Remedy Oak opened for play in November 2005 and former Ryder Cup Captain John Jacobs designed the golf course, or at least made a few visits during the construction phase. Set in more than 250 acres of ancient woodland near Horton in Dorset, Remedy Oak immediately appears mature beyond its tender years. John Jacobs commented: “When I first saw the location for Remedy Oak, I knew it had the potential to be one of the best courses in the UK. To see it now, I feel that potential has been realised.”
With a girth of more than six metres, the Remedy Oak tree, which is located a couple of miles from the course, is legendary. Apparently the nine-year-old Boy King, King Edward VI sat under the oak tree and “touched for Kings Evil”. Kings Evil was a medieval custom whereby the King could touch and heal people with skin diseases.
Miracles cannot be guaranteed at Remedy Oak Golf Club but we can vouch for the fact that it’s perhaps the most exclusive golf club south of the M25 and the course is highly polished with immaculate tee to green grooming. Remedy Oak is also home to the Legends Charity Golf Classic, where cricketer Sir Ian Botham hosts an annual charity event in aid of Leukaemia Research.
Many people in the know reckon Remedy Oak is one of the finest inland golf courses in Britain but few people had the chance to experience the course when it first opened. Thankfully the club now welcomes visitors and the word on the street is that the rather expensive green fee is worth every penny.
Jonathan Gaunt prepared the original masterplan for Remedy Oak and obtained planning permission for the owner, Bill Riddle. Although the course was built in-house, Jonathan told us he “did spend a long time on site inspecting the land in detail – it was not easy to get about because some of the woodland was over 100 years old and was really dense. It was fun, though.”
In June 2017 we asked Jonathan if he had any interesting snippets regarding the challenge of designing a course on such a vast scale. He commented as follows:
“It was particularly difficult because of the restrictions of the local authority in relation to ecology, etc. We had to preserve certain trees and water bodies. In particular, we designed the bunkers on some holes so they were south-facing – to attract adders and grass snakes to “bask” in them! Makes a new meaning of a sand hazard! We also proposed significant areas of tree clearance to create new heathland – I enjoyed this and it has stood me in good stead for the work I’m currently doing at Whittington Heath in Lichfield – where we are creating 25 acres of new heathland within the new course extension (as a result of the HS2 railway line).”
Day 4 of the south coast tour and we moved on from Cornwall to Dorset. With family down this way I have played a few of the big courses in the area including Broadstone, Parkstone and Isle of Purbeck. Remedy Oak is not like any of those in terms of style, in fact while playing the 6th hole with tall trees around and the sun shining, I commented to my playing partner that if there were mountains in the distance you could be in Canada.
It is pricey as a visitor, so not something you would do regularly, but I certainly did not regret the cost as it is an experience. The course itself is immaculate, and peaceful, certainly on the front nine, in most cases, you can barely see another hole. I was disappointed that my favourite two holes came in the first 4, those being 2 and 4. 2 is a par 5 risk and reward, if you can draw off the tee with a driver you can go for it and 4 is a really good par 3, that needs distance and accuracy. In fact, the par 3s in general are really good with 9 and 11 being really strong holes too.
6 and 8 are both risk and reward holes, with 6 being as pretty as a picture on the tee and 8 you have to carry long over water if you go for the green. As others have noted the back 9 is not as good as the front, but 11 and 17 are very nice holes in my mind. 18 is just a bit of fun really, playing to the gap before throwing a ball high over the pond to the green in front of a packed 19th.
I can see some people thinking this course is fantastic and really giving it top marks. However, as much as the quietness of the course and the quality of the condition was exceptional, as I sat having a beer watching people on 9 and 18 I thought I could sit here all day and watch this. That for me is unfortunately the problem as if I was really taken by the course I would just have wanted to go round again, as I had wanted to the day before at St Enodoc.
One final note is that as we walked through from 9 to a tee with a 3 ball on they let us straight through. The Marshall also stopped to advise that there was a two ball upfront that were holding people up and he had told them he needed to let people through. It was good to see marshaling working, as we arrived on 12 they had just teed off and stood to the side to let us through. Seems a simple thing but so rarely happens.
Dorset is blessed with some great golf courses and Remedy Oak is probably the pick of them. Of course that is always going to be subjective and will depend on what you are looking for from your golfing experience. To be clear, for me, it's solely about the course (not clubhouse, facilities, welcome or food - all of which are great at Remedy by the way - but won't be factored in this review).
And to help people reading this review, my idea of golfing heaven would include Sunningdale, Birkdale, Turnberry, Royal St. Georges, Valderrama, Kaiwah which I've been fortunate enough to have played, and Augusta which I've been fortunate enough to walk around.
And to be clear, Remedy isn't in this league. But those courses would jostle for position in anybody's top-10 in the world and get a '6' rating from me.
Sure, Remedy is new - but unlike many new inland courses that follow the American bomb and gouge style - this design has some nice variety and thought and was laid out in mature woodland that give the course a maturity beyond its years. It is also the owners pet project - and that shows.
With no snobbery in sight - Remedy Oak has the quiet air of exclusivity and excellence.
On the front 9, the visually stunning par-5 2nd, par-3 4th, thought provoking par-5 5th, dog-leg right par-4 7th and par-3 9th are all truly great holes.
Not that the 1st, 3rd, 6th (nice driving hole visually) and 8th (risk/reward lay up short par-4 over water) are exactly shabby either. But I'm setting a high bar in my review.
The back 9 doesn't quite reach the heights of the front, but the 10th and 14th are mighty par-4s, the 11th a delightful par-3 and the 15th - another par 5 which is reachable in 2 following a well placed drive with water awaiting the errant shot - are all very satisfying. The 18th dog-leg right short par-4 seems to split opinion. But who doesn't get a thrill when faced with a pitch to a green over water in front of golfers enjoying their post round drinks on the patio? All watching with interest to see how you fare.
The conditioning of the course is the best around. Greens roll beautifully and are a pleasure to putt on - large and undulating but a fun test.
All of the above is my subjective view.
What isn't subjective is that off the purple championship tees. Remedy Oak has a course/slope rating of 75.2/141 and measures over 7,000 yds. This compares to Broadstone (71.6/140), Parkstone (71.5/139) and Ferndown (72.0/130) and all sub 6,500 yds then you get the idea.
All 4 of these great golf courses are worth playing.
But if you're looking for a true Championship test, there's only once course in Dorset that meets that requirement.
Before Remedy Oak came along - I'd have said Parkstone was the prettiest, Broadstone the toughest and Ferndown usually in the best condition.
Remedy Oak is without doubt the toughest, best conditioned (although on a clay based sub soil it can be wet) and has some memorable holes.
For these reasons - it get's my #1 Ranking in Dorset.
Played here mid October last after our planned trip to Portugal was cancelled. Despite the COVID rules in place at the time, we received a warm welcome and were served complimentary coffee in the large clubhouse. The free range balls were a nice touch too.
I enjoyed the course on the whole, apart from but the 8th hole. Unless you can carry your tee shot about 250 yards over water to an elevated green, it all seems a bit pointless. The beautiful par 3 that follows cheered me up and quickly restored my faith.
The early part of October was unseasonably wet and the fairways were very soft and the semi rough was lush, so lush that I lost a ball that landed a yard off the fairway somewhere on the front 9. Not much the club are able to about the wet weather though and the tees, fairways and greens were above average.
Worth a visit, but a little bit pricey in my opinion.
A really really good course this one and definitely worth visiting. I read reviews and was fearful that with many woodland courses it would be samey and not memorbale at all , but thankfully my fears were unfounded. It is a woodland course indeed but lots of shapes to most of the holes and the fairways are wide enough that you dont get unduly punished for a slightly off line shot. The designer has done a brilliant job of making a woodland course interesting and not to penal for the bigger hitters, this is not an easy task in my opinion. A good mix of holes with water, dog legs, lay up shots, long holes, short holes etc. All of the par 3's are excellent (but tough). Nice clubhouse also.
I’m not really the target audience for Remedy Oak. My traditional tastes are too hardwired that I often struggle to see the best from new designs. Yet I recognise that for some, this 2006 John Jacobs’ design will be some people’s idea of a dream course. First off, Remedy Oak is an unbelievably beautiful property, so if a routing through tall woodlands and playing shots over water hazards from pristinely kept turf is what turns you on, get yourself to Remedy Oak.
Water hazards are plentiful, coming into play on roughly half of the holes. Bull rushes stand tall above the water on holes such as the double dogleg par five 2nd where the green is surrounded by a pond. The 5th, 7th and 8th also have water very much in play as you spiral around the front nine, the 5th being another tricky par five as you’re required to guide your ball down a narrow alleyway between water hazards and marshes, whilst the driveable 8th at only 272 yards from the white tees asks whether you’re going to be a hero or a chicken due to the large pond that extends across the width of the fairway. Not all of the design is as seamless as it ought to be though, long walks have been mentioned by others, not a massive irritation to me as part of my enjoyment when playing golf is the walk itself. On the other hand, the tall tree in the middle of the fairway on the 3rd is a little more bothersome for my own personal tastes – just hand me the chainsaw. The bunkering in sections could also have been more inventive, the 13th for example being one of the most uninspiring holes visually and could be enhanced with some more eye-catching shaping around the green.
Unlike other reviewers, I found the par fives to all be quite enjoyable as you have to plot your way through each hole, one of the best examples is the 15th. Here the ideal line from the tee is blocked by a single tree (this one is strategically well placed on the corner of the fairway rather than in the middle of it) before water again guards the green at an awkward distance. The last par five at 17 has a fairway that squiggles up and over the brow of a hill before two hidden centre-line fairway bunkers come into play for those having a crack at the green in two. 18 finishes off the round with a par four that presents a fun finishing hole over water but I’ve always found 90 degree doglegs a little clunky and lacking natural flow. This hole hasn’t changed my opinion.
In general, Remedy Oak is a beautiful and tranquil place to play golf where you get to enjoy the solitude of a woodland walk and each hole plays in isolation between tall pines. I could never tire of the echo my driver makes when connecting with the ball as you tee off amongst the trees. And whilst the design is littered with multiple forced carries which may be tough if you’re not a consistent striker of the ball, the serenity and impressiveness of the surroundings should win you over.
Whilst I did enjoy my round at Remedy Oak, it’s still not somewhere I’m in a particular rush to go back to. If I find myself in Dorset looking for a round of golf, there are three golden age heathland courses just a short journey away which offer a more subtle and repeatable experience and are more likely to be the courses that get my return visit, but admittedly, other golfers with conflicting tastes to mine may think differently.
What a course! Each hole is different with lots of risk and reward opportunities. We played in a 4 ball with a 10, 14, 18 and 21 handicapper. With each level of player managing to score well by each playing their way around the course and taking on the odd risk and reward. Be warned this course can run your day too! Would recommend this all day long.
Remedy Oak is nice. A a very modern style course with wide fairways set in very pleasant countryside, with each hole in splendid isolation cut through the expanses of huge trees. Greens are huge and putting would seem to hold the key to a good score. Also huge bunkers but not a heavily bunkered course with many greens hardly bunkered and fairway bunkers not often coming into play off the tee. Course condition was very good. Quite a long walk especially between tees and around greens on the cart tracks, overall about 7.5 miles. Despite the clubhouse being shut the welcome was very friendly and full marks to the members 4 ball due to tee off behind us who kindly suggested we (as a two ball) could go before them.
Best hole is undoubtedly the 2nd, a downhill double dog-leg par 5 with the approach to the green played over a lake. This hole is flanked by two solid uphill par 4's and the 4th hole is the pick of the par 3's, downhill and 224 yards with large bunker on right hand side of green protecting the rear pin. These first four holes were the most undulating part of the course and provided a really promising start, however they proved to be the best holes on the course. The back nine was I thought pleasant enough but nothing really to get the juices flowing, other than 16 which was a good hole and had arguably the most interesting and tightest tee shot on the course with two large bunkers set at an angle on the right of the fairway to catch errant drives. A couple of odd short par 4's at 8 and 18, both involving a short second shot over water but both requiring odd lay-ups off the tee. A playable par 72 off the white's but it looked like a beast off some of the back 'purple' tees.
Remedy Oak reminded me a bit of Woburn Marquess in style and also The Buckinghamshire (another John Jacobs design) and personally I don't see it as a top 100 golf course. In terms of Dorset rankings for me it doesn't hold the interest and variety of the traditional heathland courses and I personally would go for Parkstone at 1, Ferndown at 2, and Broadstone at 3. I think Remedy Oak would be vying for 4th spot with Purbeck; whilst Purbeck I think has the more interesting golf holes and stunning views, Remedy Oak has far far better course conditioning
Overall a welcoming place for a day out on a very well conditioned golf course
I played Remedy Oak last month and believe it is very deserving of it’s high ranking in England. The course was in immaculate condition with the fairways winding their way through ancient Dorset woodland. It’s not a course to just bomb the driver from every tee you have to plot your way round. The course has been incredibly well designed to be a test for all standards making it hugely enjoyable.
The staff go out of their way to welcome you and cater for all your needs. If the weathers kind, don’t miss the opportunity to sit out on the terrace and enjoy a well earned drink afterwards.
What is there to say about Remedy Oak other than that it is Millionaires golf! It felt like we had an entire majestic course to ourselves, as our voices echoed amongst the tall pines.
The course is in excellent condition and most holes feel framed perfectly by the trees.
Stand out holes are the 2nd, a winding par 5 downhill with a risk, reward approach shot over water to a narrow green. It is a very picturesque hole. The 4th is a long par 3 which you have to navigate through the trees and surrounding bunkers. The 8th is a par 4 tempter to go for it in one but you have to carry the water. From the tee the fairway cambers down to the water then back up towards the raised green.
The 11th is a good par 3 where the bail-out option from the water is left where the green kidney shapes to the right beyond the water. It's another nice looking hole. The 15th is a cracking par 5 that doglegs to the right. If you get a good tee shot away, you might have a chance to go for the green in two but that shot will be over water which is a common theme at Remedy. Again, it's a nice looking hole. The 17th is quite a nice par 5 and is potentially reachable in two shots, with bunkers protecting that option.
Remedy Oak finishes with a marquee par 4 where you have to hit a straight shot long enough to get past the huge trees on the right so you have a shot into the green which is at a 90 degree right angle. To make you think off the tee there is a bunker at the end of the fairway so there's lots of strategy here. If you've hit a good tee shot, then your approach is to a green way down below and over water with two big bunkers at the back of the green. With the clubhouse behind the green, it is a cracking finishing hole which provides much drama.
In essence, Remedy Oak is a very nice course in excellent shape and you couldn't fail to enjoy a round there. It is clearly a championship course. We did slightly prefer Parkstone and Ferndown as it felt like there was just something missing to elevate it to that company.
The staff are friendly and courteous and it was a great day out.
Excellent course, challenging and very well looked after! Everyone at Remedy Oak should be extremely proud of the quality of the course