Newbury & Crookham Golf Club is one of the oldest in England and J.H.Turner, the professional at Frilford Heath between 1914 and 1952, laid out their present course at Greenham, fifty years after the club’s 1873 formation.
During World War II, only seven holes were left open for play as sheep were allowed to graze on part of the course and aircraft taxiways were constructed on today's 1st, 14th and 15th fairways. After the war, the suggestions book in the clubhouse included an entry from someone asking for the broken concrete runway on the first hole to be painted green to help members find their golf balls.
Measuring a shade under 6,000 yards from the medal tees, the course is by no means overly long – there are only two par fives, at holes 13 and 18 – but it’s tight in many places, with towering trees bounding many of the narrow fairways.
Three of the five par threes on the card are played on the front nine though the best of the short holes is probably the last one played at the 170-yard 17th, where the beautifully bunkered elevated green slopes gently from right to left.
Aficionados of old-fashioned golf will appreciate the pair of short par fours here. The first of these is a left dogleg across a small valley at the 2nd and the other is the 292-yard 12th, played to a heavily bunkered green.
The Howard Swan design company has been credited with course modifications in recent times.
Newbury & Crookham offers plenty of interest for the visiting golfer, with a variety of holes. This is not basic parkland as it has some uphill holes, downhill holes, flat holes, doglegs, short par 4's, long par's, shots over ravines, trees, sloping greens etc. I have played Newbury once or twice a year for the last 10 years and the course has grown on me. It is obviously not at the level of Berkshire's top courses but it is better than average. Have to say that course condition this September was the best I have known it. The greens were absolutely 1st class and of good pace, which added to the interesting slopes on the greens made them an absolute delight. Certainly seems to be a good time of year to play here, as sometimes it can get wet underfoot in the early spring especially the lower holes.
Favourite holes would include the second hole (a short par 4 offering a birdie chance) and the third, a goodlooking downhill par 3. Infact the par 3's (five of them) are all pretty good, including hole 9 over a valley to a steeply sloping green and hole 17 always a seemingly very small target and well bunkered. Long par 4's at holes 7, 8 and 14 give the course a bit of teeth; the 8th is particularly difficult being steeply uphill from the fairway to another fiercely sloping green, and a bogey is always acceptable here. One par 4 I really like is the 16th; this requires an accurate drive (ideally a draw) over a ravine/gulley with trees preventing you from cutting the corner of a sharp dog-leg left, where you are then faced with a short iron downhill to a sloping small green. Just two par 5's; one of these is the 18th which although not a classic finishing hole does provide a tricky blind approach for most of us laying up short of a fairway bunker in a dip.
Overall an entertaining place to play, and when the greens are this good even better
I liked it... was impressed with the speed of the greens, and the fairways were in good condition also. (Green keepers dream the weather this year so no real excuses that said).
I thought the first 7/8 holes or so were great fun. Downhill puts were scary fast, and some of the greens are tiny which is fun. Its short, but that adds to the amusement some how.
Would have awarded it another half ball, but the course for me slighter peters out in the last few holes and the greens didn't seem as good on the back 9.
Nice place, and worth a visit.
I enjoyed Newbury & Crookham when I visited for the first time last week. The course is unlikely to challenge some of the bigger names in Berkshire for a place in the English Top 100, however it does have a handful of holes that are nothing short of excellent. Routed over undulating and tree lined parkland, the course has plenty of variety with a few strategic short par 4's mixed in amongst a number of long and difficult two shotters. There are only two par 5's which are both encountered on the back nine, but of the five par 3's, four are very good indeed. The 3rd and the 9th both offer a bit of hang time playing downhill to large greens, the 3rd a real beauty set well below the tee. The 6th and tough 17th offer a different challenge, both being well defended by attractive bunkering. Whereas a mere flick will suffice on 6, nothing but a well struck and accurate 170 yard shot will do on 17. Not one to get too excited about but well worth a look if you are in the area. Brian W