Dunstable Downs - Bedfordshire - England

Dunstable Downs Golf Club,
Whipsnade Road,
LU6 2NB,

  • +44 (0) 1582 604472

  • Stephen Bryan

  • James Braid

  • Darren Charlton

The course at Dunstable Downs sits at an elevation of nearly eight hundred feet above sea level and it occupies a spectacular setting in the Chiltern Hills with commanding vistas across several counties, from Surrey in the south to Northamptonshire in the north.

Twenty-four years after its formation, the club acquired land at Downs Farm, close to where its course was set out on common land, before engaging James Braid to design a new 18-hole layout for the membership.

According to the book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses by John F. Moreton and Iain Cumming, “by designing nine holes in the valley and nine on the high ground Braid maximised the variety of the terrain available while taking advantage of the views.”

It continues: “The course was opened without ceremony on 26th September 1931, its yardage being 6,579 yards, longer than today. The course today is virtually the same, only the numbering changed, to fit in with the changed site of the clubhouse.”

The modern day configuration of the course sees golfers tackle the only two par fives on the card at holes 1 and 3. Later on, they face the most difficult hole on the course at the 452-yard 8th (“Braid’s Best”), a long, left doglegged par four.

On the back nine – where holes 10 to 17 are all par fours – the round concludes with a very testing, 170-yard par three (“Death or Glory”), where the home green is encircled by no fewer than nine bunkers.
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Description: Dunstable Downs Golf Club is set spectacularly on high ground with holes routed over free-draining, chalky ground. Renowned for its hard and fast greens this golf course is indeed “A Breath of Fresh Air”. Rating: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 2

A game at Dunstable is really enjoyable and although both the front and the back nine are par-35, there is a clear distinction between them. On the front, it is not until the 7th hole that you play a hole with the same par as the previous hole, this does wonders for variety and keeping interest levels very high. The course is way above sea level, so expect a blustery day most times, especially on the back-9 which has the highest ground. A gentle par-5 opens the course up and the 3rd another par-5, at 593 yards and SI-3 is anything but gentle. A couple of mid length par-3’s at the 2nd and 5th are greatDunstable Downs Golf Course - Photo by reviewer fun but it is the 8th and 9th that are the stand-out holes on the front. The 8th is a big par-4 at 452 yards that runs along the south of the course, turns a little left and has an uphill approach to a very small green – the obvious SI-1 hole where a bogey is very good score. After the beating that you take on the 8th, the par-3 9th is SI-18 and only 122 yards and is a delightful short hole with great green-side bunkering all around. The back nine starts with three par-4’s all 400 yards+ which is tough for most but the biggest observation is that these three are the start of a run of eight par-4’s. I would like to see one of these lengthened to a par-5, with the 11th, 12th or the 16th the obvious possibilities. Although the run of all of these par-4’s may not be that common, these is a decent mix of short and long holes. The 14th, named ‘California’ the best of the short style; slightly dog-legging to the right and at 317 yards needs a very accurate tee shot, anything less will leave a blind approach to the green. The round ends with a 170 yard 1-shotter but with ten bunkers protecting, where the green needs to be hit rather than ran up to. A decent course towards the top end of the Bedfordshire rankings and a friendly club too.
4 / 6
Dunstable Downs
October 28, 2015

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3 people found this review helpful
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This is a decent course and deserves a review. There are many plus points: hard fast greens, good layout, natural undulation and views in some places of most of the rest of the country. The Eighth green is exceptional. Sightly surprised that the standard scratch gave me a shot back because the fairways seemed fairly wide and open. But I won't complain at that. It's not an exaggeration to say certain aspects and holes, the second, fourth, eighth in particular wouldn't be out of place on a top 100 course.
4 / 6
Dunstable Downs
July 26, 2015

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5 people found this review helpful
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