Ladbrook Park Golf Club was instigated in 1908 by former members of Robin Hood Golf Club who decided to operate their own golf set-up after their old club received notice to quit their premises next to the old Hall Green racecourse.
Tom Williamson, the Notts professional, inspected the property at Ladbrook Park and was said to be “very favourably impressed with the ground, the quality of turf and the area of land at disposal” and a new layout was very quickly brought into play.
In 1913, Harry Colt completely remodelled the layout. He returned in 1927 and altered the 1st and 2nd holes then came back ten years later to install new greens on the 12th and 16th and modify the green complexes on the 13th and 14th holes.
According to the history pages on the club’s very informative website “apart from the turning around on the 3rd, 4th and 5th holes [in 1980], the layout has only had minor modifications over the years”.
We were also told “the main work on the course over the last 20 years has been the extension of some natural ponds to bring them more into play but that has not changed the layout which remains largely as designed by Harry Colt.”
We enjoyed playing Ladbrook Park which is a thriving and welcoming Members’ Club in South Warwickshire. The golf course is over 100 years old, laid out on open parkland with interesting green complexes that reflect the work of the prolific Harry Colt.
Course maintenance is first class and the fairways are generous which leaves as the two main challenges numerous fairway ditches, all of which can be avoided with sound ball-striking, and fast greens which put a premium on accurate approach shots to avoid too many downhill putts. There are many trees but they come into play on only a handful of holes.
A straightforward par five at the opening hole sets the scene for an uneventful front nine which unusually includes all three of the par fives for there are none on the back nine. With the exception of the fourth hole with its narrow entrance to the putting surface, protected by a large tree and a brook, the front nine is pleasant but pretty standard fare.
Things get more interesting from the 10th hole which is a challenging uphill two-shotter and the 11th, a short par four with it’s emphasis on a testing approach shot to a sloping green. The best holes are the strategic par fours at 14 and 17. 14 is a dogleg left requiring an accurate drive and confident pitch shot while 17 demands a strong downhill drive with a carry of about 200 yards to clear the ditch. Thie drive is followed by an uphill medium to short iron across a line of bunkers and avoiding a large tree on the right. You would be advised to take at least one more club than you expect to this raised green.
There is a lovely feeling of space on this ball strikers’ course, where the problems are clearly laid out before you and precise course management is required to produce a good score.
Played Ladbrook Park in August 2019. Condition generally good. Basic parkland but with overgenerous fairways so nothing much to get excited about off the tee. Some good holes including nr 17, but best hole for me was the 4th, a narrow par 4 with much trouble to the front of the green including ditch and large tree. Greens were very soft with large slopes and on every hole I seemed to be faced with a long slow uphill putt, for which the small flat putting green was simply of no benefit in preparation
I am sorry you had a poor round in our Seniors Open on 1st August 2019 although you indicate you did not find our course challenging. To accommodate the majority of entrants our Seniors Open is played off yellow tees which are not of course as challenging as our white competition tees for a single figure golfer.
You recollect in your review some 5 months after playing that you found our greens slow as you were leaving yourself long uphill putts on every hole. Between April and October we normally maintain our greens between STIMP readings of 9.5 and 10.5 in accordance with R&A and PGA guidelines. On 18th July, 2 weeks before your round, they were running at 11.5.
I wonder whether the rating you gave us was perhaps influenced by your stated preference for links and heathland courses whereas we are a Harry Colt designed parkland course normally with receptive greens – a very different challenge. I hope you will visit us again perhaps for our Mens Open and we can improve your opinion of us which is at odds with the normal reviews we receive.
Thanks for your comment Jeremy. Not sure I was being as critical as you think I was (3 balls is by definition average), and I didn't say it was not challenging. Generally I am a fan of Harry Colt designed courses many of which are parkland including I think Robin Hood in your area; sometimes I even give parkland courses 4 ball rankings !! (eg. Blackwell, Moseley, Little Aston). I will try in the future to revisit your course