- +44 (0) 1908 370756
M1 J13, south of Milton Keynes
Contact in advance – midweek only
It was Lord Tavistock’s brilliant idea to bring golf to Woburn. He commissioned Charles Lawrie of Cotton & Pennink, to design the Duke’s course. After two years, and much tree-felling, the first course at Woburn Golf Club opened for play. It didn’t take long for it to be recognised. In 1979, the Dunlop Masters was hosted, and, since then, the Duke’s has never looked back – playing host to the English Strokeplay Championship, the British Masters and the Women’s British Open. The professional golfer, fashion designer and personality, Ian Poulter, is officially attached to Woburn Golf Club.With fairways flanked by glorious pine, birch and chestnut trees, the Duke’s is an intimate golf course. Each hole is played in splendid isolation. It’s a serious challenge too, measuring almost 7,000 yards from the back tees and 6,550 from the regular tees. Straight and long driving is the order of the day. This is not a course for the novice golfer – it will beat you up and spit you out.
There are some fantastic holes on the Duke’s but the pick of the bunch is the famous par three 3rd. Framed by rhododendrons and gorse, this is a genuinely delightful golf hole. The green is 100 feet below the tee, and the hard green slopes violently from back to front. Measuring only 125 yards, a short iron must be played to the heart of the green, otherwise, the ball is likely to scuttle off, pronto. The 5th is a wonderful, short par five – a well-struck drive down the right, as close as you dare to the trees, will provide a chance to reach the green in two – anything struck too far left, will scamper down a slope towards the trees.
The Duke’s is a good course, but Woburn’s younger upstart, the Marquess, has threatened it. There may be a benefit to this – the Duke’s will be less busy – perhaps... but don't miss the third course at Woburn, the Duchess.
The tranquility of playing golf in a forest really appeals to me. The Dukes scores highly in this respect, although the towering trees can make the playing corridors feel a little narrower than they actually are.
The short par 3 third is the obvious highlight for me. I love a short par three, and the change in elevation means you have to really think about distance control. After that, the holes are consistently good without any stand outs. Some of them are very long, and the trees await an errant drive, with different doglegs shaping in all directions.
A very solid challenge that will test the very best.
I felt compelled to post a comment as there are a quite a few reviews where the Duke's hasn't lived up to expectation. I agree that the Duke's isn't "majestic" to look at some of the holes are less memorable however it doesn't pretend to be a resort course, it's a golfers course rich in tournament history and the conditioning never fails to disappoint.
The Duke's requires bold, straight, long tee shots, well controlled approach shots and a deft short game. It's not for novices, nor for the faint hearted. Mistakes are punished. Good golf is rewarded.
The conditioning is always excellent at Woburn.
The tree lined fairways give you a sense of privacy and exclusivity.
The smell of pine reminds you of Les Pins at Le Touquet.
The knowledge that several of the worlds best have graced the same fairways always makes me extra determined to not let the Duke win.
The welcome in the club house is always friendly and courteous and the facilities are well maintained, functional, practical and comfortable.
The practice facilities are excellent. It's well worth making the extra time to visit the dedicated short game area located behind the 2nd tee of the Duke's. I could while away several hours here given the chance.
Woburn is class and The Duke is a gentleman.
After playing The Marquess a couple of months back, I had been keen to return to Woburn for a 36 hole day across the remaining two. Luckily we found a fresh Autumn day and teed off bright and early on The Dukes.
Much like The Marquess, all holes are played in superb isolation with fairways flanked by pine, chestnut and birch trees. The close proximity of the trees to the greensites gives the feel that you are playing into the galleries, with the crowds watching on.
The opening five holes are a fantastic set of holes. After a strong Par 5 opener, the 2nd is a lovely sweeping right to left downhill Par 4. As you get to the green on the 2nd, you are met with the sight of the upcoming Par 3 3rd. A stunning downhill one shotter, where the green sits 100 feet below the tee box into a chasm of rhododendrons. A beautiful hole. The next, the dogleg uphill Par 4, was my favourite hole on the course. Looking back down the hole from the green is a sight for sore eyes. Another Par 5 follows that is very cleverly designed. If you don’t get a full and far tee shot away, you face a devilishly tricky 2nd, trying to find a very narrow fairway that falls away sharply on the left hand side.
After the Par 3 6th I found the next set of holes a little uninspiring. Back and forth with straight tee shot and a short iron flick into a flat green. There’s not a lot here to hold your interest.
From the 13th the course picks up again with an excellent Par 4 across an undulating fairway, which for my mind offers the best approach shot on the course.
The closing stretch are all good visually impressive holes requiring good tee shots to score well. If you’re offline across this narrow course it really bites and Par saves are a rarity.
For me the Marquess is a better course due to the consistency of very good holes and there are certainly less average holes there, but the opening set of holes on The Dukes are the best of the three, it’s just a shame the course never quite lives up to the standard set by the opening five. That said this is a very good course that is visually impressive throughout and is a strong test of golf.
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Fantastic lay out and in great condition. They were working on the course during the visit but I can only assume they are trying to improve on perfection.
It’s a tight course and a lot of irons needed around here making some of the 420 plus holes long and a real challenge.
Get out and play it if you can
Absolutely fantastic course, easier than the Duchess which I also played today. first class facilities. Super venue defo worth a trip, not ideal for high handicappers. Up their as one of my favourites.
I'm not a fan of the Dukes course. It is often raved about and ranked quite highly in the country (in this case Top 50 in England), mainly because of a couple of holes and the fact it's at 'Woburn'.
I'll start with the good. The first hole is nice, the second is really nice, and the third is beautiful. The 3rd is the famous downhill par 3, which photographs great, but the green does need to be flattened a bit, as the back to front slope makes it very easy for your ball to roll all the way off the front. The fourth is a really great uphill par 4 that doglegs left. Hole 5 is fine, and quite a good par 5.
The problems start at 6, which is an okay par 3 that really isn't an issue. But it is the start of a trend of extremely dull golf holes. 7, 8, 10 and 11 all run parallel and are very featureless holes, whilst 9 is a nice short par 3, but design-wise is very boring. 12 is an okay par 3 (similarly to 9, a bit boring). 13 is a really good par 4, but the dullness continues at 14, an extremely tight long par 5. 15, 16, 17 and 18 all run parallel, making them hard to distinguish from each other.
The course is extremely tight (which I don't mind on the Duchess), which combined with repetitive, featureless holes, makes for a very boring round. If you have to play 2 rounds at Woburn, I would definitely not play the Dukes, and play the Marquess and Duchess.
Previous host of the British Masters, this course at the Woburn estate is iconic in some English golfing circles. This was the first course at Woburn, and every hole is played in isolation due to the trees (more on those later). It can also play extremely long, and certainly difficulty and challenge is one of the strong characteristics of this track. There are some great holes, such as the downhill 3rd par 3 3rd, with its shallow, wide green. The next is a sweeping uphill dogleg, and for me the opening 6 holes are the best stretch on the course. On the back, the 13th approach is over a large gully, which means leaving the right yardage is crucial. Unfortunately, like many courses built in this era, the course is extremely tree lined, which doesn’t offer many different lines of play or strategy. It’s basically hit it straight, or dead. There’s definitely room for courses like this in the golfing world- but they are just not for me.
Played the Duke's in October 2019 and it was in good condition throughout; even off the yellow tees all the recent rain mean't it certainly played all of it's yardage, so no pushover.The course starts well with the first six holes arguably the most interesting on the course. The short downhill 3rd is a delightful par 3 and the uphill sweeping dog-leg par 4 is equally good. After the 6th I just feel the course becomes a bit mudane with fairly straightforward treelined holes similar to those that you can play on many other courses. Picks up at the end with the last three holes being dog-legged and more interesting. Certainly worth playing but overall I feel the ranking of the Duke's is too high.
Better than the Duchess but a level below the Marquess. In my view Dukes is not a top 100 course and as the trees grow and the course gets more claustrophobic and therefore monotonous (the trees and vegetation unchecked will also affect the condition), it will be less enjoyable to play and reviews will be less favourable.
I had been looking forward to this trip for a very long time and it did not fail to dissapoint me whatsoever. The prince of wales young mens amateur championship was the perfect opportunity to get in a few rounds at the holy Woburn Dukes course! A lovely 36 hole day with a lunch in between and a bbq afterwards.
I could play there every day and not get bored however would get very frustrated when i’m not hitting it straight as it is brutal when you miss fairways. The condition of the course was immaculate with the greens being smooth and very speedy, tees being wonderfully maintained and the fairways were fantastic although very narrow! The bunkers were also really well kept witb beautiful design to them and plenty of sand. It is the perfect land to have a golf course on and a lot of the holes looked stunning with trees running down either side of them.
An obvious favourite hole of mine would be the 3rd, which was even prettier than i had expected, a stunning par 3 with a spectacular view above the green. The 4th was also an awesome hole looking back down the fairway from the green with the large trees running down the sides of the hole. The 13th hole for me was an amazing hole but also extremely difficult, however if you hit the fairway, then the approach shot is something special.
The Dukes course at Woburn is nothing short of outstanding and I would love to come back and play there again. It very much lives up to its great name and high expectations of course maintanance.
Do you not think that other than the holes you have mentioned, the course is very boring and the holes all feel the same? 7-11 are just back and forth nothing holes, as are 14-18. The condition is great, but when I walk off i really struggle to remember most of the holes.