The course at Peterborough Milton Golf Club was designed and constructed by the Scottish partnership of James Braid and John R Stutt in the mid 1930s and it sits in splendid parkland surroundings within the Fitzwilliam Estate.
Peterborough Milton is a well established and attractive parkland course located next door to Milton Hall, the largest private house in Cambridgeshire. The course began life during the 1920's as nine holes in the grounds of the Hall. A decade later James Braid arrived to construct a new 18 hole layout and the original thatched clubhouse can still be seen just behind the 13th green. Following boundary changes, the course now lies in Cambridgeshire but retains its affiliation to the Northamptonshire Golf Union.
The round begins with a strategic par five, where a good drive can easily reach a lake that splits the fairway. A blocked second shot can also find the water down the right side of the hole. Strong par fours dominate the front nine, the 4th "Rabbits Corner" stretches to almost 450 yards and the 7th measuring 422 yards has a pronounced ridge running from back to front in the green potentially leaving a very difficult putt.
I liked the variety of the short holes, the 2nd and 9th are mid to long iron shots, both protected by a combination of trees and bunkers. The 11th"Cedar" has a tree to contend with thirty yards short of the green and the 16th "The Dell" plays to a small and sloping hourglass green which is heavily defended by sand. Only 134 yards from the back tee, this little beauty is a fine example of how much fun a short par three can be.
This was a day of firsts for me. My first visit to the course coincided with watching the greenkeepers shed go up in flames, another first! And all in the good company of my host Dave, the Chairman of Greens. Fortunately, the greens staff were still on site when a mower self-ignited and the fire service were able to save the day before too much damage was done. With everything under control and the smell of burnt-out Torro in the autumnal air we turned our attention to the 10th "Cottons Fancy" a classic dogleg par four and probably my favourite hole on the course. Two excellent shots are required to reach a bunkerless green which is superbly defended by a diagonal gully fronting a tricky multi-tiered green.
The bunkering at Peterborough Milton is visually and strategically good with many of them having been expertly renovated in recent times. The par-five 13th has eight to contend with whilst at the same time offering the best view of the Hall. The memorable feature on 14 is a "Ha-Ha" running the full length of the hole which I somehow managed to find from the tee and two strong par fours bring the round to an enjoyable conclusion, that's if you can avoid water from the tee on the last.
As we departed the 18th green one member asked if the fire might have been a terrorist attack. You never have to look far to find a comedian at a golf club!