Nr. Melton Mowbray,
LE14 2EF, England.
GOLF COURSE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
The golf course wraps around the heart of the parkland in two extended loops, never being more than two holes wide, making it unusually spacious and peaceful. This configuration is reminiscent of the great links courses, such as the Old Course at St Andrews, as it provides continuing variety in the direction of the holes, as well as producing a series of stunning views.
Woods, ponds and streams, all teeming with wildlife, feature on many holes, although the meandering River Eye perhaps adds greatest strategic interest to the golf, coming into play on four holes.
Enjoyment is the crucial factor and on every hole, all standards of player are given a fair crack of the whip, with approaches on which the ball can be run onto the green.
Particular care has been taken during the design of the course to ensure that this exceptional historic landscape remains pristine.
The distinctive Scottish-style revetted bunkers have been used to exert maximum influence on the play of the better golfer, who is tempted to flirt with them to gain the advantage of being in prime position for the next shot. Grassy humps and hollows have also been used to shape the holes because they are less intimidating for the higher handicapper and the scratch player knows all too well the hazard that such features present.
This quintessential English golfing experience will enthrall golfers from all over the world.
Golf Course Guide
The 1st is a mellow opening hole, designed to get the muscles going. It is better to drive to the right especially when the flag is set on the left, as it opens up the line in.
The green is large and undulating as befits a short par four. A low hill in the centre of the green splits the putting surface into two, so only accurate pitches will be rewarded.
The course starts to show its teeth on the second. A central hump in the fairway dominates the drive. The drive left of it can only go so far, as the rough cuts back in narrowing the fairway back down at 245 yards. The bold player can attempt to carry it to gain maximum length, although a second hill on the right also forms a bottleneck in the fairway at 260 yards.
The second shot will reward the courageous player with a hollow and wetland eating into fairway 110 yards from the green on the left. A good second through this throat will leave a straightforward approach to a cunningly contoured green. The shallow green will be much more difficult to hold from further out and the out of bounds lurks close by on the right.
One of the more demanding par fours on the course, the 3rd plays uphill to an angled and elevated green, the right side of which is close to the out of bounds ditch.
Two hills feature on the drive with the player having to choose how best to negotiate them- either attempt the long carry or shape the ball between them. Beware the Out of Bounds on the right again.
The meandering River Eye dominates the strategy on the 4th, making every player decide on how best to negotiate her waters. A strong drive that lands on the downslope could make the carry over the river with the second a realistic proposition. This is the best route to take if possible, as it leaves a good approach to the green.
For those less long off the tee, it may be better to lay up, but take care not to go too far up the right as the green becomes increasingly less receptive from this direction. It is much better to stay short of the fairway bunker, even if it leaves a longer approach.
The green on the par three 5th is the making of the hole, it being a narrow target with a steep drop away over the back of the green. There is a higher shelf tucked away behind the right hand bunkers, so the bold shot at this part of the green is not without risk.
A sweeping dogleg to the left, this strong par four is a slight optical illusion because a drive played too tight to the corner may leave the line to the green blocked. It is better to stay just left of the bunkers on the right.
On the second shot, the green has a generously wide approach, inviting running shots, when conditions allow.
The drive is the key to success on this hole with a pond on the right and a large oak on the left. The bold player can attempt to carry a little of the water, thus by-passing the fairway bunker, but most will opt to stay short of it.
The green is elevated but has a pair of deep bunkers on the left, so it is better to err to the right if at all. It is another generous green.
The 8th makes full use of a bend in the River Eye and is a teasing hole, especially for the long hitter. He can try the long 254 yard carry over the river and play directly towards the green. For most players, there are two other routes. One is to play over the river twice and to pitch along the length of the green, boldness therefore being awarded. The more cautious can avoid the river by playing to the right, leaving an approach across the narrow width of the green over a pair of intimidating bunkers.
The left hand route is recommended for most players.
The lovely horse chestnuts frame the green on this hole, a deceptive par three. The first bunker is a good 10 yards short of this large green so care must be taken when selecting the correct club if the flag is cut at the back.
The green generally slopes from high right to low left, so it is more receptive to the faded teeshot of the right handed player. There is an upper shelf at the back right of the green.
With the view back to the house from the tee, the 10th is one of the most attractive holes on the course. A downhill tee shot between a stand of large horse chestnuts and a small wood is a good test, but the powerful shot is still the best option, although a ditch crosses the fairway just beyond the landing area. From the front tees, long players should lay up short with an iron or fairway wood.
A pond lurks left of the angled green, so tee shots to the right half of the fairway will leave the best line into the green.
This is a striking par five dominated by the out of bounds on the left and a series of bold bunkers on the right. Wherever possible, it is better to hug the left of the hole as this shortens the route to the green and avoids the bunkers.
A stream runs across the front of the green so attempts to reach the green in two shots will be few and far between. Only the longest player who plays through the narrow gap between the drive bunkers and the out of bounds can consider this.
A bold cross bunker dominates the approach and will feature in the minds of many players. It is 15 yards short of the putting surface so club selection will again be a little tricky. If anyone is worried about the carry over it, then it will be best to play out to the left as this will leave much the easiest pitch to the green.
The 13th plays gently downhill but into the prevailing breeze. The cross slope on the fairway will tend to push balls towards the bunkers on the right, so it is better to flirt with the hedge on the left of the fairway. The same applies on the approach shot as the River Eye cuts in close to the right edge of the green.
The green narrows significantly at the back, so, if in doubt, play to be a little short, rather than risk going over the back of the green.
This par three will usually play downwind, making club selection especially important. The pond on the right of the green should be treated with respect, as the tightly mown banks will gather the ball towards the water.
One of the mellower greens on the course, an accurate tee shot should leave a straightforward putt and a possible birdie opportunity.
The stately oak trees on either side of the fairway must be negotiated to reach the green on this uphill par five. The bold player can attempt to play over or between the two trees on the right beyond the drive landing area, although most will opt to play left of them, leaving an approach along the length of the green.
The left hand bunker is 17 yards short of the green, so do not be fooled when choosing a club.
Back into the park for the closing holes, the 16th has a high tee and plays down over a ridge, with out of bounds lurking all along the right. It is better not to play too far away to the left as this will make the approach all the more difficult, with the green guarded by an oak tree.
The green is on two levels with the higher upper level tucked behind two shoulders that run into the putting surface.
The penultimate hole is one of the hardest holes on the course with out of bounds along the right again and a stream meandering across the approach to the green. A bold drive down the right will be rewarded with the opportunity to run the ball up onto the angled green. A drive up the left is also a possibility, although the hill on the left of the fairway must be avoided when doing so. This will leave an approach down the length of the green, although the ball will have to be carried all the way.
The green is 50 yards long, so there is a variation of at least 3 clubs, depending on the pin, although the ball will tend to run towards the back on landing.
The 18th hole is not a long par four and, if played well, may be a birdie opportunity. Danger does, however, lurk in the form of two ponds and a stream. The tee shot is crucial and involves negotiating a pond, which is just visible from the tee. The carry from the back tee is nearly 200 yards at its longest although there are alternative routes both to left and right.
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