What they say…
Feldon Valley Golf Club formerly known as Brailes Golf Club is one of the most beautiful and peaceful inland courses in England. Designed by Ray Baldwin when Tom and Helen Taylor decided to bring golf to the Feldon Valley, the 6034 yard par 71 Sutton Brook course sports fairways running through the Feldon Valley. With natural water hazards and the Sutton Brook meandering through the course along with the oak and willow trees adding to the charm of the course as well as providing some of the natural hazards of each hole.
What we say…
Feldon Valley is located 15 miles from Blenheim Palace and is situated in the rolling Oxfordshire countryside. In within a 20 mile radius of Feldon Valley there are a number of prime real estate golf courses which include the championship course of Heythrop Manor. Unfortunately Feldon Valley cannot compete with courses of this ilk but at £16 for a visitor on a Sunday you cannot expect it too.
Upon arriving at the course you are presented with a stylish wooden clad lodge with the entrance situated at first floor level and takes you into the lounge and bar area. The bar offers good food, service and ale with views from the balcony over the practice green, 1st and tenth holes and onto the picturesque Oxfordshire farmland. Downstairs is where the pro shop and changing rooms are located, unfortunately the stylish and well maintained theme doesn’t carry on through to this part of the building. We visited in the winter months, this may explain the lack of stock in the pro shop however the club staff were extremely helpful and well mannered.
The club does have a driving range, of sorts. We needed to hit some practice balls before our round so we purchased a token for £4 each and set off for the bays. Our “short stroll” had us head out for a good 400m stomp that had us cross two fairways and negotiate small path before reaching an overgrown field with a few yardage markers, some mats and a ball dispenser in a shed. Not what we really expected. What added insult to injury was after being told that each bucket would contain around 40 balls we averaged 17 across three buckets.
The winter greens had held up well here in spite of the recent heavy rain but there was a marked difference between the course and the practice area where the putts were much slower.
The course eases you in on the first hole, a good straight drive will leave you with an easy high iron into the green. Anything within ten feet of the pin will give you a straight forward putt for a birdie.
The tee shot from the 3rd tee is one of the hardest of the course, a brook cuts across the fairway needing a drive carrying at least 200 yards, staying clear of the out of bounds to your right you will leave yourself a 150 yards into the green.
The other option for the shorter drivers or those who can tend to push a ball out to the right is a fairway iron, running it to the bottom of the fairway just before the brook leaves you with 180 yards to the putting surface. The ball has to land short of the green and roll up or stop when it’s there as the trees to the back will collect anything long.
The 14th hole is one of the most elevated on the course, from the tee box you can look down at the 16th, 17th and 18th fairways and onto church and hamlet that lie in the distance beyond the par 3 green. All that is required is a straight iron shot, however, you need to avoid the trees on the left and out of bounds on the right! The green is very deep but not very wide, balls slightly left of the green will fall away quickly and leave a tricky uphill chip shot. This is not an easy hole.
The for mentioned holes are the only true stand out marks on the course, the remainder of the track doesn’t leave a huge amount to be desired, the idyllic country side makes the course a nice place to be but we didn’t leave thinking that it was one to remember. The bunkers on the course make the fairways slightly harder to hit but most golfers should be able to score better than their handicap around Feldon Valley.
If you are in the area and you want a low cost 18 holes then this place is worth it but if you can stump the extra £30 to play somewhere like Heythrop Park then go and spend your money there.
- Low cost round
- Beautiful countryside location
- Good scoring course