering more likely to catch the back tee players.  Then this little splodge bunker in front of the green.  Nothing weird about that, right?  Behind the green is where you feel as though you’ve playing a desert course. A very large expanse of sand which almost envelopes the green itself.  In fact if that desert bunker wasn’t there, with it being out of bounds behind it, I guess it does save the golfer a little?

Photo credit Kevin Markham

Measure 7,000 yards

It has been built to stage championship golf.  The Irish Open was meant to me played here last year but wasn’t due to Covid.  With many a top golfers already given the opportunity to play Mount Juliet, I’m sure it won’t be long until it hosts another punchy event soon.

It is a number of years since I played Mount Juliet.  I often wonder about changes that might have happen to improve the course and whether those changes actually have improved it.  It seemed pretty special to me when I played there!

Photo credit Kevin Markham

But what of its name?

Several changes in name for the estate have included Waltons Grove and Kendals Grove, depending on who owed the Estate at that time.  But as we all enjoy a good love story, it was the Earl of Carrick who named it Mount Juliet after his wife, Lady Julianna Butler, aka Juliet.  

Hotel accommodation is also available on site.

N for Newport

N – Newport

GB&I golf Course Reviews – Z to A

I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I for the whole of the alphabet.  It is my ode to some great golf.  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab. 

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I and subscribe to my social media channels @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer on Instagram @golfgurugroup on Twitter and Facebook. 

Newport Golf Club

NEWPORT GOLF CLUB, GREAT OAK, ROGERSTONE, NEWPORT, WALES, NP10 9FX

Newport Golf Club stands 300 feet above sea level with a yardage from 5814 to 6500. Located in Llwyni Wood the golf holes circumnavigate the woodland. In the middle of the course whilst capitalising on the beautiful established trees and gently undulating terrain.

Founded in 1903 Newport Golf club started life, like so many, as a nine hole course situated at Ladyhill Farm.  Interestingly, the ladies section was also founded that same year.  A couple of years later the course was extended to 18 holes.  But that wasn’t the end to the clubs evolution with a relocation to its current site in 1912. 

Mature oak trees

Are the first thing you notice as you start to play Newport GC, it is no coincidence that the club logo is an Oak tree!  Certainly this mature parkland course is one that screams history, with one pondering, if only the trees could talk.

Regarded as one of the finest parkland courses in South Wales the current site of the golf course has grown and matured nurturing this natural look. It also far reaching views across the landscape and over towards the Bristol Channel.

Parkland courses

Are often overlooked when visiting the UK in favour of links golf, but playing such a grown up course has its own considerations.  The greens are not level y any stretch of the imagination, the course, whilst doest take on massive elevations. Does add interest with its gentle topography and then there’s the mature statement trees!

The first time I played Newport was in an Open and I was blown away by the golf course.  Naturally I had to return again to see if it was a one off experience.  I’m pleased to say, it wasn’t.  Each time I’ve been back to Newport, it seems to get better.  Driving off the first tee with the club house on your left really sets you up for the rest of the game.  A good indication of what was to come was laid out for all to see right in front of you in unashamed openness.

It is true there are no major hills, no major doglegs but don’t be fooled.  Some of the holes are long and require good placement from the tee and subsequent shots into the green.  Playing with males, I noticed there were a lot of narrow exits off the tees from the back, which didn’t come into play so much from the forward tees.  However, on occasions neatly trimmed hedges did come into play for the tee shot.  Often the landing zone for the tee shot was reasonably wide, but as holes snaked around, placement was key.  Whilst the greens were quite large, front to back, some had thought provoking slopes on them to catch even the best of putters!

Hole number 14

A relatively easy par 3 of 126/164 yards caused lots of hilarity if you weren’t straight onto the green with your tee shot.  A pearl necklace of bunkers protecting  the green from the front and both sides.  The established trees ever present.  The trees were not always thick forest lining the fairways, instead leaving gaps to enjoy those views and give you some reprieve for any wayward shots!

Whilst the mighty oak does dominate many a hole, the woodland is diverse and includes birch and beech too.  Bearing in mind its maturity, the golf club also has a natural history group who monitor and report the flora and fauna of the golf course, working in harmony with the green keepers.  It is a shapely course, with woodland, sloping greens and the odd ditch or hump across the fairway.  There were also some very long holes which could suit the big hitters.

O for The Oxfordshire

O – The Oxfordshire

GB&I Golf Course Reviews – Z to A

I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I for the whole of the alphabet.  It is my ode to some great golf.  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab. 

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I and subscribe to my social media channels @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer on Instagram @golfgurugroup on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo credit – Kevin Murray

Oxfordshire

Or strictly speaking The Oxfordshire, Rycote Lane, Milton Common, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2PU

It’s strange how golf courses keep popping in your golfing life.  I’d never heard of the Oxfordshire until it hosted a ladies golf event there and I went along as a spectator as fairly new person into golf.  Little did I know at that stage that I’d be working to help promote the resort in my tour operating days or running successful ladies events there either.  It’s certainly one that pops up every now and again and always in a positive way.  Now I can just enjoy the course for what it is, a place I can return to time and again.

Photo credit – Kevin Murray

The Oxfordshire

Is not an old course in fact it was only built in 1993.  A unique blend of English countryside meeting it’s then Japanese owners requests designed by an American, Rees Jones.  Rees Jones of Torres Pines and Pinehurst fame.

It has been built to stage championship golf, and has done so since it conception.  With its natural spectator vantage points and views over the, what can only be described as an inland links views.

It is true many a great course has claimed to be an inland links but I think the Oxfordshire is one that can say that with conviction, despite it being based in the middle of the Chilterns.  This Rees Jones design beguiles from the first glance with its softly lined fairways.  Its wispy grass flirting in the wind beckoning you in.

Photo credit – Kevin Murray

Once you start to play the Oxfordshire

You’re in a different world, only being bought back to the reality by an exceptional half way house at the far end of the course.  It isn’t the 9 out, 9 in design of some, you are literally at the furthest point from the 5th tee.  The half way house comes into play on a few holes.

I always liked playing the par 4, 8th hole with the water on the right and the green tantalising you in the distance with its solitary tree teasing you to think big  Almost like an island green, the brave can take on the water with their second shot, the sensible follow the fairway round the mouth of the green.

Weirdly I also liked the 10th hole

Its not partially any more spectacular than any ofter hole on the course, I just liked its simplicity.  I was in one of the fairway greens with still a long way to go to the green.  To everyones amazement, I used a rescue club and clean hit it out and onto the green.  I still don’t remember who was more surprised by that shot, me or my playing partner!

There is one hole that most people do talk about when playing The Oxfordshire, the 17th.  A long par 5 with an open tee box to hit into oblivion.  Placement is key here as it determines the next shot.  Over the lake at almost the widest point or go around and play the whole of the par 5.  I’ve played both ways, but only had the guts to take on the green one time as my drive was quite far left!  The green is tucked all the way the other side of the lake.  Shallow in it approach back to front with bunkers in play.  It is definitely one of those risk and reward shots!!

The onsite contemporary Hotel sits with the best views over the course, so a few days staying here is always a little luxury with good food and a spa on tap too.

P for Porthmadog

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