The two courses at Stoke by Nayland Golf Club – Gainsborough and Constable – date back to the 1970s and it’s the chmapionship Gainsborough course that has the edge over its sister layout. Opening for play in 1972 the Gainsborough has matured nicely into one of the region's best golf courses and is routed along the edge of the picturesque Dedham Vale which has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Golf at Stoke by Nayland was the result of a bold step into the unknown by the Peake family (a 60-year-old farming family) who gambled on diversification and used their pleasantly undulating land to create a fine golfing destination.
The Gainsborough course measures a healthy 7,000 yards and the varied nature of the course ensures that golfers of all standards are kept busy and interested until the last putt drops. With long holes, short holes, doglegs in either direction, uphill, downhill, tough holes against par and a few real opportunities for birdie. Two of the very best holes arrive at the 10th and 11th. The 10th is a cracking hole, a 418-yard par four driving over a lake to a position about 150 yards from the green with the same lake waiting to be negotiated for the approach shot. The 11th is a well fashioned, uphill par three which measures more than 200 yards with its intimidating tee shot through an avenue of trees.
In 1999 the Stoke by Nayland Club added a luxury hotel, health club and conference centre. In 2003, they secured a Europro Tour event and the 3-day tournament has annually remained at the club ever since. In 2006 the club hosted its first European Seniors Tour event which saw Sam Torrance retain the title he won the previous year. The event remained at Stoke by Nayland, with England's Carl Mason winning both the 2007 and 2008 titles.
With the Constable course providing a lovely alternative to the championship Gainsborough and a possible third course in the offing, the Stoke by Nayland success story continues.
I played here on 05/12/2019, and have to say how very disappointed I was. I was really looking forward to playing this course, after hearing positive things about it from other golfers.
The course is set within the grounds of a hotel and clubhouse complex. These facilities are very nice, however, I am here to review the golf.
The majority of the tees were mats, and were set so far forward, that there was no real length to the course. This, matched with 18 temporary greens as well! I understand there has sometimes got to be an element of protection to greens during the winter months, however, we hadn’t had rain for 3-4 days, had a lovely sunny day the day before; and the frost had cleared by the time we went out. The green staff could have put the flags back on the greens.
As it happens, I never saw a member of the green staff on this course.
Mats on tees, and temporary greens, made this a very boring golfing experience, and I will not be going back anytime soon.