East Berkshire Golf Club was founded in 1903 and Peter Paxton originally designed the course. Peter was born in Musselburgh, known locally as the “honest toune” on the east coast of Scotland. Paxton became famous as a club maker who supplied the Royal Family with clubs and balls. He had one hundred acres in total to use at East Berkshire but, by using his flair and ingenuity, he shaped a rather desolate piece of heathland into a fine golf course. Little has since changed.
The par three 5th is very special and certainly the signature hole at East Berkshire. The green is well protected by a ditch to the front, a lateral ditch with out-of-bounds to the left and a very hungry bunker on the right. The tee shot must carry 150 yards over rough ground to reach the green. With trees on either side, this is a tough par three.
The East Berkshire Stag was introduced in 1976 – a competition open to amateur golfers with a handicap of six and under. The first winner of the event was none other than Sandy Lyle with a two round total of 141.
The greens are a credit at East Berkshire – fast and undulating and will always test golfers of all levels. In fact, the whole experience is memorable. Many holes have a tremendous backdrop of trees that make up the western end of the Forest of Windsor. There are some tee shots that must cross directly over the previously played green, but whereas this may be a problem elsewhere, at East Berkshire it’s a sign that the meagre acreage has been used wisely.
At less than 6,500 yards, the course is not long by modern standards but the constant encounter with doglegs, tree-lined fairways, carries across streams and the tangly heather will tax the skills of many a golfer intent on playing to handicap. It is a very attractive course and whomever decides to play here will be assured of an enjoyable round from start to finish.
August 22, 2006