The country estate of Orchardleigh – which includes a large Victorian mansion, an island church, boathouse and a number of other listed outbuildings – is the setting for an 18-hole golf course that was designed in the mid 1990s by Brian Huggett in conjunction with Peter McEvoy.
It’s an idyllic setting for weddings with the little Church of St. Mary accessed by a small bridge over a lake but for those more interested in playing golf, the parkland layout here offers a really decent test on a site where other water hazards come into play at half a dozen of the holes.
The front nine are laid out on flatter land to the west of the clubhouse and the 414-yard 6th is the hardest hole on this circuit, with out of bounds to the left of a fairway that leads to a two-tiered green. The back nine occupies more undulating terrain and the uphill, right doglegged 14th is a tough nut to crack on the inward half.The course was constructed within an established estate and the maturity of the setting contrasts well against the modern, target golf design of the holes where greens have been built to USGA standard. Originally called The Park, that name was dropped when proposals for a second 18-hole course fell through.
Visited this afternoon for £20 online green fee as 281st course played in England and 414th worldwide. It was WELL worth £20 and a fair bit more.
Very impressive piece of land with a very luxurious looking hotel bit and a separate clubhouse. Ourvstanav took us down a few miles of farm track in the way there but we went home on proper roads!?
Anyway, the course review. Nothing to not like about the course, good layout with mature trees. Front nine is flatter than back nine and I would say probably the easier of the two.
3rd is a nice par 3 but how it is rated as SI 4 is a mystery .....although SI ratings are a constant source of surprise to me!!
The 12th is real fun to play downhill par five and the par 3 17th has a fabulous green with some much tougher pin positions than the front left that I birdied today.
Two stonkingly hard holes on the back nine, the SI 1 14th is a tricky dogleg par five and the 18th is a par 4 (which again I would suggest should be SI 2 in non-match play) which at SI 7 further highlights the anomaly of the 3rd.
Anyway it feels like I am moaning and I am NOT.
A very nice layout which would probably be a lot more well known and popular were it a bit less out in the middle of nowhere.
Well worth seeking out for a knock ....and set your satnav to "main roads only".
Playing parkland courses in the depths of winter is never ideal but we decided to take a look at the leafless skeleton of Orchardleigh last month after a spell of dry winter weather.
The setting in the heart of the 500-acre gated Orchardleigh Estate is gorgeous, but you wouldn’t want to be dropped off at the gates, as you’d be faced with a two-mile walk from the public road to the clubhouse. I can’t think of any entrance drive in the UK that’s longer than Orchardleigh.
Unfortunately the course left me more than a tad uninspired. The fairways looked lovely, but the ground was incredibly sticky considering the preceding weeks of dry weather. The fact that the tees on every hole were playing off mats, which were at least 20 yards in front of the ladies tees, did not help one eyeota.
The bunkering is pretty decent and some of the holes are good, but too many are humdrum.
Maybe in the summer when the leaves are out and the course is presented at its verdant best, my opinion might be different.
I’m glad I played Orchardleigh but it failed to get my golfing juices flowing despite an enjoyable round in pleasant winter weather.