What they say…
Being a former European Tour venue having hosted the Benson & Hedges International for four years, the Andersen Consulting World Championships as well as the Ladies English Open, you know you’re somewhere special.
Designed by Rees Jones, his first in the UK, also responsible for the redesign of the US Open courses of Torrey Pines and Bethpage, you can rest assure a challenge lies ahead.
Strategically-contoured holes that blend naturally into the surrounding countryside provide a challenging game of golf, topped off by four lakes and 135 bunkers this course makes full use of the terrain and natural elements to provide characteristics similar to those of a links course.
What we say…
The Oxfordshire country side, the Lake District and the Arabian deserts all rolled in to one.
When you arrive at the Oxfordshire’s front entrance, you know you have arrived. The drive way up through the course is greeted by the pillared frontage of the golf and country club, walk through the glass revolving doors and you are greeted by a beautiful lobby and reception for the adjoining hotel and spa, a small but perfectly sized coffee shop and then the large and well stocked Pro Shop to your left. The first 30 seconds of your arrival at the course sets you up for a fantastic day’s golf.
Grab a key from the reception and you’ll be given your locker in the large changing rooms, in fact, they are bigger than the entirety of most other clubhouses and as well-equipped as a paid for hotel room.
The changing rooms lead out to a well-groomed putting and chipping area, practicing on here is of paramount importance if you are to score well during your round, the greens are quick and true across the championship standard course.
As the name suggests the 1st hole leaves you “Full of Hope”, you stand on elevated tee box aiming to a wide fairway, but the bunker on your left commands your attention as it comes into play at around 240 yards. Avoid this and you have a nice approach into a green that is protected by two bunkers left and right, a good shot will leave a good to walk away from the 1st with a par. A nice start.
The 2nd hole “The Oaks” is named after the trees running along the right hand side, they won’t come in to play but the array of bunkers on all points of the clock face will cause you issues if you pick the wrong club. It’s only 128 yards but the wind swirls through this hole so make sure you take the conditions in to account.
The bunkers here are amazing, you’ll actually enjoy being in them and if you have missed them for the first 3 holes it’s not that easy to escape them on the 4th, the aptly named “Hells half acre” due to its difficulty and arid appearance. This is the first par five on the course, it has 6 bunkers in total with the largest spanning over 110 yards in length and near that again in’s width. If you do end up in the sand (and you will) then enjoy it, the army of green keepers on the course have these in pristine condition, the sand is light * XX, as is expected on a course of this quality, a good strike can see you back on the green stuff with ease, unless you go left where you’ll find more of the desert landscape.
The huge sculpted man-made lakes come in to play on no less than 7 holes, the first is “The Oasis” 5th. Tee to green is all water, respect this hole! Anything less than a pure strike will see your ball sink, take an extra club and aim slightly left, not to left though as you may get swallowed up by the 10 bunkers littering the fringe of the green.
The 8th “risk reward” hole is your classic “I can make this shot” hole, you stand on the tee knowing what awaits you, a long drive, over water and around an island oak tree, 260 yards to the front of the green, but you’ll try it anyway, most of you won’t make it. Stay safe, stay left and take what can be an easy par if you take your medicine.
The 11th is another par 5, a par 5 that should be simple in theory, an expanse of green fairway laid out in front of you, no sand until you are near the green and a slight banking on the left to help keep your ball in play. On the right 502 yards of water, running the length of the hole with the edge of the fairway sloping towards. “Keep calm and stay left” and you’ll stay away from the hazard named “The Serphant”.
Every hole at the Oxfordshire is golf at its best but the 17th is classed as the signature hole, “Treble Chance” was made to be watched by crowds witnessing the world’s great players go for broke if they needed to gain strokes on their competitors. The lake again is in play on the left, it and the 100 yard long bunker on the right pinch the fairway to ensure only straight drives are rewarded. Land on the fairway and you have two choices, blast a wood across the water and leave a short approach shot or take an iron, stay right of the water leaving a leave a longer 3rd shot in but with less water in play into the green. Neither choice is an easy one, risk getting wet on your second or risk hitting one of the 15 bunkers around the green on your 3rd. A bogey is a good score here.
The 18th is a TV golf hole, banking all the way up the right hand side keeps you on the fairway, the green is surrounded by high low cut grass slopes allowing you to really attack the green that slopes back towards you if you are short. Take a par here, shake you partners hand and congratulate each other (no matter what your score) as you have just played one of the UK’s finest courses.
Even if you’re not staying in the hotel spend some time in the club house after your round, it’s a great place to be. The food is good, the service is fantastic and the selection of drinks on offer will cater for every golfers tastes.
If you are looking for a weekend break with your golfing friends or even some time away with a non-playing partner then you should visit the Oxfordshire. It ticks every box you could want from a golf course or a weekend break. As always with top tier courses there is a price tag to pay, the Oxfordshire ranges from £40-120 per player depending on what time of the year and day you play on, however there are a number of green fee or hotel deals available out there, keep your eyes peeled. If you don’t manage to find one, don’t worry The Oxfordshire is worth every penny.
- Great venue
- Fantastic facilities
- Top 100 UK course
- Perfect for a weekend break