Ross-on-Wye - Gloucestershire - England

The Ross-on-Wye Golf Club,
Gorsley,
Ross-on-Wye,
Herefordshire,
HR9 7UT,
England


  • +44 (0) 1989 720267

  • Ian Griffiths

  • C.K. Cotton

  • Tim Hall

Although The Ross-on-Wye Golf Club was founded in 1903, the club moved several times before a densely forested tract of land became available at Jays Green in the early 1960s.

C.K. Cotton, the chosen architect, was quick to pronounce that the site was too hilly and the forest would be supremely challenging to develop into a golf course. However, after much cajoling from committee members he relented and prepared several possible layouts.

In the summer of 1961 the lumberjacks came in and started carving their way through the forest. “My first memory was the sight of the head woodsman,” wrote Donald Steel, “then in his eighties, fuelling a woodland fire with fresh scrub and branches and cooking a lunch of bacon and eggs on the back of a carefully cleaned shovel.” A few months later, the bulldozers rolled in, clearing a path through the roots and tree stumps. After a Herculean effort, the first nine holes opened for play in 1964 and Frank Pennink officially opened the full 18-hole 6,451-yard layout in 1967 when he was the President of the English Golf Union.

It will therefore come as no surprise that the current Ross-on-Wye golf course has narrow fairways carved through chutes of trees where driving accuracy is far more important than length. Holes run in every conceivable compass direction and it is impossible to tell where you are in this maze-like, mature forest.

“There is immense variety at Ross,” wrote Frank Pennink, “and although it has more short par fours than most courses of its quality, they have exceptional features. The 2nd, 10th, 14th and 17th are really severe two-shotters, Peter Townsend once describing the 10th drive as more suited to a firing range. To make up for four short par fours, there are only three par threes, varying in length from 128, 143 and 212 yards. The 6th and 8th are genuine three-shotters. Altogether this is probably the finest new inland course constructed in these islands since the 1939–45 war and is a must for the connoisseur.”

Quality golf courses in this part of England are few and far between, but make no mistake Ross-on-Wye is special, very special, and it is well worth making the trip to play this unsung gem. Although Ross-on-Wye Golf Club has a Herefordshire postal code, the club is officially affiliated to the Gloucestershire Golf Union and is therefore listed in our Gloucestershire Best In County rankings.
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Reviews for Ross-on-Wye

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Description: “There is immense variety at Ross-on-Wye Golf Club,” wrote Frank Pennink, “and although it has more short par fours than most courses of its quality, they have exceptional features." Rating: 4.6 out of 6 Reviews: 8

I have played this course twice, the first time some years ago, the second time in summer 2017, and to be honest I had forgotten just how good it was. It is a course you have to think your way round. It is as well documented that the course rewards accuracy, hit it straight you will have chances to score, hit it wide... well okay whilst you will probably find your ball, but still good luck getting out of the trees.. you'll need it!

The close tree lined fairways can be intimidating...on the tee of every par four or five the course asks you Clint Eastwood style, 'Do you feel lucky punk, well do you?' Personally I didn't feel lucky enough, so took a three wood every time, and I'm not ashamed to say it either.

Still saying the course 'rewards accuracy' is not in this case a euphemism for 'short course', so that player brave enough and good enough to get their driver out will have a chance to attack the greens.... which brings me on to a whole other topic...

The greens were excellent, they are amongst the best parkland greens I've played.

If you want to play Parkland Golf, you will struggle to find better.

It feel at heart it's a matchplay course, with those risk-reward opportunities, still whatever the format don't turn down a chance to play there.

5 / 6
Ross-on-Wye
August 24, 2017


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Our group played Ross-on-Wye as part of a trip that included the Players Club, Weston-Super-Mare and Burnham & Berrow earlier this month. We expected quite a lot from Ross, which is ranked very highly and was once in the English 100 I think. I liked the course, but agree with many of the reviewers below that reckon it could be so much better. The trees make the course feel very confined and frankly most of our group struggled to score anywhere near handicap. It’s a tough course where length and accuracy is key to playing to handicap. On the back nine I resorted to hitting a mid iron off most of the tees and scored better. You need to be on top of your game here to enjoy it, especially for the higher handicappers who lost umpteen balls in the leaves. Hugh
4 / 6
Ross-on-Wye
October 30, 2014


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I agree with the last two reviews, great condition but a bit to tight, quite a few blind shots, challenging yes - but not very enjoyable. There are only 3 par 3's, the last being the 12th, for perfect balance they could use the ladies tee on the 16th and have a mind blowing par 3, instead of a mundane 290 yard par 4... just a thought. Staff and food very good.
4 / 6
Ross-on-Wye
September 03, 2014


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This course was in great condition when I played it in June. It requires long tee shorts in parts and very carefully thought out positional tee shots in others. It is a test of accuracy as well as length, but the layout suffers in part where you are playing blind shots and are trusting in the bounce of the ball not to penalise a good shot. If 3 or 4 holes could be remodelled it would be a gem of a course.
4 / 6
Ross-on-Wye
August 25, 2014


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Too many trees, too many drives or approach shots over brows, trees to close to fairway, that's why it never makes the list of good golf courses by the experts. Yes it's normally in great condition but a little mundane in the design, with every hole played in a funnel of trees, to repetitive. Sorry, but I was so looking forward to it, great food and very friendly members.
4 / 6
Ross-on-Wye
October 10, 2013


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Ross-on-wye is tucked away just off the M50 which means access to the golf club is very easy. The course itself is beautiful and tree lined but also a decent challenge to club golfers. Currently ranked number one in Gloucestershire it shows its quality throughout the course with a number of star holes. Always been in very good condition when I have played there. A decent finishing hole coming down the hill to the clubhouse is a good way to finish. Highly recommend.
6 / 6
Ross-on-Wye
April 03, 2012


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What a friendly club and the course is a serious challenge, cut through miles of woodland. With tight tunnelled holes through the trees you have to keep out of them otherwise its chip out or goodbye ball but decent driving will pay dividens as this is not an overly long track. Beware, playing this course in autumn can result in plenty of lots balls as they tend to hide underneath the myriad of leaves. Green fee is quite expensive but you can ply for half price on a county card. Ross is certainly one of the best courses in this neck of the woods with top greens and I would give it a higher score, but when I played last autumn, the leaves were down and I lost six balls on the edge of the fairway.
4 / 6
Ross-on-Wye
February 05, 2007


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Andrew Parry
September 07, 2009
From the opening shot down an avenue of trees off the elevated tee it keeps your golfing nerves on edge. Long par 4s sweeping around the tree lined fairways.2 holes the 8th and 16th share a high elevated tee requiring accurate drives but such different tactics. The 10th focuses the driving skills and the approach of even the longest hitter and evn the shorter holes ask for course management otherwise its a dropped shot from under the trees at the very least. Check out this course, its just a few 100 yards off the M50 so easy to find unlike the middle of the fairways for me!
Ross is special;a true woodland course (there are not many)with sweeping/undulating fairways and small greens. A gem which bears comparison with the best. Many outstanding holes with a good mix of par 5s;3s;long 4s and short4s.
6 / 6
Ross-on-Wye
October 12, 2006


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