The beautiful Jacobean-style mansion in the Bearwood Estate reminds us what it must have been like to be a wealthy 19th century English aristocrat. The fabulous Victorian house was built for the man behind The Times newspaper, John Walter. The course at Bearwood Lakes Golf Club first opened for play in 1996 and Martin Hawtree designed it to look mature beyond its years, just as John Walter did with his mansion house.
Bearwood Lakes is a thrilling layout, which wends its way through the mature trees of the former Bearwood Estate. This is a golfer's golf course with skilfully designed and cleverly routed holes. This is certainly one of the very best new courses to have been built and, to quote Golf Links Magazine, Bearwood Lakes is "polished to perfection". Bearwood is immaculately maintained and the members benefit from stunning playing surfaces all year round.
Hawtree has skilfully blended the course into the natural surroundings and the beautiful specimen trees add to the many attractive features. There isn't a single weak hole at Bearwood Lakes – each and every one makes you think. The most memorable holes are the six sited around the natural lakes, which cover more than 50 acres.
The par four 13th is a stunner, which requires a long carry from the elevated tee across the corner of the lake to a distant fairway. The green is cut alarmingly close to the water's edge – this is not a hole for the faint-hearted. The 14th is probably Bearwood's signature hole – and it's a corking one-shotter, which requires an accurate mid iron across the corner of the lake.
To score well, especially from the back tees, you'll need to bring your 'A' game. The fairways are relatively generous in terms of width but if you stray off this carpeted surface, you'll be in all sorts of trouble – it's easy to lose a bucket load of balls in the rough at Bearwood Lakes.
At Bearwood Lakes you will be greeted with perfectly manicured fairways and quick greens as you work your way around the course that starts well, gets better and then really comes into its own at the start of the back nine.
The Guy Hockley / Martin Hawtree designed par 72 layout stretches to almost 7,000 yards from the back tees and rewards positive play. The course meanders through a backdrop of mature trees with water, as you might expect from the name, coming into play on seven of the holes; both on drives and approaches.
You will find wide landing zones at Bearwood Lakes but large bunkers are waiting for anything too far offline as well as lush rough flanking the fairways and close to the green too.
There are many very good holes, with not a single dud, but the run of holes from the ninth to the 14th are worth a special mention. There are three fine par 3’s amongst this stretch, two played over water, but it was the inviting downhill par four 10th and the climbing par five 11th that really caught my eye. Both are beautiful looking holes where strategy and wise decisions are required at all times.
Although I am a huge fan of links golf I always enjoy playing a top quality parkland course and Bearwood Lakes can certainly claim to be in that category.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Played 36 holes yesterday as part of a members' golf day, and couldn't fault the course, the club or the staff in any way. We were looked after in exemplary fashion from the minute we arrived at the club at seven am until the last stragglers left at gone eight pm. The course itself was in great conditions given the recent weather, fairways rock hard with the ball rolling miles, but the greens taking well hit shots properly, rolling true, and remarkably quick despite no rain for the past month, and being too cold for the grass to start growing properly since course maintenance was carried out in March. Lunch was excellent as was the winelist!! Everyone who played was highly complimentary of the whole set up and are very keen to return next year
Was very fortunate to play this course recently and was not disappointed. From hello to goodbye, Bearwood Lakes was excellent. Staff in the club house and pro shop were polite and attentive, making our early arrival enjoyable as we relaxed on the club house balcony taking in the views.
The course itself was in excellent condition tee to green, each hole providing its own individual challenge.
Full credit to all at Bearwood Lakes and thank you for allowing us to enjoy your course