The original Leominster Golf Club was formed in 1903, starting out with a 9-hole course which was then extended to eleven holes. Three new holes were added on 11th May 1939 but World War II intervened months later and the club never reappeared after hostilities ceased. Attempts to revive it failed in 1947 and the land at Ford Bridge was used for agriculture.
A meeting then took place at the Lamb Inn, Stoke Prior, on 16th June 1967, when a committee was set up to re-stablish the club. Five holes were brought into play four months later then another four were added the following year as the club quickly got back into its stride again.
In the late 1980s, land was made available to allow the course to expand to eighteen holes. Bob Sandow – who worked for a short time with Robert Trent Jones in America – designed the new layout, which is one of more than twenty low budget courses he fashioned in the south of England and Wales over three decades.
In 1998, a small stream running through the gully crossed by the 2nd, 8th and 18th holes was harnessed to create three ponds. The home hole was further modified to make space for the replacement clubhouse and to extend the car park. Apart from minor cosmetic changes, the course has hardly been altered since then.
Leominster is unlikely to be on anyone's must-play list but for a very modest green fee, this is a pleasant round of golf in the pretty Herefordshire countryside.
The course is divided into a flat section along the river and close to the clubhouse, the remaining holes being laid out over hillier terrain on the eastern side of the property.
A relatively straightforward opening hole contains an unusual two-tier green. Rather than front and back tiers the raised section of the green is to the left and lower half to the right which you don’t see that often. The tough 3rd, a demanding uphill par four measuring 421 yards may cost a shot (or two) but an opportunity to recover follows immediately at the short par five 4th which is downhill all the way and reachable for many in two.
The 6th, 7th and 8th are possibly the best holes on the front nine. The 6th, a lovely downhill par three is followed by the excellent 7th. Not a long hole at 320 yards but with trees on the right and the river Lugg running from tee to green down the left, nothing but straight hitting will get the job done.
The 8th is another challenging par four where the approach must clear a deep gully running across the front of the green and avoid a grassy hollow to the right.
The back nine kicks off with a monster par four measuring some 460 yards. After hitting two decent shots and coming up 40 yards short I presumed that I was playing a par five until checking the scorecard on the next tee.
The long par three 11th and par-five 12th take us to the top of the course once more where two pleasant dog legs await at the 13th and 16th. The 17th is another fine short hole, the tee shot is played through a chute of trees to a small green ringed by more trees. Anything missing to the right will tumble away down a hill leaving the sort of recovery that no one would relish.
A good drive on the most gentle of finishing holes will leave little more than a flick over an ornamental pond to get home.
I would rank Leominster as the 4th best course in Herefordshire, one of England’s smallest golfing counties.
Leominster is quite a hilly course and that is the overriding memory of playing Leominster, and this probably does detract from one's liking of the course. The other things I recall (and I haven't played Leominster for a few years) are the pond in front of the 18th green and the flatter holes down by the river. The par 4 6th is the stand-out hole with a good looking tee shot into the valley with river left and trees right. In my opinion should be ranked higher than Sapey.