An unusually hilly course for Cambridgeshire with some great views, especially from the 13th across the University City to Ely cathedral beyond (on a clear day). The Old is ostensibly a downland course on free-draining chalk that plays in part like an inland links.
The first two holes head uphill where there's an intimidating tee shot on #2 over a quarry where the carry is insignificant but it can cause golfers to crumble. The next few holes feel very much in the heathland mould flanked by pines.
The Old has a great collection of par threes. The 9th maybe the weakest hole of the bunch even though it has a good green complex, whereas the long one-shot 13th is stellar. The descent starts at #16 which is a corking par four with an inviting elevated tee. but watch out for the Braid-esque cross-bunkers. Before you tee off at #16, take a look at the club's spare 37th hole to the right of the 16th tee box. It's a lovely hole that I've played a couple of times but is rarely in use.
The Old course is 100% well playing if you're anywhere near Cambridge. It's packed full of variety and it's genuinely fun and entertaining. Don't hold up big Russell Claydon!
Date: September 23, 2004