Painswick sits atop Painswick Beacon and offers lovely views up and down the Cotswold escarpment. The course is on Trust land and as such the club must adhere to maintenance restrictions. Consequently, the player will not find a well-conditioned course. However, conditioning is not the reason why golfers should want to play Painswick. People should seek out Painswick purely for the joy of the game.
Numbers don’t really describe Painswick very well, but I will offer them in the hope that any prospective visitor will be intrigued. The course measures less than 5,000 yards with a par of 67. Don’t let these numbers deceive you because Painswick epitomizes what golf is all about. A straightforward, most natural course in a terrific setting. The club is modest and welcoming. The fees are affordable.
Humps, hollows and hills abound. Painswick is much more akin to links than to parkland. In fact, I don’t know of a links which can match Painswick for outrageousness. There are several holes which can only be described as extreme, but they are generally all the better for it. There are no bunkers except the one near the practice green. The 17th has the forward markers one yard longer than the back markers. Among the several blind shots there are few into and out of a 3000-year-old hill fort. There are seven par 3s. There is a stretch of six straight holes without a two shotter amongst them. The 10th sports the smallest green I have ever seen and it is blind by the way.
In short Painswick is quirky. If you are looking for some insight into how the game was played a century or so ago look no further. The turf isn’t brilliant and there are a few severe walks with dog walkers and folks in jeans are plentiful. But I promise you that a game at Painswick will not be forgotten. To stand on the 6th tee, take in the views and hit that shot is an experience not to be missed.
Painswick was nominated as a GEM by Sean Arble and Sean composed the above article.
On a recent drive from West Yorkshire to South Wales we decided to jump off the M5 and play a quick round at the highly unusual Painswick Golf Club. It proved to be one of the best decisions we’ve made.
With so many ordinary courses in the UK, serving up a full house of relatively mundane holes, Painswick should be applauded for the moments of brilliance and uniqueness that it shows during its 18.
It’s such an exciting course to play although perhaps not a great one for trying to keep a score on! At just 4,831 yards and with so many apparent birdie opportunities (on the scorecard at least) shooting a good total round here should be a doddle. This is certainly not the case and we quickly forgot about our tally and just enjoyed the course for what it is; sheer fun. The best example is perhaps the opening hole; the hardest 220 yard par four you will ever play. And, yes, that did say 220!
Admittedly, the course is fairly run of the mill for some holes, however, it still manages to engage the golfer with interesting green sites and various undulations in one form or another as it plays along a narrow ridge. So cramped in fact that several holes have a shared fairway on what is essentially an ‘out & back’ layout.
There are a number of varied short par fours during the round, seven all told, and a delightful par three towards the end with a green set deep in an amphitheatre of trees. Other things such as the cavernous grassy hollow on the first, the green location at the 4th, the excellently contoured putting surface of the 13th and the unusual drive at the 16th are all highlights on the course too.
However, these are not the moments why I will remember Painswick with great fondness. The real reason is for the run of holes between the 5th and the 11th where you play up to and then on top of a beacon that this section of the course is laid out over. Here you will discover four, arguably five holes, which are nothing short of sensational. Not necessarily great holes, with the exception of one, but they present challenges to the golfer that you will not easily find elsewhere.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
The course plays off matts from October-March ! Then from April -September off the GRASS tees !