I played this course in late November and had an outstanding day. The condition of the course, welcome at the club, together with the challenge and variety of the course will make this course one of the very best. The first five holes are played through mature pine trees and are reminiscent of Woburn, particularly the Duke's course. It is a tough start, especially the dogleg par four 3rd, which requires a long straight drive to get to the corner followed by a long iron uphill to a well bunkered, two-tier green with false front. A four is a great score here. The 6th and 7th run alongside woodland and these two visually stunning and challenging holes complete an extremely strong start to the course, surpassing even the first six holes on Woburn Duke's. The course then turns away from the woods from 8th-13th and the challenge becomes strategic bunkering, elevation changes and magnificent views. The bunkering down the right hand side of the 9th is excellent, just on the line you want to hit down, whilst on the par five 13th three large bunkers goad you into trying to hit over them from an elevated tee to enable the green to be reached in two. Finally the course comes back through the pines (14th) and through to a lovely finish of risk-reward holes: 15th, 17th and 18th all represent decent birdie opportunities if the weather and pins allow. The conditioning of the course is outstanding despite its tender age and will undoubtedly surpass Woburn and the Grove in this regard when it matures. The variety of holes - only once are there two consecutive holes of the same par - is similar to the Berkshire (Red) and keeps the interest levels up throughout the round. I stood on the 17th tee feeling slightly beaten up by the course yet disappointed the round would be ending soon. I see this course squarely in the Top100 in Britain in the next few years and pushing the Top 50. If you get a chance, play it.
Date: December 12, 2013