Bearwood Lakes - Berkshire - England

Bearwood Lakes Golf Club,
Bearwood Road,
Sindlesham,
Nr. Wokingham,
Berkshire,
RG41 4SJ,
England


  • +44 (0) 118 979 7900


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.

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Reviews for Bearwood Lakes

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Description: Bearwood Lakes is an oasis of calm and beauty with dramatic views of the whole Bearwood Estate. An exclusive golf club which appears mature beyond its age. Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Reviews: 60
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Dickie Duckett
I have only played Bearwood Lakes twice, and in winter months, but it has certainly impressed me with its attractive and varied layout - several of the holes are spectacular and all pose an interesting challenge. As an added attraction, it would be hard to beat the friendly welcome by the clubhouse staff.
April 29, 2008
8 / 10
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paul turner
No, this course is a bit of a yawn. There must be 500 similar courses in the USA alone and if 6 balls represents one of the best in the world (Pine Valley et al), then Bearwood Lakes is worth about 3.
March 12, 2008
4 / 10
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Scott
March 30, 2008
I'm not sure how anybody who has played this course could 'yawn'. Huge on course variety - parkland, woodland, heathland, water, terrifc terrain and undulation - make this course more interesting than (in my opinion) any other in the region. A valid criticism might be that it is a very 'American' style of course and so out of keeping with the style of the heathland tracks (though in my opinion, variety in the area is no bad thing - vive le difference). It's also not remotely true to say that there are 500 similar courses in the US - Bearwood has somthing very rare, a very fine piece of land complimented by very skillful design. Boring? Complete nonsense.
Paul James Brown
June 01, 2009
I think this particular reviewer must of played bearwood! Not Bearwood Lakes!
GARETH
One of attractions of playing Bearwood Lakes is that is relatively unknown compared to some the courses in the surrounding area. However once you play the course and enjoy the top notch facilities you will certainly tell all your friends about it. I would agree with an earlier comment about the course lacking a little definition out of season but that is addressed during the Spring/summer months when the rough is left to encroach. I also am a member (interesting to see a few others reviewing here!) and before taking that decision considered just about every other well thought of club in the Surrey/Berkshire area. For me the decision was made in the first five minutes of arriving there, even though it was the club furthest away from my home. There are no "weak" holes on the course at all and the only changes I personally would advocate would be; 1. The par 5 2nd and 11th holes should be a little longer to make them a full 3 shot hole. 2. Introduction of Heather/gorse to add some colour and maturity all year round-a la Sunningdale etc. 3. Introduce a hazard in front of the par 5 16th green as this looks a shade featureless in my opinion. Also the tee for this hole is a little "lost" and could do with re-positioning or perhaps elevation maybe. But overall I'm nitpicking here given what a great club and course it is. Enjoy when you have the chance to!
March 10, 2008
10 / 10
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Played Bearwood based on the recomendations below and was not dissappointed. This is a fabulous course in a stunning setting. This is one of the best inland courses in the UK and I think over time will become known as classic. I read recently that Martin Hawtree, Bearwood's designer, has been selected by Donald Trump to build the new course up in Aberdeen. Hawtree also did the refurbs at Birkdale, Carmoustie, Lahinch and Portmarnock. As his profile increases, I think Bearwood will start to get the recognition it deserves. I will certainly be back.
October 20, 2007
10 / 10
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Sally Trinder
Three lady golfing frineds and I recently visited Bearwood Lakes, between Reading and Wokingham. We play many courses and all agreed Bearwood Lakes is quite outstanding. Set in a beautiful wooded landscape, it was in superb condition, with many holes involving the waters of a huge lake. The clubhouse is lovely and the food and service excellent. Don't miss any chance you have to play it!
October 15, 2007
8 / 10
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Daniel Lightfoot
It s great to see some excellent debate on on what is a wonderful golf course. It is a shame people continually compare it with some of the older, established heathand golf courses in Surrey as it is a very different golf course altogether. However "typical modern american parkland"!!!. If it is I cannot wait to play every other golf course built in the last 11 years if this is an example of a typical golf course!!!The golf course should be judged, in many cases, as a product in its own right. The architecture is fair for the moden player with well placed bunkers to account for the development in club technology. The conditioning is always superb and the views stunning. The topography and routing is well thought out and the clubhouse is extremely welcoming. BLGC is a great golf course and well worth a visit.
October 03, 2007
10 / 10
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paul turner
Given the paucity of good golf course being built in The Isles in the past generation this is pretty good. But to put it at the top of British inland courses is way off the mark. For thos who haven't played it, take a good look at the pics above and you'll see a fairly typical modern American style design with bulldozer shaping (pic 9 for example).
September 30, 2007
4 / 10
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Paul
October 01, 2007
I am not quite sure how anyone no matter what their taste in golf could ever call Bearwood average (3 ball) in relation to UK golf courses. Even though I have a natural bias for heathland, I think Bearwood stacks up very well against all of the decent heathland tracks and is better overall than the majority – excluding heathland or links, I think it is by some way the best course I have played in the country. It also has one of the best pieces of land for an inland golf course anywhere in the UK.
David Newling ward
October 02, 2007
As the owner and developer of Bearwood lakes I am obviously biased, but to mark the course down to 3 golf balls because you consider it to be 'a typical American style design with bulldozer shaping' seems rather odd. Bulldozers or mechanical diggers have been used in the construction of every worthwhile course for the past 60 to 100 years. When building Bearwood Lakes we were fortunate to have an outstanding piece of land that needed very little 'bulldozing' apart of course from the construction of the greens, tees and some landing areas. You seem to be denigrating Bearwood Lakes just because it is new, I don't know of any 'typical modern American design' inland course in England that incorporate 50 acres of original lakes, with stunning views of the impressive Bearwood mansion or that has half of its holes lined by mature trees or that has such a change in elevation across it's 200 acres? Not to mention the brilliant condition of the course throughout the year. Obviously the reviewer is entitled to his views, which I have no doubt are genuinly given, but I am delighted that critics of the calibre of Brian McCallum and the great majority of other reviewers rate Bearwood Lakes amongst the best inland courses in Britain. David Newling Ward, Chairman, Bearwood Lakes Golf Club.
Carl
May 25, 2009
The term 'bulldozer' seems to be used in pejorative terms. But lets not forget architects like Colt were famous for their mounding. They might not have been so big as a few men and some shovels are no match for a caterpillar but I bet he would have used them. I'll be playing it in two weeks time as a guest and I am a lover of traditional links and heathland so if it is a 'standard American course' then it won't be good. But somehow from the rest of the comments I don't think it will be.
steve
To the person above all the courses in surrey are good heathland courses. Bearwood lakes is a parkland so they are played in totally different ways.You obviously like the hard fairways and car park geens in summer.When you play Bearwood it is a target golf type of course so it is different type of golf.The course is in superb condition throughout spring and summer.Very memorable because it had very testing fast greens which were very receptive
September 29, 2007
4 / 10
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James Statton
October 03, 2007
I was rather bemused by your review. You appear to be disagreeing with the review of the 23rd of September that awarded the course only 4 golf balls and that compares Bearwood Lakes unfavourably to the Surrey heathland courses, you then proceed to compliment Bearwood Lakes on it’s condition, greens etc however you only award it 3 golf balls! This is the lowest rating the course has received – was this a mistake?
steve
October 04, 2007
yes this was a mistake. I meant to put 6 balls however I was so keen to post my reply that i forgot to change the rating.
Paul
November 19, 2007
The guy doesn't know what he's talking about! Had an awesome round with the junior pro Jon. Thanks Jon - i'll be back! (6 balls)
Neville Nerwich
“What a truly fine course. It speaks for itself. Great piece of land, great design. Nearly a week later, I can remember every hole. Bearwood Lakes is as good an inland course as I have played anywhere in the UK, and better than many I have played that enjoy loftier reputations” – Brian McCallen, probably the world’s leading golf course critic, writes of Bearwood Lakes.“With such an abundance of great, old golfing establishments in Britiain, every new development faces increased scrutiny. Bearwood Lakes compares favourably with the very best of the more mature layouts. Bearwood Lakes is a fabulous layout offering an interesting alternative to the heathland tracks of the Home Counties” – Golf Monthly, when awarding Bearwood Lakes a gold medal in its regional ranking.So don’t worry James, the experts also agree with you. I must declare that I am a member here, so I will leave it to the experts to give their views…
September 24, 2007
10 / 10
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Paul Nash
I have read the flurry of new postings over the past few weeks with great interest. I completely agree with James and the majority of reviews except Mr 20th September – to say that Bearwood is forgettable is one of the strangest assessments I have ever heard, and I have read nearly all the reviews on this site and played many of the top courses in the South East and some further away – it feels memorable just going up the driveway, and even more so with the view from the clubhouse, and that is even before you start playing golf! I also agree with James that Bearwood is a better course than Wentworth West and Walton Heath which, despite being nice courses are, I feel, punching above their weight in the rankings due to history – I would prefer St Georges Hill to these two but am not sure if it as rounded overall as Bearwood. Unlike James, I must confess that I am a member and therefore could be accused of bias, but Bearwood is still one of my very favourite courses to play – even yesterday with the rough cut down and the greens not great after course-maintenance the week before, it was thoroughly enjoyable and it always makes you feel special – and there are not many other courses where I could say that about – Woodhall Spa and Hankley Common being two examples. There are 18 very good gold holes at Bearwood with several truly excellent ones (2-7, 10-14 and 18) and that is what elevates it above the good into the very good – the only main thing that I would say counts slightly against it, is that it is better with the rough up and therefore, maybe, too reliant on the rough – I would prefer to see slightly less rough and more gorse, heather, trees, rhododendrons, lakes, bunkers or other features to give a bit more definition through the autumn and winter. After closely following the rankings and the changes in the rankings over the past few years, it is nice to see Bearwood moving up the field. Ranking courses is a very hard, inexact and subjective measure and it is only through some of the more open schemes – such as this website and Golf Monthly, which uses lots of club golfers – that people can see more reflective, honest and unbiased reviews and a more accurate list of the best golf courses. It is not the difficulty, exclusivity or what tournaments you have held that should count; it is the overall package of course design, challenge, variety (only 1 par 5 on certain older heathland courses such as Swinley, for instance, will count against on this measure), aesthetic qualities, the piece of land itself and how well a course fits into the surrounding landscape, conditioning, and the overall enjoyment that golfers of all standards get out of the experience that need to be judged. On all measures, I think Bearwood scores highly – and Bearwood in the summer when the rough is up, the sun is out and the greens are running at up to 13 on the stimp takes a lot of beating! I also applaud the decision of the management to open up Bearwood for limited play to non members in the week as hopefully more people will get the opportunity to experience one of the country’s best courses. Paul, Wokingham
September 24, 2007
10 / 10
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