Hawkstone Park lies close to the small village of Weston-under-Redcastle, consisting of landscaped grounds, caves, crags and follies based around the medieval Red Castle.
Hawkstone Hall, an impressive early-18th century country mansion now operates as a luxury wedding and events venue, with the fairways of the Hawkstone Park Golf Club laid out a couple of miles to the southwest of this property.
Golf was first recorded here in 1920, when a 9-hole course opened for play. Another nine was added by professional Bert Sheppard then in 1930 James Braid was called in to re-design and improve the layout which is now called the Hawkstone course.
The club’s professional and greenkeeper Alex Lyle – father of Sandy Lyle – laid out a tight, par 66 course (called the Weston) in 1975 but twenty years later, under new ownership, this was remodelled by Brian Huggett and renamed the Windmill course.
Subsequently retitled the Championship, this layout now extends to 6,472 yards, playing to a par of 72. The 531-yard 10th (“The Road Hole”) is regarded as the signature hole, with the fairway hugging the cliff top as it doglegs around water on the way to the green.
Played the Championship whilst on a 2 day overnighter. Having played the older Hawkstone Course the day before, The Championship Course was designed by the former Ryder Cup Captain Brian Hugget and offered a fun challenge.
Whilst it is a parkland course, it contains many American style features such as oval-shaped tees, rolling fairways and most notably the expanses of threatening water.
The water was a big feature on holes 10 -12 and 14.
The back 9 is certainly the better of the 2 halves.
There wasn't much to choose between the 2 courses. I came down on the side of the Hawkstone which had a few stand out holes dotted throughout the course.
Hawkstone Park Golf Club is a venue that benefits greatly from having two 18-hole parkland golf courses. Both of the main courses offer something slightly different.
The newer 'Championship' course begins in a similar fashion to its elder brother in that many of the holes are tree-lined with plenty of trouble around the greens. It is not until the back nine that the course opens up slightly and presents the best holes on the entire property.
The 10th is an excellent dog-leg par five around a huge lake and the 12th is also a good hole from the tee. The 13th requires you to judge how much of the fairway you can bite off before you play another strong par five with some good bunkering down the left. The 15th is perhaps the best hole and sits nicely into the landscape and hole 16, a short-ish par four, plays well too. The round closes with a sound par three and a strong final hole back up the hill.
The Championship course is the better of the two but with accommodation on site if you are heading to Hawkstone Park you may as well decide for yourself and play them both.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.