Golf in the Chichester area dates back to 1892 when a club was formed and a rudimentary 9-hole course came into play at Peckham Copse. The club received a noble helping hand at the turn end of the 19th century when the sixth Duke of Richmond offered to move the club to the foxhound kennels on his vast Goodwood Estate. Surely dog kennels would never make a comfortable clubhouse? Well, architect to George III, James Wyatt, designed these kennels in 1787 for the famous Charlton Hunt and they are of significant architectural importance and the finest example of Sussex flint work in the county.
The Duke of Richmond’s estate workers laid out the original course at Goodwood Golf Club, but James Braid designed a proper sporting course in 1914, the essence of which is played today and it still bears many of Braid’s hallmark doglegged holes and intimidating cross bunkering.
Naturally, the chalky South Downs provide not only excellent drainage but also dramatic elevation change, ideal for exciting golf and for panoramic views across the Goodwood Estate to Chichester Cathedral, the Solent and the Isle of Wight beyond.
In 2004, Howard Swan started a lengthy renovation of the historic Downs course. It was extended to a meaty 7,104 yards from the back tees but the integrity of Braid’s original design was cleverly maintained retaining the best of Braid’s holes while also creating holes that cater for today’s big hitting golfers. The new and spectacular par four 2nd is a great example, which combines two of Braid’s original holes. An accurate drive to an escarpment leaves an inviting approach shot to a large green sited in the valley below.
In 1989 Donald Steel added a second course at Goodwood Golf Club, known as the Park course and it’s open for pay and play amongst the majestic cedars. Unfortunately, the Downs course is only open to members and their guests unless you book a golf day and invite all your golfing friends to experience the best downland golf course in Britain.
In 2014, Goodwood commissioned Mackenzie &
Ebert to refurbish the bunkers of the Downs course in a phased approach, which completed
in April 2017.
It was a real treat playing this course.
I feel like there are a number of different personalities on the Downs course but overall, this is a high class place to play golf with a course that intrigues and is absolutely beautiful in places.
The first hole is one of the weakest - a rather uninspiring par 3. Once you travel under the road to the main part of the course, you are greeted by the wonderful second hole. After a blind uphill drive, you must play the approach from the elevated fairway, down to the green over the edge of a steep cliff. 3-6 are a great set of holes in the heavily wooded valley. This is certainly my favourite part of the course.
Following this, you leave the valley to head towards the moorland holes. The trees are largely gone, replaced with wind and some lovely views to Chichester. The pick of the holes on this section being the 7th, the par 5 11th and the lovely downhill par 3 12th.
Following 16, you’re back on the clubhouse side of the road for the lovely par 3 17th and a tight tree-lined par 4 18th.
This is a great course with some brilliant holes that are well worth trying if you get the chance to play here!
Goodwood is probably more well known for motor sport and horse racing although it has two decent golf courses onsite The Downs and The Park. The Downs is a championship standard layout whilst The Park is a little less demanding. The Downs course is rather hilly but the views are spectacular and the architect has done a decent job with the routing considering the topography, although there are some long walks between greens and tees. The bunkers which have recently been renovated now frame the holes alongside providing a strategic challenge to the golfer. It has a number of good holes such as 6 a short par 4 from an elevated tee…12 and 13 a par 3 and par 4 respectively are also very good. It does have a couple of weak holes…I am not a fan of the 2nd although I can see why others like it and I agree with a previous reviewer that 14 and 15 are rather uninspiring. One thing you will remember about Goodwood is the experience from the staff, the facilities or the unusual convertible buggies it a nice place to spend a day.
I played Goodwood earlier this year, the course has some spectacular views and an enjoyable walk if not a good workout. As a golf course it is nice condition and there are some interesting holes. That all said, it is not a Top 100 course in my opinion, as there are too many poor golf holes and the overall routing is not that great. I have played courses not ranked in the top 100 that are far superior to this one. Yes have a knock round here, but don't expect to be be blown away. Good halfway house.
Goodwood is a unique golf club and I was actually really fond of this. The course was super with the greens rolling well, some stunning views and the overall condition of the course being great. The golf buggies look fantastic and are designed to look like old cars from long ago. This really shows off the golf clubs unique, old fashioned feel, which I think is awesome.
Beware this course is extremely hilly so make sure you're willing to walk up and down all those hills! Some of my favourites would be, the 2nd hole which is a lovely downhill par 4 with a beautiful looking 2nd shot into the green. The 6th hole is a short downhill par 4 with a great view and one which is reachable if you hit a good drive. The 11th is a great par 5 with a magnificent view and loads of strategically placed bunkers on the left and right side of the fairway. The 12th is a beautiful hole, a short downhill par 3 with the green surrounded by well placed bunkers making the hole look particularly nice.
Although there are lots of positives there are a few negatives of the course as well. I thought the 1st hole was a bit of an unorthodox par 3 which wasn't really well thought out, its a bit too narrow and kind of separate from the rest of the course. Although I thought the course was interesting and not too bland, some holes did seem a bit similar and a bit uninteresting. Holes 14 and 15 were just 2 holes which just felt long and repetitive.
Overall I did really enjoy my experience with the golf course. I thought there were some nice holes and the condition was great which made it a lot more enjoyable. It was a great round in a wonderful area and so I will definitely be making another trip back down! However I don't think it is quite a 5 ball rating as it doesn't feel as good as a lot of the other top 100 courses that I have played around England. Nonetheless it was still great to play!
I can echo other comments in that this is a seriously tough walking course! This makes for some incredible views over Chichester but there are perhaps 1 too many “down and up again” holes for my liking. A fairly weak opening 2 holes get you going before the course settles in nicely among the woodland. The bunkers and all the areas around the greens were maintained superbly and really gave the course it’s identity. The staff and clubhouse area were fantastic and for £60 for 18 holes and a bacon roll on a Saturday is hard to grumble at. All in all we enjoyed our day but left feeling Goodwood’s ranking was incredibly complimentary.
Our Society played Downs course yesterday on the hottest day of the year, and loved the exceptional club house, parks and views of the surrounding chalk down land, Chichester, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. A truly beautiful part of England at its loveliest.I had heard it was a tough walk but routinely discount it when the course turns out to be undulating. I would strongly suggest don't carry on this course ! The buggies are cool convertibles, there is race track kerbing on the buggy path, and some of the green to tee route marches would be much better experienced from behind the wheel, much though I dislike buggy golf. The course is nice, good condition, and if you can keep your card going after the turn you will score well.14 and 15 on a hot day felt gruelling, long uphill past 4s. I was delighted with bogies. All this adds up to a slow course, 4.5 hours being expected playing time. After the round the classy changing rooms and showers with big fluffy towels were very welcome. We really enjoyed our post round beers in the attractive garden with great staff, but I would suggest bottled beer !
Goodwood is a spectacular Estate in the heart of West Sussex and is home to the world famous Festival of Speed, Goodwood Revival and the annual ‘Glorious Goodwood’ horseracing meeting.
Amongst many other things this idiosyncratic venue also boasts two distinct golf courses; the Downs and the Park.
The much praised Members' Downs Course plays up towards the racecourse, initially through dramatic valleyed fairways before climbing even higher where the remainder of the course is mostly perched on the South Downs giving golfers incredible views over Chichester in the near distance and the Isle of Wight and sparkling Solent beyond.
Although one of the oldest golf courses in Sussex, designed in 1914 by the legendary James Braid, it has a rather modern feel to it. This is presumably the result of recent renovations that have retained the essential character of Braid’s concept whilst providing a challenge for the present day game.
It’s a big course for sure; demanding yet fair with almost a pro-tournament feel to it. We played it off the ‘Silver’ 7,102 tips and after a spell of heavy rain the going was good-to-soft, heavy in places. I’m led to believe that this downland course usually consists of fast-running fairways but on our visit it played every pace of its seven kilometre layout with very little run on the ball. That said, the course stood up remarkably well to the biblical rain that had drenched the course only a couple of hours before we teed off and I suspect the following day it would have played much firmer when other venues would still be closed.
The Downs is also a tough hike with several lengthy walks from green to tee so be prepared for this if carrying otherwise I would strongly suggest taking one of the funky custom-made ‘Woody’ buggies, based on the 1934 designed Brakenvan. The walk from the first green to the second tee is longer than the 202-yard par-three opener itself and this is probably the same for getting to the seventh tee following the 329-yard sixth! Making your way to the next tee on some of the early holes involves big climbs up the hillside too although the fantastic elevated drives that you play are definitely worth it; just make sure you get your breath back first.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Designed over 100 years ago, the Downs course at Goodwood has gone through an extensive re-modelling programme in recent times, the latest phase, a complete bunker renovation, is still ongoing. The new bunker work, courtesy of course architect Tom Mackenzie, has had a major visual impact on so many of the holes, the dramatic greenside bunkering fronting the par-3 8th being a perfect example of this. Much of this demanding layout works its way up and down through a glorious landscape to some attractively framed and well protected greens, the free draining turf standing up well to the heavy rain which had fallen for much of the night preceding our visit. A big part of what makes this course so enjoyable is the wonderful variety of holes on offer. The stunning tree lined valley section between the 2nd and 6th are a particularly fine run of holes leading into more typical rolling downland from the 7th onward. The 2nd is a particularly good drop hole where a well positioned tee shot will leave a mid iron to a well protected green and the tough 3rd is another cracker which doglegs along the valley floor. Favourites on the back nine would have to include the 12th, a lovely downhill par-3 to an undulating green ringed by seven bunkers This is immediately followed by a great par-4 of some 340 yards which doglegs to a well protected green tucked in close to woodland. Both the indoor and outdoor bars areas are relaxing places to reflect on your round and plan your next visit to this high quality course. Brian W
I have played Goodwood a few times now and have always been greeted by very helpful staff who cant do enough for you. The views are amazing once you go over the hill, all the holes on this course are very different with great bunkers and greens, not an easy course, need to plot your way around with elevated and downhill greens. The course played very well after having a lot of rain was dry with no mud and the quality of the course is worth every penny. I would definitely recommend playing here its a bonus if you get a very sunny day so you can enjoy the views.
What a course. I have never met such helpful staff!Me and my friend were first time players on the course. We turned up and went it to the Pro Shop and was greeted by a very informitive and well presented young lady. The first impression this gave was i want to come back already and i hadn't even hit a golf ball. So helpful!The course was the best kept course i have played to date. The fairways were beautiful and the greens were in excellent condition. The views were out of this world also. The course is well worth the money and i would recommend this course to everyone. Can't wait to go back to this magnicent course. Thanks Goodwood (Downs Course) Staff for making my experience priceless!