Review of the Month March 2021 – Painswick
There are nearly 1,900 golf courses in England and in Golf World’s latest ranking of the Top 100, Painswick comes in at No. 91. This position surprises me, as for instance it sits a lowly 15th in the county of Gloucestershire according to the top100golfcourses.com list, and this county is not generally regarded as a ‘hotspot’ of English golf. So after three months of no golf in Lockdown, we ventured out in glorious Spring weather to learn more by playing the course.
The golf course is set out along a narrow ridge leading up to Painswick Beacon, with its magnificent views over Cheltenham and surrounding area from the edge of the Cotswolds. The area around the Beacon is rugged and very hilly with both golfers and numerous walkers, with their dogs, much in evidence.
The golf course is very old-fashioned and quite bewildering in style with criss-crossing fairways, blind shots, massive changes in elevation and a totally unique layout, measuring in length just 4,800 yards. The front nine, for instance, starts with four par 4s, only one of which is over 300 yards long, followed by three par 3s and ending with two par 5s which share the same fairway whilst going in opposite directions.
Conventional, Painswick is not, the undulating Common land makes consistent green-keeping nigh impossible, but the delightful old layout gives a remarkable insight into how golf was played in its formative years. The welcome from members was warm indeed, and the fun to be shared by playing their course should be experienced by any golfer interested in the game’s history.
In my view, Painswick is nowhere near the Top 100 of golf courses in England, but as an experience with no concern about the modern influences in the game, the course is right up there. It is cranky and gives endless enjoyment, although your scorecard seems quite irrelevant.
Review of the Month March 2021 selected by Editor-in-Chief, Keith Baxter, and sponsored by TaylorMade – click to read more about Painswick. Photos courtesy of Painswick Golf Club.