The Golden Bear team of Jack and his son Steve worked their magic on Carden Park’s Nicklaus course and it opened for play in July 1998. It was quickly recognised by a leading golf magazine as one of the ten best new courses to have opened since 1996. The historic 17th century Carden Park estate occupies some 750 acres of prime Cheshire countryside and has become a golfing Mecca in the northwest of England; it’s worth a detour on the way to the links wonderland between Liverpool and Blackpool.
The Nicklaus course has appeared highly in our rankings but has recently fallen from favour. So, what is it really like? Well, it's a tough golf course but then it would be, wouldn’t it, if Nicklaus had a hand in it, it was bound to be challenging.
Park-like ground is not always conducive to all-weather golf, but the drainage has been installed well. The conditioning of the course is generally good and the holes are typically Nicklaus-like, pleasurable but eminently fair, everything is laid out clearly in front of you. There are two double fairways, there’s plenty of water and many strategically placed bunkers. Additionally, as is normal on Nicklaus courses, there are plenty of teeing areas, five in total. Consequently, it makes the course playable for golfers of all standards. Measuring a chunky 7,045 yards from the black tees to a leisurely 5,211 yards from the reds.
In essence, the Nicklaus course at Carden Park is fun. It holds your interest very well. It isn’t the most inspiring piece of parkland in the world, but Nicklaus has made full use of the land that was readily available. Despite being in its infancy, the Nicklaus course at Carden Park has already played host to the PGA Seniors Tour on two occasions.
This is a strange one... quite frankly, I didn’t know what to make of it. I probably felt a bit disappointed due to the Nicklaus name.
Without a doubt the layout is above average but when you consider courses that Jack has designed this is hardly in keeping with it. The set out accompanied with the hotel, spa and the driving range is fantastic. The clubhouse is fabulous too.... but there was nothing above average about the course, I’m afraid.
There are some lovely holes, and some nice views. However I didn’t leave thinking that I’d like to play one particular hole again. One of my fourball suggested the course had just landed on a farmers field.
Condition wise the greens were good albeit it very slow. The rough was poorly defined in terms of there was no semi cut. Given the pandemic their was no rakes so it’s unfair to discuss the bunkers. The fairways are in need of sprinklers in order to create the lush surface a good drive deserves.
Yes I would play it again... yes it’s good... it’s just not in keeping with the good name of Jack Nicklaus.
A very nice golf course, excellent facility and a great day to be had if you also play (as noted in the main review) the superior Cheshire course which has some great fun golf with changes of elevation and green locations (4 ball).