The Eastbury Hotel & Spa And Sherborne Golf Club Review
Dorset is blessed with a beautiful coastline, and lush, green, leafy scenery further inland. For such a small county, the quality of golf on offer is remarkably strong and it still manages to be home to some of the best golf courses in England. Even at some of its less well-known clubs, the views both on and off the course, the variety, the value and welcome have a great deal to offer. (Our guide on the best golf courses in Dorset explains more...)
Sherborne Golf Club
I recently got to experience this on a short trip to Sherborne Golf Club, a place that perhaps should be more well-known. The club itself was founded in 1894 and forty years after its formation, the club decided to expand from a 9-hole track, to an 18-hole layout. The man hired to design this new course was five-time Open Champion James Braid, and the current design was formed as part of a refashioning in 2002.
The course is pretty and peaceful, and opens with a mid-length, downhill par 4 with far-reaching views which really starts the round off in a positive, memorable way. A few more par-4’s go back and forth before these stunning views return on the par-5 6th, while the memorable par-3 9th plays across a slope into which the green is cut. In fact I also liked the par-5 8th which moves slowly left on the contours of the hill, and the green is intimidatingly small given it is a par-5.
The 12th is a strong downhill par 4 with a hog’s back fairway along with awesome views, and pretty much every hole from there in has its own unique character. Big hitters may be tempted to go for the green at the 14th, but severe trouble awaits anything heading left.
15 is the last of the memorable par-3’s. It is not long but the tee shot is all carry with the green set into the side of a hill, and there are two bunkers waiting to gobble up anything short. Accuracy is key here so if you can, take a par and move on. 16 and 17, both par-4’s, almost connect together with the same fairway, and then 18 is an uphill par-4 to finish which doesn’t set the world alight, but it gets the job done in getting you back to the clubhouse.
All in all Sherborne was a very enjoyable round, and a challenging test if the conditions are right. What I mean here is the wind is pretty much always a factor to consider because of where the course is. I played on a relatively calm day but once the ball went above the tree line you could see the impact the wind had on the ball. This wind makes the narrowness of some fairways, and the smallness of the greens very challenging indeed.
I also liked the way the course used the land and how some holes were slotted into areas to make best use of it. This change in elevation, and contouring means you rarely have a flat stance which again, can be challenging. Overall this is a lovely club to visit that deserves to be better known. It may be an overused term in golf but I can honestly say this is a ‘hidden gem’.
The Eastbury Hotel & Spa
Whilst on the trip I stayed at The Eastbury Hotel & Spa which is a short drive away from the golf course and a conveniently short walk from the train station. There are lots of different styles of room at the hotel to suit all needs but if you are looking for a cosy stay then I would recommend the Victoria Garden Potting Shed Suites. These rooms are nicely finished and have everything you could require in them, such as the wet room, small terrace and the ability to make your own fire on said terrace. I also liked the smaller details too like the Smeg products, as well as a large mirror which doubles as a television.
Having received a tour it was clear all the rooms hit home the intimate, quaint and cosy feel which is ideal for those looking for warmth and relaxation from their stay. The hotel is also dog-friendly with certain rooms being able to accommodate your four-legged friend. Additionally there is The Eastbury Cottage next door to the main hotel building which continues the homely theme and gives people the chance to have a self-sufficient holiday whilst also having access to the hotel facilities.
Speaking of facilities, the hotel has an excellent restaurant with some delicious food, the steak in particular was outstanding. Additionally there are several vegetarian options too which is a nice touch and my partner enjoyed them. But the chief facility not to be missed is the spa. Located at the bottom of the lovely walled garden there are a wealth of treatments available including massages, manicures and facials. If you only have a short stay, definitely invest in a massage to melt away stresses, aches and pains.
As good as these facilities are, if you want to get out of the hotel then Sherborne itself is nice to explore. The town is very quaint with the high street being very close to the hotel where there are different shops, bars and restaurants. Sherborne has a lot of history deep within its land and buildings as well, and three places definitely worth exploring are the Old Castle, Sherborne Castle and Gardens, and finally Sherborne Abbey. There are also several peaceful gardens to enjoy so you can sit down on a nice day with a good book. Finally on Thursdays and Saturdays there is Cheap Street’s Pannier Market and on the third Friday of every month there is a Dorset Farmer’s Market too. As I have proven, there is plenty to do in Sherborne!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay in Sherborne. The town is easy to get to, the golf was enjoyable and challenging, the hotel was relaxing and friendly, and I cannot recommend a trip here enough.
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A golfer for most of his life, Sam is a Senior Staff Writer for Golf Monthly.
Working with golf gear and equipment over the last six years, Sam has quickly built outstanding knowledge and expertise on golf products ranging from drivers, to balls, to shoes.
He combines this knowledge with a passion for helping golfers get the best gear for them, and as such Sam manages a team of writers that look to deliver the most accurate and informative reviews and buying advice. This is so the reader can find exactly what they are looking for.
Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website, whilst he is also responsible for all content related to golf apparel.
He also oversees all Tour player content as well so if you need to know what clubs Tiger or Rory has in play, Sam is the person to ask.
Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five.
Sam's What's In The Bag:
Driver: Titleist TS3 (9 degrees)
Fairway Wood: Callaway Paradym (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees)
Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚
Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5
Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond
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