Huntercombe

Huntercombe

Nearby Courses

14 miles away

The Berkshire (Blue)

20 miles away

The Berkshire (Red)

20 miles away

Swinley Forest

Huntercombe is a crucible of golf course architecture. It was one of the first courses designed by Willie Park Jnr, who was simultaneously testing design ideas here and at Sunningdale Old. With its sandy soil and pristine playing surfaces, this is an inland Oxfordshire course that has much in common with England's great heathlands.

As Frank Pennink wrote in his Golfer's Companion in 1962: "Situated on a dry ridge of the Chilterns, Huntercombe is a lovely dry course, a refuge for the Oxford golf 'blue' when his own course is under the weather, and it is as peaceful a spot as can be found for golf anywhere."

Huntercombe is lightly bunkered and relatively short so you might well wonder what its defences are. The answer principally lies in an extraordinary set of green complexes that often feature outrageous contours.

In addition, Park dug out a series of hollows, which complicate approaches to the greens more than you might consider conceivably possible. For those who like to think about their golf, this creates a very appealing course indeed.

There is a fine quartet of short holes that can easily upset your scorecard, and indeed the opening hole is a par 3. At just 140 yards to a large green it looks innocuous – and yet the hog's back on the green can have you prodding at your tee shot when you should be settling for the middle of the green.

The 2nd and 3rd holes feature the only significant elevation changes, with the former playing much shorter than its yardage and the latter much longer.

Typically of Huntercombe, they encourage you to feed your approaches in to the greens from one side or another and it is immensely satisfying if you can manage to calculate your angles and then implement the theory.

Apart from the growth of trees and bushes, and probably with it an overall softening of the ground, it is easy to imagine Huntercombe as it was a century ago. It is much to the enrichment of English golf that such courses still exist to this day.