Monks Wood Close,
- +44 (0) 23 8076 9272
2 miles N of Southampton
Welcome - contact in advance
Ben Hunter and Lawrence Cherry
Stoneham Golf Club is a Willie Park Junior course built in 1908 on lovely piece of land that was formerly the old deer park. The hills take the player on a continuous rollercoaster, which leaves the player guessing which way he will be aiming next. The routing is most unusual in that the front nine rings the property counter clockwise and the back nine essentially works clockwise inside the front nine loop with a few back and forths to add variety. The effect of the routing leaves the player gauging the shifting wind on nearly every hole and is very reminiscent of Muirfield though I believe the unique Stoneham routing predates Muirfield’s loop within a loop design.
The strength of Stoneham is the two shotters. All ten provide interest and fun. The best of which are 4, 11, 13 & 15. The 13th is most unusual because the player faces a blind drive (due to the hills there are many obscured view tee shots) and a sea of trees in the distance. There is no obvious place to aim, but the player is aided with the knowledge that a good strike, which manages to find the right line, can reach the putting surface of this 273-yard hole. However, there is the difficulty of a very narrow green and wonderfully placed bunker to the right of the green. This crafty little hole is a marvellous example of how to defend a course at the green.
The par fives are also strong. With the longest being 516 yards from the medal markers all are reachable, but play longer than the card suggests. Additionally, there is an element of risk/reward on all five three shotters. The 14th is perhaps the finest example. The tee shot is downhill and moves left to right. A good drive allows the player the opportunity to go for this green in two, but the fairway is uphill, moves severely left to right over humpty bumpty land and finishes in a hollow which leaves a blind approach. One needs to keep well left and use the contours, but there is a hidden bunker on the corner about 25 yards short of the green. Finding this hazard leaves an awkward length bunker shot to a green which moves away from the player. It’s difficult to find a more satisfying par five in which the land is used so expertly.
Stoneham is every bit as good as many of the well known Surrey courses and one gets the impression that being located in Southampton has kept this club a hidden gem. Golfers who admire a clever routing and great use of the terrain should be beating the door down for a game at Stoneham.
Above article was contributed by Sean Arble.
Stoneham is an interesting experience and certainly unlike most other courses I have played. It is undulating as a links course, hilly with fairways going up and down as a mountain layout, surrounded by beautiful mature deciduous trees as the best parklands and it played firm as a heathland course should (sadly few do). It will certainly exercise your calf muscles and offer you few level lies, so come prepared!
It will also exercise/torment your brain, at least if you play it the first time without really good advice where to aim and how far to hit it.
If this is not possible, a good alternative is to make a full day of it, book two rounds and treat the first round as a recce mission.
It got onto our program because Parkstone could only take us in the afternoon and despite the hassle of squeezing these two courses in on the same day, I am very glad we played here.
One person in our small group even rated Stoneham above Parkstone. Would perhaps not go that far myself, but should absolutely belong in any serious England Top100.
Are you with the society?” said the jolly chap who met me before I had taken even a step into the clubhouse at Stoneham.
I confirmed that I was and he provided me with a goodie bag, pointed me in the direction of my colleagues and the breakfasts which we would down before our game, presented with similar smiles from the catering staff.
“Please come down to the academy before your round – I will be there in case there is anything you need,” he added.
Stoneham’s was the most friendly welcome of the 80+ courses I have visited on my top 100 treks thus far.
Should it matter when reviewing courses? After all, it is nothing to do with the architecture, routing, conditions etc.
I believe so because it puts the customer/player in the mood to enjoy all of the above.
Stoneham’s team were on point from beginning to end.
The practice facilities are among the most impressive in the UK, the young woman in the pro’s shop was helpful and wished me a fine round, the veteran starter was light-hearted and pointed us in the right direction and there was even a course marshal to keep play at the correct pace.
I say ‘even’ because Stoneham is not known as a major golf destination but its management clearly likes things to be right.
This attention to detail is translated onto a picturesque heathland course where the greens run true and the fairways are in great nick.
It is also a heck of a walk on a warm day with dramatic undulations which literally left us gasping for the water fountain.
The first hole sets a tone of warning for folk who want to try to smash the ball around the course. It is a relatively short par-five but heather and trees await on either side of the target and deep bunkers lurk.
One of our group tried to be greedy out of fairway sand and, consequently, failed to emerge.
Indeed, there was frustration from our four’s bigger hitters whereas I scored better by plotting and just making sure the ball stayed in play.
I preferred the first nine at Stoneham because of their admirable variety.
After a gentle start, the course begins to bite on hole three, an uphill par-four with a steep slope from left to right. It’s a toughie and where I realised that this was going to be a day for stern course management. Thus, I was happy to take three to reach the target.
The fourth – a long par four- is a belting hole, going downhill towards an attractive stream before rising to the green. A high mirror near the tee helps spot those in front.
Being a fan of the quirky, I was happily sated at Stoneham with the likes of the fifth.
This short dogleg lured our big guns who successfully cut off the corner but sand traps, bushes on the right and subtle borrows on the putting surface assured that the job was far from complete.
The par-fives are short but really tricky and include the sixth which goes up, down and up again with heather, bushes, bunkers and trees ready to thwart the errant.
Conquering par-threes is essential to success at Stoneham and following the fiendishly long one at the seventh comes the picturesque and shorter eighth.
The most drama, though, came on the ninth with its undulating fairway and plateau green with steep drop-offs.
I was playing my approach oblivious to my trolley setting off and gathering pace across the fairway, eluding one of my compadres and crashing into trees.
To add to my woe, I then discovered my ball in a swirl of heather to the left of the green.
The 11th is another memorable hole with its green above a dip which goes down to a brook. Strategy and precision are necessary for any hope of a score here.
The ups and downs continue apace – and the 12th offers the added obstacle of a wide heather-lined bunker directly across the fairway.
However, if I were to offer a criticism of Stoneham it is that the holes between the 13th and 17th are not quite as memorable as those which had gone before – although I did nip in with a nearest-the-pin and birdie two on the 16th.
The penultimate hole was one of my favourites – a downward dogleg right over a stream to a green with sand on the left and water on the right.
And then there is the home hole – a long par-five up yet another weary incline.
Stoneham was a fine course which tests stamina as well as skill and the welcome of its team and prompt delivery of food and drink meant our return to the clubhouse finished off the day perfectly.
Many clubs should take note. Visiting a club is an all-around experience. I would imagine that players return again and again to Stoneham because it ticks so many boxes.
Stoneham GC was an absolute pleasure, despite the golf not doing the beautiful golf course any justice whatsoever!
I played Stoneham in a society day in the middle of May and from the first welcome to the last goodbye, Stoneham delivered.
The first hole eases you in gently, with a downhill par 5 usually with a prevailing breeze (if there is one), keep your drive to the right hand side but beware of the dry ditch that gobbles golf balls.
Notable holes for me were the collection of short holes and the green complexes in general all across the course. The back to back par three holes at 7 & 8 begin with a 229 yard shot to the green on 7, a tough shot with danger all around, be short if anything but don't be long, left or way right! 8 provides little relief as the short hole is surrounded by a very well protected green, miss the putting surface here and a 3 will feel like a birdie.
The closing three holes are chalk and cheese - beginning with a short par three that most players will feel is a par wasted if you don't walk off with a 3.
17 plays down the valley and around to the right, with a well protected green, a watery grave lies short and right and the green is surrounded by ground works from the new practice facility (more on that in a minute).
18 is an out and out par 5 slog up the hill, clear the bunker on the left hand side by cutting the corner and you'll have a chance to go for the green in two. The green is actually very fair and there is a good chance for birdie here if the tired legs can keep you upright long enough.
Two things stood out for me on the course, the greens were very true and remarkably quick, not rapid but fair. Also, the course itself when in full bloom of heather, will be a purple joy!
Off the course, the welcome was by far the warmest I have every experienced and the food was very tasty, exactly what you need when on a society day.
I'd love to return when the course in full bloom in a months time, I am sure the experience will be as enjoyable as the first.
Considering Stoneham is almost fully encapsulated by the M3 and the M27, it's a relatively quiet course. This place was the start of my first golf trip of the year and it certainly didn't disappoint.
I probably came at the worst time of year in all honesty. The course had been closed the day before due to waterlogging. Unlike it's counterparts a little further north Stoneham unfortunately doesn't benefit from sand based turf, which means the clay base this course is laid upon is always going to struggle a little more in the winter with volumes of rain England usually gets. This being said, the greens held up very very well and were some of the best you'll play on at this time of year for an inland course.
Stoneham is located just north of Southampton and it's the only course in the top 100 around the area. Being the 'premier' course in Southampton, this attracts a few higher profile members as well as European Tour winner Richard Bland who was out on the course by the time I had tee'd off.
I would label this place as unconventional. The layout boasts a mighty five par 5's and 3's to complete the par 72 and it's the first time I've played a course with back to back par 3's. This is also shown in the layout which is very fun to play. (not so fun to walk!) The course is very undulating and it's rare you will find a flat hole. Work has also not long been completed for the £1.2 million practice facility which boasts a chipping green and indoor and outdoor driving range with private studio which is top top quality.
The course itself is fit onto a modest piece of land with the first 9 holes routed along the boundry with the back 9 coming back on yourself before you find yourself playing back towards the clubhouse.
I ended up shooting a new PB round here, replacing my +4 last year in Portugal with a shiny +2! An eagle start certainly helped me on my way round here with some of the tough par 3's Stoneham throws at you. Ben, the golf op manager reached out to me as a fellow golf nut and it was great chatting before and after the round as well as showing and talking me through the new practice facilites. It really added to the day and I very much look forward to coming back in the summer and giving it a proper go where I might hopefully get a little more distance on the fairways!
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Positioned in the middle of a horseshoe of where the M3 and the M27 motorways collide, Stoneham’s location is an odd one. You wouldn’t choose to build a golf course in an area surrounded by such traffic, but considering that the club was established in 1908, I think we can safely assume that the course came first. Fortunately, you don’t hear the motorway traffic, but the heavy construction traffic that you meet on arrival isn’t something you can avoid. The club embarked upon a major remodelling project in 2012 which is now thankfully close to an end. The practice area is still under major renovation, but there was minimal disruption once out playing the course.
To my untrained eye, Stoneham visually appears to be more naturally a parkland course than heathland. This could be due to changes the club have made over the years, but recent enhancements to the course’s appearance by introducing strips of heather, particularly around the bunkers, are starting to change the appearance.
Whilst I enjoyed the opening stretch of holes, it’s from the par five 6th where Stoneham starts to shine as you play across the part of the course that takes you furthest from the clubhouse. After the charming approach to the 6th, two consecutive par threes arrive immediately thereafter, the 7th being brutally long, and the 8th, with a wooden trestle bridge over a valley to a heavily bunkered raised top green, the prettier of the two short holes.
Stoneham’s a rolling course with most holes playing downhill or up and across valleys and it’s during this middle stretch of the course where the topography is at its most distinct. The 9th is another cute hole, at 383-yards, this might not seem like a driveable green, but if you catch the downslope correctly in firm conditions, your ball will just run and run. 11 and 12 continue this splendid run of holes; the former being a par four over a stream within the same valley that was encountered earlier, again to another one of those plateau greens, and the latter being a reachable par five with a beautiful, heather topped cross bunker and a green that falls away heavily to the right hand side. After the acutely strategic tight and blind short par four 13th with its angled green, the last noteworthy hole is the 14th. Not long for a par five at 481 yards, it’s played to a steeply banked humpback fairway that’s like someone threw a grassy tablecloth over a whale.
It's been four years since I previously played at Stoneham and the improvements are significant, this has been time and money well spent. Whilst already ranked fourth in the county, I could see Stoneham climbing the Hampshire rankings as more people get to enjoy the finished product.
A very good members course. Great greens and bunkers. Fairways are what you would expect for a course without fairway watering.
However I played it with a society. Many of the tee shots are blind. We played the first nine twice and my second first nine was played quite differently. The starters advice about the fourth was misleading. The second nine was only played once and again requires a lot of local knowledge.
The club doesn't have stroke savers or hole plans on the tees.
As it stands I cannot recommend playing here.
I played Stoneham last week and found it to be a lovely course in excellent condition. A 2.5 ball review is completely unjust on the back of the club not having stroke savers. They’ve been undertaking major renovation work, which you must have noticed, and they don’t want to print strokesavers until the work’s complete.
Stoneham is a great parkland course and every time I go there I am always extremely impressed with how well the greens are rolling. The greens are extremely fast and roll so well which makes it a really nice round as you're always getting a true putt. However the greens are also quite undulating so actually with them being very fast makes it a lot harder! The course is always in great condition but is very hilly so if you're planning a 36 hole day then it will definitely tire you out. Some of my favourite holes would have to be the par 4 4th, although it is probably the hardest on the golf course, it is a beautiful looking hole, also the par 4 11th is a great hole with a good looking approach shot ahead of you. It is a nice course and well worth a place in the top 100.
We played Stoneham on a cracking day in June and were really impressed by what was an excellent track. We were lucky enough to see some wild deer and also lucky enough not to see any adders.
A delightful elevated tee box greets you off the par 5 first in front of the clubhouse looking out to a relatively blind shot towards the fairway and some fearsome looking bunkers. If you remain safe from your tee shot, the hole is eminently scoreable as its a nice ambient winding hole which doglegs left and meanders down to the hole. What we did notice was how quick the greens were! I must say the greens were very pure and a pleasure to putt on, but they were quick.
The second is a tough par 3 with trees both left and right providing a natural amphitheatre for the green which looked inviting.
The 3rd is a superb par 4 where the fairway slopes dramatically upwards giving you a nice hearty walk and doglegs left with the fairway sloping to the right.
The 4th is a stunning long par 4 which slopes steepwards down all the way to the hole with a brook running along the bottom of the fairway as you get closer to the hole. The brook and the sloped fairway have you procrastinating over the tee box club selection.
The 5th is a short scorable par 4 which doglegs right and fairway bunkers make you think about which club to hit off the tee.
The 6th is a nice par 5 that drifts to the left, leaving a lovely approach shot to a green that's protected by a dip beforehand. The 7th is a daunting long par 3 well over 200 yards and whilst I'm not a fan of very long par 3s, it is still a good hole and works well within the course. 8 is a tricky par 3 which is well protected by bunkers and 9 is a straight par 4. 10 is a longish par 3 with a big slope to the right. The 11th is a belter. It doesn't pay to be too long off the tee as the fairway slopes down into a huge valley style ditch with the green on a plateau above. The green slopes from back to front to add to the fun. 14 is a lovely par 5, 16 is a brilliant short par 3 with magnetic bunkers and a good matchplay hole and the last hole is a nice par 4 which doglegs up a significant slope left towards the clubhouse and a fitting end to a thoroughly enjoyable round of golf.
The course is going through a regeneration project, part of which is updating the bunkers to give them that natural heathland look and they did look stunning. There was no adverse impact on our round from the project and we thought the course was tremendous. There were many mutterings of "I would love to play this course again". There is no one who I can imagine wouldn't enjoy Stoneham.
Is there a course in Great Britain that has a more striking and varied collection of holes than Stoneham? I don’t think so. I should confess that Stoneham has, and always will have, a special place in my heart. I caddied for my father here in 1989 in the Pro Am and when the last team didn’t turn up I found myself teeing it up the day after I received my first handicap. Playing with Gary Stubbington, a Hampshire legend with a dream of a golf swing, the secretary of the HPGA and the assistant from the shop, still an amateur, we shot -19 and we won! So I was hooked on the game and went home with a 12 inch TV with remote control.
The last 25 years have not been kind to Stoneham. Thatch, encroaching woodland, lack of water and lack of investment took their toll. However, things have very much changed for the better. The bold and progressive work that started 2-3 years ago under the guidance of an enlightened management and expert green keeper is starting to pay off handsomely. Massive investment is underway and the work that has been undertaken on the clearance of encroaching woodland and the world class new bunkering will re elevate Stoneham to the position it rightly deserves. The greens have returned to their challenging best. True and fast. The undulating ground remains as inviting and enticing as it always was. Every hole is so different from the last but the language is the same. The finesse and intricacy with which the bunkers have been renovated and renewed will stand the test of time for generations to come. The shaping and aesthetic is world class.
The par is generous at 72 for just 6400 yards however I can imagine that being stretched comfortably in years to come. Every shot at Stoneham is inviting and requires thought and skill. It is a fair course that can reward and punish in equal measure. Consider the Men’s open in August to challenge Hampshire’s best or don’t hesitate to take your society. It’s viscerally memorable. But I can’t guarantee you’ll go home with a telly.
Stoneham is a great course which was in in really good condition. The greens were curvy, fast and true. The layout is well thought through and the changes in elevation are well worked. Very few blind shots and none to greens. An all-round good test of your golfing skills in every department. It’s clear they’ve done a tremendous amount of work on the course and that has come to fruition. I look forward to going back at some point and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. You might want to book a buggy if you’re knees are knackered otherwise fit and healthy people will enjoy walking.