Woburn (Duchess) - Buckinghamshire - England

Woburn Golf Club,
Little Brickhill,
Milton Keynes,
Bucks,
MK17 9LJ,
England


  • +44 (0) 1908 370756

  • Jason O'Malley

  • Charles Lawrie, Donald Steel

  • Luther Blacklock

The Duchess is the shortest and prettiest of the three courses at Woburn Golf Club. Major competitions, accolades and honours are usually heaped on the Duke's and more recently the Marquess courses, but the Duchess is lovely in its own right, and a stern challenge.

Charles Lawrie routed the Duchess course but sadly died before the build started, so his partner Donald Steel completed the project. The layout opened for play in 1979 and it measures a respectable 6,651 yards from the back tees, but it’s tighter, more heavily wooded, and therefore less forgiving of the wayward shot than the Duke’s. It's also more undulating than its older sibling, appearing more comfortable in its own skin.

It's a course where you must keep your ball in play. If you manage to do this from the tee, then the rewards can be great as finding the small greens in regulation is no mean feat. Use your driver sparingly because this is a real thinker’s course. The towering pine trees make each hole appear exceptionally tight. However, on occasions, you will need to go for distance or be left with long approaches.

There are some solid holes on the Duchess, especially the par threes. The 9th, stroke index 2, is a par four, which begins with a long, narrow chute off the tee. Halfway down, everything begins to kick left. The green, a stingy little thing, is close to the trees on the right and fronted by a nasty bunker on the left.

Most of the one shotters are quite long and challenging, demanding very straight tee shots. The unusual, 203-yard 7th, has a huge bunker, front and right, and danger to the left. An historic ridge – the remains of an ancient Danish settlement – runs diagonally across the hole and will push anything short and left into the forest.

The 15th, a 485-yard doglegged par five, is a typical Duchess shot-maker’s delight. Anything other than an arrow-straight drive ends up in the trees. A short drive leaves a blind second shot. The left-sloping fairway runs downhill, then rises sharply to a two-tiered green.

The Duchess fits into the Woburn family exceptionally well – it’s a real gem which many prefer over the Duke’s and Marquess.

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Description: The Duchess is the shortest and prettiest of the three courses at Woburn Golf Club. Major competitions, accolades and honours are heaped on the Duke's and Marquess courses, but the Duchess is lovely in its own right... Rating: 7.3 out of 10 Reviews: 24
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Andy Newmarch
I have been visiting Woburn for nearly twenty-five years and have played all thee courses a number of times but I still get a great sense of anticipation when I play here. The Duchess course is my favourite of the trio but put the Marquess, Duke's and Duchess in any order and you would not be wrong - Woburn is one of the great English venues. I got to play again last week which was its usual treat but the round enhanced by the fact that my three playing partners had not seen the course before. They all loved it and I am sure will be back soon; that's another three golfers converted to the Woburn experience. As for the course in April 2010; it was starting to look good and the greens were already putting very true and as good as any I have seen in the south of England this year. It s difficult to fault this course, the only observation that I have always had, is that the first three par 3's (2, 7 and 13) are a little similar...nit picking really.
May 02, 2010
8 / 10
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David Rimmer
If you can't drive the ball straight don't play this course! This has to be one of the tightest courses in Britain. Played it on 2nd October on the first day a 3 day trip to Woburn - all our Group were very impressed. Played off the whites (6600 yds) so it's not short and as such you need to hit driver on most of the par 4's and 5's. The start is very strong and you really need to be on your game from the first shot. The par 3's with the exception of hole 16 are as hard as it gets. The 2nd is a 200 yarder carved through trees to a green the size of a handkerchief- awesome! 2 of the others are in the 200 yard range. A fantastic track in great condition that focusses the mind from start to finish. The whole Woburn experience is superb and based on my experience is not too far behind Woodhall Spa and Sunningdale.
October 09, 2009
8 / 10
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Paul Eeles
As the third of the courses I didn't expect much but was blown away by the quality of the course. A tough tight track in excellent condition. Helpful and pleasant staff all helped to make the day great. Would definately return despite the pricey round. Is now a favourite for me. Excellent
July 30, 2009
10 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
As an example of a tree lined tight driving course that is as pretty as a picture, look no further than the Duchess course. I played in August 2008 (have now played about 12 times over the years) and the course never disappoints. The wonderful elegant pine trees are in view for every shot on every hole. Although there are a couple of par-3’s that are very similar, there are many great holes – favs for me include the tough par-4 1st and then great dog-legging 17th. Woburn has three memorable courses, all rather good.
September 11, 2008
8 / 10
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Carl Tushingham
Super course that requires straight hitting, anything off line will go into the massive pines. Well conditioned course with lovely greens. I prefered the Dukes course due its more varied holes, a lot of the Duchess holes seem the same albeit all good!!
June 03, 2008
6 / 10
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paul turner
Duchess has a better routing than the Dukes with far fewer back and forth, parallel, holes. But I don’t think its best holes are quite as good as the best on the Dukes. The Duchess is foremost a driver’s course and you have to hit it straight to score. It’s very light on fairway bunkering so the course relies on the terrain and hole shape to define strategy and keep us interested. I thought two of the best holes were 11 and 12, the former has a lovely green site with a shallow hollow to the right and the latter a cool lumpy fairway and an approach to a green with a left-right tier. Overall, like the Duke’s, the greens are pretty mild in contour and so short game interest isn’t comparable to the great, classic, inland courses: Swinley, West Sussex etc. Probably about right in the rankings. PS Pics 7-10 above aren’t The Duchess…they’re The Marquess
September 01, 2007
6 / 10
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Keith Baxter
September 02, 2007
Well spotted re the Marquess pictures. We have now corrected the error. Thanks for pointing it out.
DON THOMSON
A beuatiful setting and a very severe test of golf. If you are not straight off the tee here you will be penalised every time. Greens in very good condition and true. Hospitality friendly and efficient.
October 13, 2006
8 / 10
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barry moulder
Loved this place, what a course, friendly staff, the best lunch I have ever had at a golf club and three brilliant courses. The Duchess for me rated slightly higher than the Dukes due to the fact there were more memorable holes, I can still remember every hole of this one as opposed to only a handful on the Dukes and Marquess. The condition was also absolutely immaculate. In my opinion the second best inland set of courses in England bar Woodhall Spa.
March 29, 2006
10 / 10
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john a cotton
As the previous comments suggest - this truly IS a beautifull golf course, and you WILL want to play it again & again & again... Played Wentworth the day before and this provided a more enjoyable experience both for scenery & challange. However - it must be said, it's younger sister (Marquess) is going to be, if not already is, a better test of golf. If your short game is good - you'll score here. the other course requires a little more . This is not a flaw, it simply shows how good the Woburn set up is, at providing an superb golfing experience..... Will be doing it again without any doubt !!
March 15, 2006
8 / 10
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Lee Abbey
A crackerjack golf course that deserves to be much higher in the rankings. It doesn't have the big tricky greens like it's brother the Dukes but it more than makes up for it with it's utter charm. I defy anyone to not fall in love with this place on a summers day. Woburns club house is also really inviting with none of the snobbery associated with some of the more well known places (probably as it's used so much as a corporate place) - oh to be a member here and have the Dukes, Duchess and Marquess to choose from.
July 17, 2004
10 / 10
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