The Forest of Arden is a set amidst the trout lakes of Lord Aylesford’s vast 10,000-acre estate at Packington Park. Founded in 1970 and designed by Donald Steel, the Arden course was a regular European Tour venue and has hosted the British Masters and the English Open.
Despite the fact that the Arden is a modern course, Steel has blended the layout nicely into the natural landscape. The majestic oaks, especially prevalent on the back nine, make the layout seem much more mature than it really is. The Arden’s challenge is significant, especially from the back tees – 7,134 yards. But even from the regular yellow tees, the course measures a healthy 6,500 yards.
This is a quality course, set in very pleasant surroundings. It can sometimes feel a lot longer than its advertised yardage because the ground, especially in the winter, becomes soft. The rough can be extremely trying; it’s invariably lush and thick, making recovery shots very tough indeed. In terms of conditioning, the Arden is usually maintained immaculately from tee to green. If you are fortunate enough to play the course prior to, or just after, a European Tour event, you are in for an absolute treat.
Opening gently with two short par fours, it’s not long before the Arden’s real test begins. The sequence of holes from the 6th through to the 9th is superb. The 8th is a wonderful short par three, where the green is guarded by water on two sides. The back nine is the most memorable, not only for the ancient oak trees, but also for the closing two holes, which are technically excellent and very exciting. The 17th is a par five where a bunker to the left and a lake to the right jealously guard the green. Only the crispest of approach shots will find the putting surface. Beware of the closing hole. It’s an intimidating par three, requiring a long, forced carry across a lake.
It’s always enjoyable to play a championship course of the pedigree of the Forest of Arden, but it’s especially pleasing when the service and the facilities are this good.
The Arden course is head and shoulders above it's sister course, the Aylesford Course, but a golf break playing both whilst staying in the hotel is a nice treat and with good practice facilities and coaching on hand, it's worth adding this Hotel and Country Club to your weekend away/society roster.
As many other reviewers have all pointed out, the back 9 on the Arden outshines the front, although holes 6 - 9 for me are worthy of note, as each presented a different strategic and visual challenge, something which I appreciated after a more pedestrian start to the course.
I've never been a big fan of water, as the sole reason for a hole to become challenging or as a reason to bring more visual interest to what may otherwise be a bland hole, however over the years and perhaps as I have played them better, I've grown to get on with them, if not actually like them. Here at the Arden, the 8th and the much vaunted 18th are the better water holes, although the 18th should not prove be an issue providing you hit your chosen club well as the water is quite a lot shy of the green.
The back 9 is a step up and wends through more mature and ancient trees, less open, mix of heathland/parkland in feel than the front, and the last 2 holes are good to finish the round. Again, never a big fan of par 3 finishers, but I seem to have increasingly played them this year, this hole sets up a great finish in any close match.
Overall, I'm glad I played here and whilst the Aylesford is not at the same level, I wouldn't deem it awful, it's just not at the same standard, but as a 2 round/1 night stay over the combination works well.
Nice course with a good contrast between the front and back nines.
A gentle first 2 holes to open but the course gets going with a pretty dogleg 4th. The 6th requires a good carry over a treacherous set of fairway bunkers and the 8th is a nice par 3 which demands a solid carry over the water.
The back 9 switches to a more traditional heathland feel with 13 and 14 being tough, though it is the 2 par 5s at 12 and 17 that stick in the memory for me with both tempting you to go for the wonder shot over water if you get a decent drive away (which I did not!).
The course finishes strongly with 18 being a decent length par 3 over water providing some great matchplay possibilities. Overall we were very impressed by the Arden course and I think it matches up strongly to the better known Belfry.
Front 9 is just a generic new golf course covered in lakes with the usual geese and their droppings everywhere.
Back 9 however is absolutely stunning weaving it’s way through the trees and ferns! Wild deer roam the fairways!
If your on a golf trip to the hotel and your playing it then you will like it but not really worth a trip in itself just to play the course.
Nice course. Over- hyped in my opinion. Some nice holes but I feel there are better courses in the region.
We enjoyed a two day trip to the Forest of Arden and played both the Arden and Aylesford. The Arden is definitely the superior course. The course uses the water intelligently both as a feature and as a hazard on several of the front nine holes. The back nine is feels much more like a ancient parkland course, the deer amble through the course without a single care which really adds a wonderful element to what is already a beautiful course. The condition of the course is fantastic and the facilities brilliant.
Played and stayed a number of years ago. Front nine is instantly forgettable, although it is challenging and somewhat strategic it lacks character. Back nine much more interesting, lovely setting in the deer park and some good holes. Conditioning was good too.
3 balls for the front nine, 4 balls for the back nine.
PS: The Aylesford course here is dreadful - don't go near it.
Generally the course has a nice layout and was in good condition when we played it at the very beginning of October. In terms of playing I would rate it around 3.5 or 4, however, it took us 5 hours to play having been held up on every single hole. No course Marshall’s came out to try to move play on which didn’t help.
Whilst some courses always take ,inter due to their difficulty or layout, this is not really the case here and a round should. It really take over 4 hours.
No one in our group would want to come back which at the end of the day is a good verdict on a course which is a shame as the course is pretty good.
The Arden course on the large and well facilitated Marriott owned resort, is a treat from the first tee to the 18th green. We were fortunate enough to play two weeks ahead of the european tour, the condition of the course was immaculate with the greens running pure and the fairways lush.
The track starts fairly forgiving but starts to pick up as you work your way through the front 9. Many say the Arden is a tale of two halves and I couldn't agree more. The front 9 features alot of water, countless white bunkers guarding landing spots and the large greens, the back 9 switches the look and feel to a more traditional british heathland style, with huge fern bushes lining the fairways for a real unique golfing experience. Holes 4 and 16 are great short par 4's enticing you to take on as much of the corner as you dare, with water guarding both greens short and left. The closing holes of 17 and 18 are also worthy of note, a great run into the clubhouse with the final hole, a near 200 yard par 3 over water, one of the most intimidating in the area.
Overall a fantastic experience on the arden course, a perfectly manicured track with memorable holes galore. Certainly not an easy test at 6500 yards, however there is little elevation change which make the course relatively easy walking. Plenty of memorable holes throughout the sprawling layout, and the view from the back of the 18th green is worth a visit alone.
This course has previously hosted professional events such as the British Masters & English Open, and to this day still hosts the European Senior Masters. It is a resort style course, but still has some interesting holes. It would be lazy to compare it to the nearby Belfrys Brabazon course but for me this is probably the most similar course I have played to it. In general there are big greens, dog legs, and lots of water. On the front 9, I enjoyed the double green that 3 and 6 shares. On the back, it’s nice to see the deer running around, something not seen at every course. Some of my favourites holes on this 9 include the par 3 15th that has an interesting green, the short par 4 16th, and although there isn’t much in it apart from the long carry, I think the 18th is a strong finishing hole.
The Arden course at Forest of Arden is a tail of two halves. The front 9 is rather uninspiring although it has some interesting features such at the double green on holes 3 and 6…the 4th is probably the most interesting hole which dog legs from left to right and water protecting the green. The back 9 is far more interesting with the standout holes being the 12th a par 5 which the player can reach with two good shots although water guards the front of the green. Hole 17 the other par 5 on this nine is excellent with a premium on accuracy from the tee as the trees tend to encroach the fairway. The second shot to this green is again protected by water. Hole 18 is the signature hole at Forest of Arden, a long par 3 over a lake (which is not in play) to a rather large green with bunkers guarding the entrance. I have played the course on a number of occasions and the conditioning has been relatively good for a resort and due to location Forest of Arden will always be popular for groups of golfers.