Salisbury and South Wilts Golf Club dates back to 1888 and the club has expanded to today's 27-hole facility. Simon Gidman designed the main Cathedral course in 1991 and it affords panoramic views over the medieval City of Salisbury.
We played this downland course on a day of high winds early in November. The front nine is very open and exposed to the winds, and with wind against is a tough slog. 3 of the first 4 holes are over 400 yards and all but unreachable in two in the conditions. As the course returns to the clubhouse at half way, it was good to play downwind on some later holes, I particularly liked the 8th hole downhill par 3 and the 9th which is long for a par 4 at 460 yards down a valley and then back up the other side.
The downland theme continued until the 12th, and after a monster par 5 at the 10th, had probably had the best par 4 on the course at 12, a slight left to right dogleg to a raised green protected at the front by some massive bunkers.
And then all of a sudden from the 13th hole the topography of the course changes, the fairways become more narrow, the trees more numerous and interest is ratcheted up accordingly. The two par 3s at the beginning and end of this closing stretch are good holes, but the outstanding trio are from 15 to17.
The 15th, a lovely downhill par 4 to a raised green, the next is a runaway par 5
with enough challenges to keep the golfer right on his/her game, and then a beautiful short par 4 down one side of a valley and back up to another raised green.
The Club seems flourishing, the welcome was warm, and the golf course an interesting mix of holes which got better as it went on. The views of Salisbury about 3 miles away are quite stunning from the higher points, the course is called Cathedral, and the famous cathedral does indeed dominate the landscape.
Course maintenance is good, although the greens were quite slow after heavy recent rain, But importantly the course is situated on chalk or something similar, which means it is never too wet underfoot.