119 Golf Links Road,
- +44 (0)1202 653 950
M3, M27, A31 to Ferndown.
Contact in advance - Not Thu<br>and restricted Sat/Sun
Ferndown Golf Club is a pine and heathery heaven, set in pleasing manicured countryside and located a mile or two north of the popular seaside town of Bournemouth. This is where Peter Alliss learnt his trade, for his father, Percy, was the professional here for more than a quarter of a century.
The club was founded in 1912 and Harold Hilton, one of the finest amateur golfers of all time, designed the course. It opened for play in 1914. Hilton won the British Open championship as an amateur twice, a feat only surpassed by Bobby Jones, who was British Open champion on three occasions, also as an amateur.
The Old course at Ferndown Golf Club plays across a sandy outcrop of land where there is a proliferation of heather and pines. It’s an inherently pretty golf course and sometimes Ferndown is bracketed alongside Augusta because of its immaculate tee to green grooming. The hazards at Ferndown are subtle – there are the obvious heather and trees to avoid, but the bunkers are especially well designed and positioned. Steep-lipped sand traps are invariably visible from the tees and the fairways and they certainly concentrate the mind. Many of the holes are dog-legged in shape and tee shot position is critical, rather than sheer length. Ferndown is a course where scoring well depends entirely on whether or not the ball is kept in play.
By today’s standards, the course is fairly short, measuring less than 6,500 yards from the medal tees, but the heathland layout will challenge the very best golfers and will enthral the average handicapper with its inherent beauty. Many important amateur and professional events have been contested over the Old course. In 1989, Ferndown hosted the Women’s British Open. Jane Geddes carded a 67 on the first two days and dominated the tournament from thereon in.
There is no doubt that Ferndown is one of the prettiest and best-conditioned courses in the South and the club is not resting on its laurels. In August 2014, Murray Long was appointed as Courses Manager from Sunningdale Golf Club. Murray has further improved both the quality of the playing surfaces as well as the presentation.
A group of ten of us played here as part of our Dorset tour, playing the shorter Alliss course in the morning and the Old course in the afternoon.
The club itself is clearly the focal point for much of the local wealth and has all the hallmarks of an old, traditional golf club. We were generally made to feel welcome although on arrival the pro seemed to have no record of the email exchange that had made our arrangements several months earlier. We were also gently reminded of the need to have our shirts tucked-in for fear of upsetting the members.
The shorter Alliss course was a nice warm-up for the afternoon; it’s a reasonable length and offers some good challenges, but at £35 is significantly over-priced. As you’d expect the course isn’t as well maintained as it’s bigger brother, but if you can wrap it into a day ticket of some form, as we did, then the cost becomes more reasonable.
Visually, the Old course is very attractive and we all agreed it was a joy to play. The course offers the bigger hitters room off of the tee but the greens themselves provide a defence, since they are very fast and very true (we had been told before playing that they were running to the same stimp reading as Wentworth, which I don’t think we could argue against !) To score well therefore you definitely need your putting shoes on or run the risk of ruining a score. It’s not an overly difficult course and can therefore be very scoreable.
The course winds its way thru beautiful golfing terrain and has some lovely holes. We played the course on a twilight rate, which was extremely good value, however at the full summer rate it arguably becomes quite expensive, especially when compared against its competitors of Broadstone and Remedy Oak. We found both of these courses more challenging, but of the three courses, the greens at Ferndown were definitely the best.
I have had the pleasure of playing Ferndown (Old) for the past few years. It always seems to get better each year. A fantastic course and always a warm welcome. Highly recommend.
If the Old course at Ferndown Golf Club is the fourth best course in Dorset then Broadstone, Remedy Oak and Parkstone must be out of this world. I played Ferndown yesterday and it’s embarrassing for me to admit that this was my first golfing round in Dorset despite the fact I live in an adjoining county (albeit more than 100 miles away). Naturally, I was therefore unable to input into our recent re-ranking of the clubs in Dorset, but my feeling is that we may well have served Ferndown more than a modicum of injustice. The club has commenced a five-year plan to return the course to its heathland roots. Many deciduous trees have been cleared leaving stately pines flanking immaculately groomed fairways that frankly were in better condition than any I’ve seen this year. A number of bunkers have been fringed with heather and the plan is to continue this work over the coming winter. The putting surfaces were simply outstanding and I found myself on the wrong side of the hole on numerous occasions and paid the consequences. There was nothing much I didn’t like at Ferndown. Perhaps I’d pick the blind short par four 16th as a weaker hole, which is an acute dogleg right where there is a sign on the tee stating that if you do take driver and go for the green you are liable for any damage to adjoining properties (of course I played an iron). Perhaps the property doesn’t have vast scale and some of the greens and tees are close together. Apart from these minor points, I think Ferndown is a very good golf course and if I lived in the vicinity I’d apply for membership. As a final point there are some who have stated that Ferndown has a disdainful approach to visitors – if that was the case I did not experience anything other than charm and friendliness from the members and staff I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday. Keith