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Ogbourne Downs

Marlborough, England
Marlborough, England
Rankings
  • AddressOgbourne St George, Marlborough SN8 1TB, UK

Founded in 1907, Ogbourne Downs Golf Club is the seventh oldest golf club in the county of Wiltshire. It was originally established as North Wilts Golf Club and located to the north of Chiseldon, where Ernie Foord, the Burnham & Berrow professional, set out a 9-hole course for the members.

Twenty years after its formation, the club decided to move to Ogbourne St George, changing its name to Swindon Golf Club at the same time, and the newly fashioned 18-hole course was formally opened by Admiral Luce, vice-president of the Wiltshire County Golf Union, on 23rd March 1929.

F. G. Hawtree, founder of the British Golf Greenkeepers Association, and five-time Open Champion J. H. Taylor designed and built the course. Their partnership began in 1922 and lasted nearly two decades, during which time they built around fifty courses and remodelled another fifty, including Royal Birkdale.

It’s testament to the handiwork of Hawtree and Taylor that, despite a number of minor modifications made to the course down the years, the layout, which still remains beautifully draped across the Marlborough Downs, is largely the one set out by their esteemed company almost a century ago.

Today, the course extends to just over 6,400 yards from the back markers, playing to a par of 71, with fairways routed as two returning nines over two hundred acres of free-draining downland. Thanks to the undulating nature of the terrain, golfers are afforded wonderful views of the surrounding landscape.

The first seven holes climb gradually to the highest point on the course before the long par three 8th and downhill par five 9th brings golfers back to the clubhouse. The inward half begins with another par five at the 537-yard 10th and this hole leads to a lovely long, two-tiered green that slopes from back to front.

The longer back nine features a testing trio of holes halfway from home. This “Amen Corner” starts with the 431-yard 13th, rated the toughest on the card, and ends with the 202-yard 15th, requiring an all-carry tee shot across a small valley to the green. In between these two holes, the par five 14th is regarded as the signature hole on the course.

Measuring 558 yards from the tips, the hole slides downhill and left from the tee, along a little valley towards a lightly bunkered, slightly raised green that falls away on all sides. This hole might seem rather innocuous at first glance but its stroke index rating of 3 is one that’s well merited.

The club, which became Ogbourne Downs in 1995 to give it a clearer identity, has played a prominent part in promoting Wiltshire golf by staging many county events, providing numerous county officers and developing local golfing talent like club professional and former Curtis Cup player Claire Waite.

Founded in 1907, Ogbourne Downs Golf Club is the seventh oldest golf club in the county of Wiltshire. It was originally established as North Wilts Golf Club and located to the north of Chiseldon, where Ernie Foord, the Burnham & Berrow professional, set out a 9-hole course for the members.

Twenty years after its formation, the club decided to move to Ogbourne St George, changing its name to Swindon Golf Club at the same time, and the newly fashioned 18-hole course was formally opened by Admiral Luce, vice-president of the Wiltshire County Golf Union, on 23rd March 1929.

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J. H. Taylor

J. H. Taylor is rightly regarded as a golfing pioneer. The five-time Open champion was one of the best golfers of his era, he then played a significant role in shaping the way that the game is now conducted.

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