For a very reasonable green fee, East Berkshire offers what one might consider a ‘mini Wentworth’ golfing experience. Based on my experience of other similarly-ranked courses East Berkshire’s ranking is just about spot on. Even in October, the conditioning of the course exceeded my expectations. Clearly the greenkeeping staff and the members make great efforts to look after it, with unrepaired pitchmarks a rare sight. The greens had been hollow tined recently and I imagine their speed was down on their peak condition. Nevertheless, the only problem I experienced with the greens was the vandalized trio of 8-10 that were replaced with temporaries (as advised in pro shop before paying a reasonable, reduced green fee). The holes play to a variety of directions (to varying lengths) which coupled with a swirling breeze can challenge even the best golfer. The short but narrow 1st is an early risk/reward tempter which if it appeared later in the round would incite more risk taking. For me the pick of the holes was the 3rd. Devoid of a single bunker or serious water hazard, the only way to reach the green in regulation is to take driver and hug the left hand side with its OOB, trees and railway line (a plus point in my book) to avoid being blocked out by tall trees on the right. The need to shape the ball (both ways) or hit precise lines off the tee on the 3rd and many other holes means that the course is not overpowered by modern equipment, despite only just surpassing 6,000 yards from the yellows. The concerned ‘pro tips’ advice on the course planner suggests the course becomes more challenging in hard-running conditions. I hope to try it out again some time to see how it plays in summer.
Date: October 14, 2011