Close to historic city of Bath, you will find the village of Gurney Slade and the Mendip Golf Club. The club was originally founded in 1907 and a 9-hole course was laid out by Harry Vardon. In 1965, Frank Pennink extended the course to 18 holes, and in 1988 the course was further lengthened and par was increased to 71.
The course is now a mature undulating downland course set almost 1,000 feet above sea level and at the highest point on the 3rd there are great views over seven neighbouring counties. With this elevated position, the natural drainage is as good as it gets and the course is rarely closed. But do beware of the ‘Mendip Mist’ – golf really played in the clouds!
Walking on the springy downland turf is a real pleasure and the fairways are often tightly cropped and invariably in better condition than many greens at lesser clubs. Overall, the course has much quality and plenty of variety. Ordinary is a word that would never be used to describe Mendip.
Most golfers visiting Somerset head to Burnham and Berrow, but Mendip is a solid design that has many challenges waiting to judge how good your game really is.
The 2019 Somerset County Championship is returning to Mendip Golf Club later this year. We noticed lots of preparatory work being done in readiness for the event when we teed it up here ten days ago on a decent (in part) mid-January weather day.
Bunkers are being revetted and ground works are underway for changes to the 17th and 18th holes. I’m unconvinced the new 17th and 18th will be ready this year but only time will tell.
I do hope the 17th, a lovely short par three drop hole, isn’t compromised when they move the green further back. The 18th, on the other hand, is undoubtedly the weakest hole on the course and is in dire need of change. There’s nothing to like about this blind short par four closer, except for the countless birdies that are no doubt carded here (not by me I might add as I failed to get up and down).
The rest of the course really surprised us – in a good way. The course was as dry as a bone mid-winter and the greens were running pretty well for the time of year. Views are only a canvas but they are spectacular from the highest points on the course.
In some ways Mendip reminded me of a more treed Kington. Both are played over hilly terrain and both are good winter courses. Mendip is billed as a heathland course but I’m not wholly convinced by that moniker – I’d personally pitch it in the “downland” category, if such a classification exists.
The member who posted the review below prompted our recent visit and he’s not far off the mark. We may not completely agree that Mendip is the best course in north Somerset, but it’s at least a position (or two) too low in our Somerset rankings.
There’s no doubt it’s a quality course and a delightful club. I’d certainly be very happy to be a member here if I lived locally.
Mendip is a beautiful golf course and absolutely the best in North Somerset. It is a heathland course, set on top of The Mendip Hills in Somerset at altitudes up to 1000 feet above sea level. The fairways are the best in the county. After a great deal of work in the spring of 2018 the greens are now back to their very best with really tricky slopes in the summer. Even in the depths of winter the course is fully playable with no temporary tees and rare use of temporary greens when frost dictates. The views are stunning across the Vale of Avalon and the Bristol Channel. The members are friendly (I am one of them) and the Pro Team led by Stuart Disney is top drawer.
Mendip is undulating (very up and down infact), quite peaceful, with some excellent views from the higher points. I have played here a number of times over the last twenty years and I would say condition is generally ok, although this October it was very wet underfoot and the greens very poor; generally however when I have played greens have been ok albeit a bit on the slow side. There are some tricky slopes on the greens which does seem to be one of the courses defences. The course only has two par 5's and three par 3's, which does seem to limit variety. The first few holes rising up from the clubhouse are average and the last two down by the clubhouse are not the strongest of finishing holes; 17 is a short downhill par 3 and 18 a very short par 4 of around 250 yards and these do feel like a bit of a fill-in. In between there are however a number of interesting holes. The stretch from 5 to 7 is particularly interesting and comprises 3nr dog-leg par 4's of various lengths, including Stroke index 1 hole 7. Then another good stretch of holes with a nice par 4 at 11 (probably my favourite hole on the course), followed by a good par 3 and a short dog-leg par 4 at 13. Overall I would say the course promises much but just doesn't seem to flow or deliver any more than many other courses which is why I give it an average rating. Enough good holes and scenic location though give enough encouragement for a visit