Tidworth Garrison - Wiltshire - England

Tidworth Garrison Golf Club,
Bulford Road,
Tidworth,
Wiltshire,
SP9 7AF,
England


  • +44 (0) 1980 842301

  • Geoff Johnson

  • Harry Colt, Donald Steel

  • Mark Boscott

The military installation of Tidworth Camp was created by the War Office in 1897 when it acquired Tedworth House and a substantial acreage of Salisbury Plain, to the north of this imposing property. The British Army’s Southern Command was established at Tidworth in 1905, with the golf club founded two years after this, when it was formed as a sporting facility for the officers.

Soldiers and locals constructed the original 9-hole layout, but when it was doubled in size to a full 18-hole course shortly after World War I, German Prisoner of War labour was used to construct the new holes. Harry Colt subsequently refashioned the layout to create the course that’s now in use then Donald Steel altered a couple of holes in the late 1990s.

As time’s gone by, the number of military club members has dwindled, allowing civilians to play an increasingly prominent role in running the club. Tidworth Garrison is now a private member’s club, leasing land from the Ministry of Defence for the sporting enjoyment of its members, guests and visitors.

As one might expect from a Colt design, the par threes are exceptionally good holes, with the 160-yard 5th and 174-yard 13th the best of the four short holes. Because there are only two par fives on the card - at the 6th and 14th - the par for this 6,320 yard downland layout is set at 70.
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Reviews for Tidworth Garrison

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Description: The undulating downland course at Tidworth Garrison Golf Club was described by Peter Alliss as "a gem of a course on the edge of Salisbury Plain". Rating: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 5

Tidworth is a fairly old style Wiltshire downland course with lots slopes and a few blind tee shots. I have just returned after a gap of 25 years and the first thing you notice is the par 3 by the entrance is now a carpark and practice green; not sure if this has been replaced by the 11th but if it has it is a poor replacement (as per another comment the tree is ridiculuous). Trees have certainly grown up on the front nine and holes 3-13 are the most interesting part of the course with a good variety of holes (other than the 11th) with the 13th being the pick (a nice looking par 3). Course condition was generally good except for the bunkers (stony with variable sand depth). Overall I would say better than average for Wiltshire (arguably more interesting and varied than Kingsdown ranked at three) and worth playing if in the area. Not a classic Colt course though, with Clyne and Whittington Heath for example two superior under the radar Colt courses.

3 / 6
Tidworth Garrison
June 18, 2018


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Tidworth Garrison and High Post are regional downland rivals and “Royal” High Post as it is locally referred is currently ranked higher than Tidworth in the Wiltshire Best In County rankings. There’s no doubt in my mind which course is best.

“Tidworth combines some of the best qualities of a seaside links with an inland, heathery course, and is, in fact, one of the best downland courses in the country,” wrote Frank Pennink in 1976. Since then, and perhaps prior to that, trees have matured and some have been planted in bizarre places.

Tidworth Garrison 9th hole

The par five 6th hole has a wonderful greensite which drops off sharply at the back. A few yards behind the green a row of incongruous conifers hide an old marker post somewhere within the branches. The green was likely to have been designed as an infinity concept on this semi-blind hole – the conifers have both blocked the far-reaching backdrop of the downland and the next fairway and compromised the character of the greensite. The scrub hawthorn trees down the left side of the 9th spoil what could be a much better hole. As for the large random tree blocking the route to the par three 11th green, I have to say it’s one of the most peculiar arboreal hazards I’ve seen and it’s memorable for the wrong reasons.

Tidworth Garrison 8th hole

Tidworth could once again become one of the best downland courses in the country as Frank Pennink described more than forty years ago; it’s one of the more authentic Colt examples I’ve seen for some time. The opening holes are a tad nondescript and the finishing few are not from the very top drawer, but there are a good number of holes in the middle that would grace any English Top 100 course. The par four SI 1 12th is a peach and the one-shot 13th with its raised green and trio of bunkers cut into the left side is a real pearler.

Despite my feelings about tree interference, I enjoyed Tidworth. There’s a Golden Age gem hiding under the Garrison’s camouflage.

4 / 6
Tidworth Garrison
September 19, 2017


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Keith Baxter
February 28, 2018

Despite the fact that at least one person didn’t find my original review helpful, it seems that Tidworth Garrision Golf Club is not resting on its laurels. Tree and scrub clearance is well underway and judging by the photos I’ve seen of the completed work on #6 and #9 both these holes have markedly improved.

Tidworth Garrison 6th hole

Just as expected, the infinity green on the 6th has magically appeared from the dark shadows of the conifers. Even though this photo was taken in the middle of winter, on a grey and miserable day, the greensite looks way more interesting and the far-reaching views have added a sense of scale that had been previously been blocked out by trees.

Nice job.

I know lots of golfers rate Bowood and Manor House above Tidworth, but having played Wiltshire golf for 45 years now, Tidworth is the one course I really look forward too. I know it's not heathland or links golf but Colt really was at his best when he designed this course. The design is terrific, the greens these days are always in great condition with typical Colt undulations. Each hole couldn't be more different, and the wind factor means that the course varies each time you play it. Great set of par 3's, although I would get rid of the pine tree in the middle of the 11th, spoils the view of a very good hole, or just move the tee left so it frames the hole instead. Best day out in Wiltshire.
5 / 6
Tidworth Garrison
October 22, 2014


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Tidworth Garrison celebrated its centenary in 2008 and it really is Wiltshire’s “hidden gem”. It’s now a private members’ club that owes its foundation to the military and its clubhouse was a simple wooden barrack hut until the 1960s. In terms of style, the course can best be described as an undulating downland layout and many mature trees line most of the holes, but there are far reaching views across to Salisbury Plain and Tedworth Vale from a number of holes. The course is routed across the Wiltshire chalk downs, so drainage is excellent allowing all-year-round play. In my view, there is no doubt that Tidworth is a gem. Andy
5 / 6
Tidworth Garrison
May 31, 2011


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Tidworth is an interesting course hidden away in a charming corner of Wiltshire. It’s unusual to find a wooded course on the area of chalk plateau that is Salisbury Plain. A rather boring opener takes you uphill to a series of holes that are tight and with tricky small greens it’s no pushover. Don’t get me wrong, I like Tidworth, but in relation to the majority of courses on this website – many for which I’ve posted reviews – Tidworth is not in the same league. The course is short with only two par fives and the design is OK but few holes will remain in the memory, except perhaps for the 7th which is a great short par 4 and 13 a lovely one shot hole. Manor House and Bowood are both significantly better courses than Tidworth.
3 / 6
Tidworth Garrison
March 27, 2008


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T Thacker
May 20, 2008
>>the 13th is a lovely one shot hole.Things have changed since you played. The 13th has gone with a new 8th, 9th and 10th (a long par 3 protected by a tree), replacing the old 8th and 9th.There is no water on the course; it still is a good test and has a wonderful finishing four holes. Beware of rabbit scrapes!!! Ask for a gunner when at the bar, especially on a hot day.
M Snape
February 25, 2009
Manor House and Bowood are totally different: they are both big proprietary clubs, long and American style in layout. Course improvements over recent years have kept pace with technology and the course is no walk over for the best players. Club house has seen extensive improvements in the last year and is a lovely place to enjoy good food and a friendly drink.
Professor Googleknoc
February 12, 2014
Royal Birkdale only has 2 par 5's. Although Bowood and Castle Combe are good enough, they don't have the character of Tidworth, I always choose here over the other two and play all day for £20 on the county card, I couldn't conceive playing all day at Bowood and Castle Combe.
Hugh
February 12, 2014
Having written the original 3-ball review, I stand by my comments. I like to study Harry Colt courses, as he’s one of my all time favourite architects. I don’t think Tidworth was one of his better creations. Perhaps I will go back at some point but there are many better courses in England that I’d like to revisit ahead of Tidworth. I was dismayed and then confused to read the 13th is no longer (according to Mr Thacker) but according to the course guide on the Tidworth website the P3 13th and the short P4 7th are exactly as they were when I last played here. Also the course guide suggests the 10th is short par four, have they changed the course again I wonder? In response to the mad professor… Birkdale has four par fives, or at least it did the last time I played there and is not only stratospherically more challenging than Tidworth but also stratospherically better. IMO Manor House and Bowood are better golf courses than Tidworth, granted they are different in character, but I’d rather play either of them once than Tidworth twice. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike Tidworth, I was just underwhelmed with the course.
Mad Professor
October 22, 2014
Hugh, I play in the Birkdale Goblet every year and Birkdale is a Par 70, only par 5's are 15 and 17, if you go back a little further you'll find it used to be par 74, but those days have gone. Colt was given a piece of land to design a golf course on and he did a better job than any course designer could've done, he is also my favourite, of course there are many better courses in GB, but on a county level, once you've played all the Wiltshire courses a dozen times, Tidworth is the one you will want to visit the most, it is the most interesting, I promise you , you will soon tire of Bowood and paying an extra £25 for a buggy at Manor House. For longevity Tidworth is No 1 in Wiltshire
Harrison Brown
October 23, 2014
There are some 3 ball courses on this website, but I don't believe Tidworth is one of them, it is 4 at the worst, prob 4.5 but not quite a 5. It is an excellent days golf with typical Colt challenges and you will have all aspects of your golfing skill examined. This is one of the few courses I know that plays almost as well in winter as it does in summer, on the greens, the summer grasses die out in winter and leave the Fescue, the greens can actually improve through the winter. Why are some responders even comparing it to Birkdale, what's that all about? Compare it to Tandridge or Sonning by all means. Very good value on the county card.