The Priory Course at Breadsall Priory Country Club opened in 1977 and offers some of the best golf in Derbyshire. The 6054 yards on the card play a lot more as you wind through steeply undulating parkland around the hotel. There is a premium on accuracy on the Priory as you play through tree-lined fairways to small undulating greens.
Well this winter just does not want to get started and for a fair weather golfer like myself I could not be happier, so as you will see in the photos we took on the day it looks like the height of summer! This has had a positive effect on golf courses in that they are looking pristine, no more so than the Priory course at the Marriott hotel Derby.
County golfer had been invited down to play the Priory course, to see the improvements that have been made to the course over the year, but more on that later. After meeting up with our players of the day, ‘Stav the Greek,’ ‘Badger’ and ‘Newby’ we headed out to the first, which is a nice hole to get you warmed up, a 314 yard par 4. Basically you need to keep your ball up on the right of the fairway as it slopes right to left and can leave you with a difficult uphill shot out of the rough, I know, because that’s where I ended up. My second shot however, ended up on the green this is basically down to me becoming such an expert on hitting it out the rough as that’s where I spend most of my time!
I walked away with a par, a good start I thought. Just a note, the next hole is to the right not the left as Stav thought which made him think that the hole was a par 3 at 656 yards long…yes he was looking at the wrong flag. The temptation not to tell him he was facing the wrong way on the tee was high. It was only the thought that he would take out some unsuspecting member on the 3rd fairway that turned him round.
After we had turned him the right way round he found the green and nearly got a birdie, but as we found out the greens when we played were so fast in fact I must say they were the best greens we had played on so far this year, but saying that it did lead to 3 putt walk of shame!
To be fair we were all playing steady golf, I was still wrestling with my slice, but now, after many lessons I know why I’m slicing, no not because I’m a left handed golfer, I’m just not bringing my hand over the top to close the club face.
After winding your way down hill on the 4th, you reach your first par 5 at 430 yards long, it is not the longest par 5 in the world, but what makes this an interesting hole is when you reach the green it is raised up high and wrapped behind the green is a high bank. This does help you for your second shot, if you have done a good drive, the chance to have a go at the green.
Badger, out of the three was the only one who did a good tee shot, so was the only one in contention to go for it, which he did. He struck the ball but scuffed it, it went flying across the floor, up the bank in front of the green, cleared the green, hit the bank at the back and rolled back down to within a foot of the hole, not the way I’m sure he envisioned it, but it worked.
This does lead us however to a cheeky par 3, which is only 120 yards long but is slightly down hill, you either have to drop it on the green like a bomb or just short and then roll on, but with the greens the way they were, this was not an option, I went for the bomb shot and landed on the green and managed a solid par. I don’t think there is any thing quite as satisfying as landing a well struck ball high in the air and dropping it next to the flag.
We were playing steady golf now, and getting to grips with the greens and really enjoying our golf on this hot sunny day.
Let me bring you along to arguably one of the best driving holes in Derbyshire, in fact I challenge you to let me know if you think there is one better. It is a real thing of beauty the 11th 358yrd par 4, you stand on an elevated tee looking down on to an immaculate fairway, you know the type, you can see the lines, where the greenkeeper has mowed that morning. If you don’t believe me go to our Facebook page and see the photos and while we are on this subject you can watch a video of us teeing off on the 9th a tricky par 4.
Now let’s move on to some of the improvements that have been made this year. Steve Turner the director of golf at Breadsall and the greenkeepers, have identified where the new improvements needed to be made, this is especially evident on the 15th where they have made good use of the water. It now runs down the side of the fairway in the form of tiered ponds. When it comes to the green they have made it so that the water cuts close around the back of the green giving it an island feel. It’s a nice improvement.
I must mention the 17th as this is a cracking par 3. You stand on a really high tee looking down on the green. I love holes like this one that look visually stunning and also get you scratching your head as to which club to use. I must admit I changed clubs three times after watching the others tee off – here is a tip for you – it is an a 8 iron.
After we walked off the 18th we reflected on good and bad shots but mainly the 11th . The improvements made by the 15th hole, the greens which, as stated before, were in top condition. It is good to see that Steve and his team have a real vision for the Priory Course and are still looking to bring in new features. Let’s face it we all love playing a course where you see new developments from the previous time it was played. We look forward to returning to see more.