The course at North Wilts Golf Club is a quintessential, lie-of-the land downland test that is regularly used for national and county matches. There’s even an ancient, deep cockfighting pit to negotiate as a rather unusual hazard.
I have played North wilts many times and each time notice more and more slight unique characteristics that makes North Wilts quite unique.
The course has two very different 9’s. The front 10 holes are shaped into the hillside of one of wiltshire most famous landmarks, the white horse next to the ancient burial ground, Avebury. The front 9 is a classic down-land style layout. The second, for example, is a rising short par 4 with an aggressive double tiered green which could easily wreck your round from the start of a weak putt is played up the hill.
The 6th is one of the most dangerous par 3’s I’ve ever played. It’s 150 yards, wind howling from the left, a huge cock firing pit on the right and thick gorse directly left of the 10yd wide green. This is a classic score wrecker and possibly the only purposefully difficult hole on the course. Every hole is different, and that for me is key for a decent layout.
The back 9 is a very nice parkland style course with nice doglegs, tumbling fairways and a fantastic par 4, the 14th. The 18th is also a good finisher, designed by Gary Player himself.
However, there is one outstanding problem with North Wilts. The course could be fantastic and, according to the members, once was. The rough was thick and tall, the bunkers were deep and in the best locations to catch a miss-hit shot or to test a players shot shaping ability. However, this has all gone. There is now rough, the best bunkers have been taken out to allow members to hit it wherever they want. It is not a test anymore which is a great shame considering the the Harry Colt design was once a gem in Wiltshire to test every part of your game.
The older ten holes above the road that dissects the course are for me the better holes. These holes are typical Wiltshire downland holes with small greens and with several uphill and therefore several downhill holes. The 2nd is a goodlooking uphill short par 4 where you can see the flag all the way whilst hole 5 is even more uphill with concealed pin on a raised green. Then probably the best hole on the course, the 6th a very short par 3 on top of the hill with cock fighting pit right; only 118 yards but the crosswind makes clubbing difficult to a small green with severe drop off left. Great view from the 7th tee. Must confess I am always disappointed to cross back to the clubhouse side of the road where the newer holes from 11 to 18 just don't do it for me; hole 14 is worth mentioning though as it has three trees down the centre of the fairway and the green is perched on the side of a bank and can be tricky to access. In truth little to choose between North Wilts and the other older Wiltshire courses such as Kingsdown, High Post, Ogbourne Downs, West Wilts etc