Frilford Heath (Red) - Oxfordshire - England

Frilford Heath Golf Club,
Abingdon,
Oxon,
OX13 5NW,
England


  • +44 (0) 1865 390864


“Frilford is only seven miles from Oxford,” said Bernard Darwin in his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, “but it might be a hundred miles from anywhere. It lies on a little unfrequented by-road, and is utterly rural and peaceful a spot as could be found anywhere. Here is sand enough and to spare – a wonderful oasis in the desert of mud.”

There’s a bit more traffic on the roads these days, but Frilford Golf Club is still tranquil and the club now boasts three courses, the Red, Green and Blue, 54 holes in total. The original course, the Red, was designed by J.H. Taylor in 1908 and was modified in the early 1920s by the Frilford club professional, J.H. Turner. The Red is still considered the best of the trio, even though the original opening holes were altered in the early 1990s to cater for the development of the new Blue course.

The Red course is a demanding par 72 layout, measuring more than 7,000 yards from the tips. The front nine is more challenging and balanced than the back nine, with two par threes and two par fives. But it’s the par fours, especially the 5th, 7th and 8th that stand out, all measuring well over 400 yards from the medal tees. The 9th hole is the signature hole, a pretty par three, measuring over 180 yards, where the tee shot must carry a pond and avoid the out-of-bounds behind the elevated green. The back nine opens up with the longest hole on the course and finishes with seven consecutive par fours.

Given the quality and quantity of courses at Frilford Heath, it is surprising that the club’s reputation is not more widely known and recognised. The land is delightfully undulating, perfect for golf, and the club is rightfully proud of the fact that the sandy soil allows all-year-round play. The greens at Frilford are amongst the very best in the land and they are also trying hard to encourage the regeneration of heathland indigenous flora. That has to be good news because Frilford Heath is a natural and traditional place.

“Taking it altogether the golf is both good and difficult,” wrote Darwin, “and besides that, Frilford is essentially one of those places where it is good to be alive with a golf club in one’s hand – even if one uses it indifferently – and whither one looks forward to returning with a very keen enjoyment.”

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Reviews for Frilford Heath (Red)

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Description: "Frilford Heath is essentially one of those places where it is good to be alive with a golf club in one’s hand," wrote Darwin. Rating: 6.4 out of 10 Reviews: 18
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James Telfer

A golfing Mecca! Positive vibes began driving through the front entrance and down the tree lined lane towards the pro shop building. Like Augusta National’s Magnolia Lane I have only ever seen on TV!

The condition of the adjacent putting green was superb. So smooth and fast! This mirrored the condition of the greens on the course. The par four 18th was my favourite hole on the red side.

After the round I enjoyed lunch in the club house and got the feeling that Frilford Heath is a true golfers paradise. I would highly recommend it and I will be taking the long trip from Kent to play again very soon.

September 24, 2021
8 / 10
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Chris Wanless

Frilford Heath occupies a huge piece of land just 20 minutes south of Oxford and boasts three 18-hole courses. So big, in fact, is the plot, that you need to take a 5-minute drive just to visit the courses driving range.

The Red course is Frilford’s premier course and is a tough Par 72 that requires accuracy off the tee to score well. The course is long playing over 7000 off the tips and although in the summer the course firms and offers run, this is countered by the length of the rough just yards from the fairway.

This is a tough course and in the summer, extremely penal and in parts unnecessarily so. The front 9 is tougher than the back, so hold your score till the turn and try to make up shots on the way home.

The course takes a while to warm up, with plenty of back and forth solid holes requiring a long and well placed tee shot. The course holds more intrigue from the 9th onwards where the routing becomes more interesting and allows you to think about where to place shots from the tee to have the best angle of attack. There are plenty of good holes on the back 9 and the closing stretch from 13 – 18 is very solid.

A final comment for the greens that were superb throughout. Great condition and ran true.

Frilford Heath is certainly a club worth visiting if in the area.

For all photos of reviews, please follow Chris’ Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/top.100.golf/

June 16, 2021
6 / 10
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Greg Watson

Set my sights on playing this course for a long time and wanted it to be my 500th course. The course did not disappoint and was fabulous, the layout reminded me so much of Formby and Ganton, heathland fairways and rough peppered with gorse. The greens were true, fast and undulating, driving lines were tight and well guarded with bunkering that awaited slightly errant drives. First class course, layout and facilities.

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July 27, 2020
8 / 10
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Peter Handcock

The more I play the Red, the less I like it. The holes are very up and down, making it quite repetitive. This is especially true on the front nine. The course does finish strong though, with 13-18 all good par 4s.

The condition is always good, and it gets firm in summer which I really like.

April 11, 2020
6 / 10
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RM61

Frilford Heath is set in the heart of Oxfordshire and with 54 holes on offer gives plenty of variety to both members and visitors. Of the three courses I prefer the Red which like Blue and Green has a heathland feel to it with firm fast fairways lined intermittently with gorse. The Red has a nice mixture of holes with long and short par 4’s, doglegs and good bunker placement. Holes 7,9 and 15 are the best of the bunch. The conditioning has always been good at Frilford and I can see why this course is on the cusp of the Top 100 in England.

April 11, 2020
6 / 10
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Ian Cranidge

I really can’t decide whether I think the red course is good track or merely above average. I played it in late July 2019 on warm blustery afternoon, perfect conditions for a heathland course which needs the wind to offer a defence. Frilford Heath (Red) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer Perhaps my views were influenced partly by the poor condition of numerous fairways and tees, lots of bare grassless patches and rabbit damage everywhere, I really expect better at £95 a round! The course is routed through a flat heathland site, similar to Walton Heath but without the elevation change unfortunately. There are however plenty of good elements to enjoy, excellent greens, clever bunkering and a strong mix of short and long par 4’s, the 7th, 8th and 13th being the stand outs for me and the front 9 finishing with a great par 3 that demands an iron shot of high quality to Frilford Heath (Red) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer find the putting surface. The back 9 isn’t so good with it feeling like something of a grind after the last par 3, the round finishes with a rather odd short par 4, a large bunker sits in the middle of the fairway forcing to you to hit an iron but none defending the green. I did like the fact they only allow 2 balls on the red so pace of play was great, barely saw anyone else on the course! The clubhouse is in the traditional style (with decent food), its terrace is a nice place to sit and contemplate the round you’ve played. Overall it’s a 3.5 ball course for me.

July 24, 2019
5 / 10
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Ed Battye

The Red course, generally regarded as the best of the trio, is of a similar mould to the Green, however, it’s a much sterner test.

The par for the course is 72 whilst SSS is 74 from the championship tees. Stretched to almost 7,000 yards you not only have to be straight off the tee to stay out of the many gorse-lined fairways but at times length is also essential. However, due to the fast running nature of the fairways, the course doesn’t play as long as other inland layouts of similar length and there are a handful of relatively short par fours thrown into the mix too.

Once again you have 18 solid and mostly very good holes but without any approaching the truly outstanding mark. After a slow start I particularly liked the stretch of holes from five to eight whilst the 10th and 15th are also superb holes. There is certainly more variety in the shots you will need to play on the Red course versus the Green.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

April 12, 2017
6 / 10
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Tony White
With the recent improvements to the course this is now definitely a top 100 course, it has the feel of a proper Championship layout. So much so that when I next visit here I fully intend to play this course twice, as good as the other two are, the Red is now way ahead in terms of enjoyment. We started on the 10th this time, and I must say the front nine make a great back nine with 7, 8 and 9 being an excellent finish to the round, we are going to do this every time now. Didn't like the new bunker on 18, the other one was perfect for maximum options. The condition was amazing for February. I'm giving it 6 balls for absolute fun and enjoyment, unlike some other top courses,where it can get brutal, the Red is perfect as you get a good challenge as well. I know this will be contentious, but the experience really was that good.
February 27, 2016
10 / 10
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Tony
February 27, 2016
If the new bunker on 18 was put I to protect the members car park I think it will have the opposite effect. You have now eliminated the 3 wood option. So it is now long iron/rescue or driver, I believe a higher percentage will use driver rather than long iron but maybe would've chosen 3 wood given the option. Only time will tell.
Ed Tilley
Recently rejoined Frilford after 20 years - I was a junior member. Whilst a previous reviewer is right that the new holes (2-4) as a result of the building of the Blue Course are not as good as the old holes, this was over 20 years ago so we need to move on!This is the longest and toughest of the 3 courses at Frilford and probably the best, although I have a soft spot for the Green. The setting is very tranquil and pleasant but there is no great elevation change so nothing to get really excited about. The club have added and moved several bunkers in the last year to make them more relevant to the modern game. On the whole, this has been very well done. The course is usually in great shape, very fast and firm fairways with top class greens.Not exceptional but very good and very pleasant. On the fringes of the top 100 in England, and with 2 other courses to choose from, well worth a visit.
August 17, 2015
6 / 10
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David Baxter
The Red used to be my favourite at Frilford, but I'm afraid the changes to the opening holes (especially 2 to 4) to accommodate the Blue seem just so out of character to the rest of the course that I now prefer the Green. Still worth playing but not as good as it was
August 16, 2015
4 / 10
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