I have a confession to make. In all my of travels around the UK, I have never been to Wiltshire before. For whatever reason, it has just never crossed my mind. It was only when trying to find somewhere new to explore that the thought occurred.
It was a long journey from Golfhacker HQ and I arrived at my first port of call at Kingsdown Golf Club just about making my tee time. I embarked to tackle the course complete with no practice. It showed as I drove the ball to the right. However, I quickly found my feet on this lovely course. High up near the town of Bath, Kingsdown Golf Club is a hidden gem.
“The fairways are great and drain quickly, you can play here all year round,” a member told me as another drive strayed to the right. Fast and firm in the summer it was surely a stern test. “Whilst you are here, you have to check out the 17th” I was told. I’m glad I did. Here, a little piece of Augusta awaits for you. Tree lined, short but beautiful.
This really is a course with something for everyone. Friendly, welcoming and complete with a great mix of players all with golf at their heart. If I ever needed an introduction to Wiltshire hospitality then this was the perfect start. With the long journey and a nice round at a wonderful course under my belt, food was needed. Thankfully my hotel for the night, the Holiday Inn Salisbury-Stonehenge had my back. Minted lamb kebabs served on Couscous was delicious and I even managed to reclaim some of my youth with a banana split.
Seeing that I was a short drive away from Stonehenge it would be criminal for me not to actually check it out. I was far from alone. Well over a million people visit the site every year. Now it was my time to see it. The visitor centre provides you with a small exhibition providing you exactly why the circle of rocks is what is and why it is. I don’t wish to spoil it completely for you. It can be a bit of a walk to Stonehenge from the Visitor Centre. Thankfully English Heritage provides a shuttle bus to and from the site. I could have walked but with a further two rounds of golf to play, I thought I’d conserve my energy.
Stonehenge was stunning and the audio tour is a must to get the full experience. Young and old took their selfies with famous rocks and were enjoying their time at this historic landmark. For me though, time was short. I had to get to Tidworth Garrison Golf Club.
There is nothing I love more than seeing a traditional starter’s hut at a golf course. It is the kind of thing that fills me joy. For me, it gives you an indication of what to expect straight away. The first hole was inviting you to smash your drive as far as you could. I did just that. Walking away with a par on the first hole I thought that this course could be a straightforward one. How wrong was I as the course opened itself up to me!
The fourth hole was a long par four but don’t let that fool you. The fairway slopes to the right. Anything less than perfect means you will have a difficult scramble for par. The seventh presents you with a blind tee shot onto a down sloping fairway. With courage, you can really take this beast on. However, like the cowardly lion, I opted for safety. It was a course with an exciting mixture of holes allowing you to pick the shots you felt comfortable with. To put it mildly, I loved it. For those that love a Harry Colt designed course, you'll love it too!
However, time was against me as I had yet another round to play. West Wilts Golf Club was the next to welcome and this time I had some company for my round. I was guided by a member who took me straight to the 11th hole. With only limited time I was able to sample the best of this course.
Whilst it had a links feel to it there was no doubting both the challenge and its beauty. For those that love a good view then this is surely the place to come. The ever changing winds makes this course a fair challenge. One false move and there is trouble. This is a course that requires the best course management you can muster. “Every time I play here it is different”, my playing partner said. I’m not surprised. This course was something special. I could easily come here 100 times and never leave with the same score. That is the beauty of the game. To think about what you doing, play the conditions and the course and enjoy it. That’s exactly what I did. For those who like a challenge, this is the course for you.
Driving home always allows you reflect on what you have just experienced. For me, I need to go back to Wiltshire soon and play these courses again because a little bit of my heart is still there.
If you fancy taking a trip to Wiltshire to follow in our footsteps and want more information simply click the link below: