|Harry Colt, perhaps the best golf architect of all time, designed the course at Beaconsfield Golf Club and the clubhouse is architecturally special too.|
I vaguely remember playing here on a corporate day around twenty-five years ago but had no memory of the course at all. A return after all of those years in mid-February was an absolute delight, with greens as good as I have played on at this time of the year in the south of England that I can remember.
Beaconsfield is a classy affair with many key things (1st tee, putting green, 18th green etc.) extremely close to the beautiful clubhouse – this is a strong members club with a very friendly welcome.
The opening hole is meaty par-4 at 457 yards with a slight uphill approach to the green. Two more par-4’s are next; the 2nd has great Colt cross bunkers but at around 180 yards from the tee are just a touch short to come into play for most in the modern day. The 3rd hole is like a mini version of the 3rd hole on Wentworth’s West course as there is a subtle elevation rise for most of the hole. A straight forward tree-lined par-5 is at the 4th – overall the opening four holes are decent but the next three holes are the strongest of the front nine. There is great bunkering on the 161 yard par-3 5th just about fifteen yards short of the green, making the hole look much shorter than it is. A wander to the 6th tee takes you over the main train-line; the hole that awaits is the SI-1 a par-4 that goes up, goes right, goes down and then up to the green and plays longer than the 421 yards on the card. The 7th is another strong par-3; three bunkers short of the hole and a green that needs a full carry as although the hole plays a little downhill, the green sits up a touch on higher ground – possibly the best short hole on the course. The 8th is an ok par-4, that does the job of getting you back to the higher ground – the front nine ends with a short par-4 (358 yards) and with more Colt cross bunkers on show from the tee and a slight dog-leg to the left and is a great driving hole.
First thing to say about the back nine is that it is very strong and difficult to find much wrong at all. Par-5’s at the 10th, 14th and 17th are all very good with the 10th shortest and probably the best birdie chance. Another magical par-3 is at the 178 yard 11th – this is an ideal length for a short hole as there is a decent challenge for all. The 12th hole, a par-4 at 356 yards gave me a another Wentworth flashback, this time as a shorter version of the West’s 9th hole. A similar length par-4 is the 13th with five cunningly placed bunkers at and short of the green is a very good looking hole. After a wander back over the train-line, the par-5 14th awaits – the best thing here are the bunkers – for the entire hole, they just seem to be in the perfect places; from the tee, in the fairway and then just short of the green – I believe there are ten of them on the hole and I would not re-position any of them.
The last four holes offer up plenty of variety starting with a short par-4 at 279 yards and SI-18, a decent chance to score well. The final par-3 is the 16th and a toughie – 202 yards and nearly all carry.
From halfway down the par-5 17th hole, you start to see the welcoming clubhouse and the non-playing golfers enjoying the terrace, a place that is only fifteen minutes away! The big thing about this 17th hole is the approach to the green – here is an offset green with a huge ridge through it, making putting the premium shots here. The final hole, is just under 400 yards long with the tee shot blind to a slight left to right fairway and then a gentle downhill shot to the green.
As mentioned at the beginning, Beaconsfield is a classy course and in great condition in early 2017. Expectations were met on my visit and exceeded for most of the round – I was thinking that was going to be a 4-ball opinion from me but I am going to go for a 5-ball, just. In terms of rankings in the Buckinghamshire county numbers, it feels that the wonderful Woburn Golf Club have the top 3 spots sewn-up but below that, I would have Beaconsfield ahead of The Buckinghamshire and on a par with the recently much improved Stoke Park – it would definitely be the club of those three that would get my membership fees.