Prestbury – A golf course with a pedigree

Prestbury‭, ‬as part of the golden triangle‭, ‬is referred to as one of the poshest villages in the UK‭. ‬A beautifully quaint little village that now has a host of footballers and celebrities living‭  ‬there‭, ‬the area is becoming‭ ‬the place to live‭. ‬But is the golf club there the place to play golf‭?‬

Prestbury golf course was founded in the 1920s and was designed by Harry Colt‭, ‬designer of Muirfield‭, ‬Royal Lytham and St‭. ‬Anne’s‭, ‬Sunningdale New Course‭, ‬St George’s Hill‭, ‬the Eden Course at St‭. ‬Andrews‭, ‬Wentworth‭ (‬East and West Courses‭), ‬Rye and Royal Portrush to name just a few‭. ‬The area for the course was picked due to its dramatic and sharp elevation changes‭, ‬and Colt has clearly made the very best of this creating some of the most stunning holes you’ll ever find‭. ‬But be warned‭, ‬these big elevation changes make it a real trek‭, ‬it’s not a course for the unfit‭!‬

It came as a real surprise to me to learn that the course lies on only 90‭ ‬acres of land‭, ‬relatively small for an 18‭ ‬hole course‭,‬‭ ‬but you’d never know this‭, ‬as the course is structured in a way that makes it feel far‭, ‬far bigger‭.‬

The club has hosted many county and national competitions‭, ‬including the English Seniors Championship and Open Championship Regional Qualifying‭. ‬In 2020‭, ‬their Centenary year‭, ‬they will be hosting the Reid Trophy‭ (‬English Boys’‭ ‬Under 14’s Championship‭). ‬If you’re a member you will also benefit from reciprocity with 11‭ ‬other great courses‭, ‬including West Lancs and Lindrick‭, ‬via the‭ ‬“passport scheme”‭ ‬and a further selection of courses via the Harry Colt Association‭.‬

Despite the terrible weather we’re currently having‭, ‬we somehow managed to play on a beautifully sunny but cold winters day‭. ‬The course had drained really well‭,‬‭ ‬and with the exception of the 7th and 8th you’d never have guessed we’d had so much rain‭. ‬The greens all rolled fantastically and some of the fairways were as good as I’ve ever played on‭.‬

After a disaster of a round the previous week at Moortown Golf Club I was determined that I would bounce back‭, ‬and opted to play‭ ‬the first few holes with irons to get back in the swing‭. ‬A 459‭ ‬par 5‭ ‬would be seen by some as a good birdie opportunity‭, ‬but when you’re recovering from a shocker‭, ‬you’re just happy to hit fairways again‭! ‬It plays gently down into a valley before rising back up to a generously sized green‭. ‬A nice easy starter hole‭.‬

The par 4‭ ‬5th hole is a great challenge of accuracy‭, ‬a steady drive onto the fairway will leave you 100-120‭ ‬yards into the pin‭, ‬but with the green so narrow‭, ‬elevated up and surrounded by bunkers and trees‭, ‬it’s either land on the green or you’ll be in a world of pain‭. ‬Lefty hit the right of the green and bounced back down the hill finishing with a 6‭. ‬I went slightly over and landed in the rough behind the green and managed to rescue a 5‭. ‬

The 9th hole is the stroke index 1‭, ‬and is well deserving of this ranking‭. ‬The tee gives you incredible views over the course‭, ‬and is a pleasure to tee off from‭. ‬But don’t let its beauty deceive you‭, ‬it’s an incredibly challenging 455‭ ‬yard par 4‭. ‬A very elevated tee shot plays over a brow and if you get enough distance on it‭, ‬it’ll run down the hill into a valley‭, ‬still leaving a‭  ‬big uphill tight approach to a narrow green‭. ‬As a medium handicapper‭, ‬I’d take a 5‭ ‬on this hole any day‭!‬

The 11th is a great opportunity for a birdie‭, ‬a 489‭ ‬yard par 5‭, ‬with a good drive over the brow‭, ‬the fairway then sweeps to the‭ ‬right and down towards the inviting green‭, ‬with just the 1‭ ‬bunker protecting the green you can take it on with your second shot‭.‬‭ ‬It’s a hole that really rewards you for being brave‭.‬

Prestbury backs up its exceptional course with some exceptional facilities too‭. ‬The club also has a 27-acre practice ground with‭ ‬purpose built grass tee‭, ‬long and short game areas and indoor teaching facility‭. ‬

If you venture into the clubhouse you’ll find an award winning chef preparing some great food‭, ‬giving an extra bit of quality to a society day‭.‬

Fancy giving it a go for yourself‭?  ‬Just the other side of‭ ‬Macclesfield‭, ‬Prestbury isn’t as‭ ‬‭ ‬far as you think‭, ‬and for a course of this quality it’s well worth the trip‭.‬

County Golfer Award Winners

Reading through this years (2016) course reports in County Golfer I realised how much the team love playing golf and view golf as an enjoyable game to play with good friends.

Some may feel that their light-hearted, life as it really is, view is not quite up to ‘Masters’ standard of golf but then they don’t play as good as that either. Thinking along those lines I wondered how many in our two counties do play to that standard, and if they do why are they not in the Ryder Cup Team?  We must try harder to get to scratch. However, over the past year we have been invited to play and write about golf as a game played for enjoyment. The welcome and hospitality we have received has overwhelmed us. Our reports on some of the countries top 100 courses – St Andrews, Machrihanish, Royal St Georges, Saunton (East) has led to more invites for 2017. We have even played courses that don’t ask you to wear a tie! Some will let you buy a drink in the bar without wearing a trilby or smoking a pipe! Others let you walk on the grass with no levitation required. Some now allow ladies in the clubhouse! Where will it all end? Golf is such a rich set of tapestries. Rules are made, some are broken, rules are changed,  some we will never understand. I was once asked to move a yard to the right because I wasn’t allowed to buy a drink in the spot I was standing in, because that was for members only. The barman explained “It’s more than my jobs worth to serve you there” at which point we both moved a yard and he served me!  Oh boy. I feel clubs need rules otherwise it will result in mayhem. But there are less rules at St Andrews than there are at some of our counties courses. I’m glad to say that many clubs have relaxed a little whilst still retaining the dignity that playing golf deserves.

So with no inhibitions, consultations, phone in, email, facebook or public/private surveys, here is a completely biased view by the County Golfer team of Lefty, Newby, Fame, Yorkshire Terrier, Spence and Badger of the courses we have played in 2016. You may argue if you wish but these are our rules. If you disagree please explain why in full on the back of a postage stamp!

We’ve had a great years golf and our hearty thanks goes to all the clubs that have made our visits a real treat.