16,500-acre Cowdray Estate lies close to Midhurst in West Sussex,
within the South Downs National Park, where the family of Viscount
Cowdray have been in residence since 1908. The property also features
the Grade I listed ruins of Cowdray House, one of England’s great
Tudor houses, which was largely destroyed by fire in 1793.
estate is probably best known for the Cowdray Park Polo Club, host to
the British Open Polo Championships which are held here every year,
but there are a few other sporting options available to visitors;
including clay pigeon shooting, fly fishing on the River Rother and,
of course, golf on a 6,331-yard 18-hole course.
by the firm of Fowler, Abercromby, Simpson and Croome, this wonderful old par-70
layout has been in use for more than a hundred years now, with
fairways blending beautifully into their surroundings as they meander
around a lightly wooded downland landscape. Such a tranquil
environment is really the most peaceful of places to play the royal
and ancient game of golf.
are only two par fives on the scorecard, both of which arrive on the
front nine – at the 549-yard 5th and 550-yard 8th – and these
holes present a decent chance of making a birdie. On the other hand,
don’t expect to beat par at the 427-yard 2nd, rated stroke index 2,
where the fairway narrows into a gully then climbs sharply uphill to
a sand-protected raised green.
overall length of the inward half is five hundred yards shorter than
the front nine, but it’s precision, not power, that pays dividends
at Cowdray Park, and the par four 14th is a great example – the
fairway falls away sharply on the right so a pushed drive is punished
and an approach played to the wrong level of the multi-tiered green
is straying into 3-putt territory.
of the greens were recently reconstructed and there’s an ongoing
upgrade programme to rebuild all of the teeing areas. Holes are
lightly bunkered, true to the original design intent, and no
additional sand hazards have been added to try and “trick up” the
course. In essence, the course that golfers enjoy today is an
authentic one that’s been in operation since 1904.
2018, the club renovated its clubhouse bar, creating a dedicated
dining area, casual seating space and a soft seating area, with Lady
Cowdray overseeing the interior design of this stylish, modern and
welcoming facility. The 18th century Golf Lodge, fashioned from the
old clubhouse, also offers comfortable overnight accommodation for up
to sixteen guests.