The Berkshire Red Course Key Information
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|Swinley Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 8AY
|£220 Mon-Fri, £300 Weekends after midday
|All week by prior arrangement
|Men 72, Women 73
|White/M 131, Red/W 134
Golf Monthly Verdict
With its heady mix of six short holes, six par 4s and six three-shotters, the Red Course at The Berkshire is perhaps the most varied in the Top 100. There are also probably more birdie chances here, though that’s not to say that anything is a pushover. It also has a great wealth of physical beauty, and when the heather is out in mid-late Summer, it is a real stunner.
Reasons To Play The Berkshire Red
– A brilliant pot pourri of the short (some not so), the medium, and the (not overly) long
– A new, attractive and very different challenge on every tee
– Half of one of the best 36-hole days in golf anywhere in the UK&I
UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 41
In the Golf Monthly Top 100, The Berkshire Golf Club Red Course is the senior of two wonderful Herbert Fowler designs here. Each is a real heathland beauty with the holes separated by majestic pine on a quite lovely site. Together, in a strong area for golf, they are two of the very best golf courses in Berkshire.
The Blue is almost certainly the tougher to score well on, while the Red tends to be the more talked about.
The primary reason for this is that it has a brilliant and exciting configuration made up of six of each par. It is only at the 12th that you play the same par as the previous hole - in this case, back-to-back 4s.
This ever-changing variety is happily matched by the design characteristics of the individual holes themselves.
Each of the par 5s is probably just about reachable by the longer hitters, while even those who don’t hit so far from the tee can get pretty close in two. This raises high hopes of the odd birdie or two, and perhaps even an elusive eagle.
Perhaps the hardest holes on which to score are the six quite fabulous and extremely varied par 3s. Each of them is a beauty with the first two on the back nine right up there in the premier league.
The glorious 10th is played slightly uphill over a blanket of heather where anything short or right is likely to be in big trouble. The lengthy 16th - 221 yards from the back - usually requires a wood or at the very least a hybrid, and again demands a carry to the putting surface. This is undoubtedly one of the best golf courses in England.
If you can keep the ball straight and make all the requisite carries, there is an excellent chance to play to handicap or better. And even if you don’t, then it is hard not to be anything but delighted by the timeless beauty all the way.
Work continues to review the history of both courses and refine each, and this magnificent heathland layout is one of the very best heathland golf courses in the UK.
What The Top 100 Panel Said
The course looked stunning with the heather in flower, bordering the fairways and around the bunkers giving excellent definition. I would put the Red just above the Blue because it has the benefit of the natural undulations of the land which give each hole a unique feel.
If you want to play 36 in a day, there can’t be many places better. I knew it was good, but I was even more impressed than I had been previously.
A superior, quite stunning course with a great selection of holes, plenty of elevation change without being too hilly, and great use of heather in shaping the course from tee to green.
This is a great test of golf and a unique layout which should be played by all golfers who value good design. A pretty devil (666) of a course. Why aren’t there more like this!
The Berkshire Golf Club Location
The Berkshire Golf Club Green Fees
|Mon to Fri, to Apr 16th 2023
|Mon to Fri
|Mon to Fri, from Apr 17th to Oct
|Mon to Fri
The Berkshire Golf Club Red Course Scorecard
Best Courses Near The Berkshire
Home to the two best inland courses in the Top 100, Sunningdale is quite simply one of the best 36-hole clubs in the world. Both the Old and the New are exceptionally pretty, beautifully contoured and an absolute joy. As close to perfection as you will find.
Swinley Forest is a shining diamond where you genuinely feel as though you are stepping back in time. The view from the clubhouse sets the scene perfectly with the opening and closing holes running down through the valley over a burn.
Best Places To Stay Near The Berkshire
Macdonald Berystede Hotel - Book now via Booking.com
Styled like a French chateau, this historical manor has a relaxing spa with swimming pool and gym, and boasts an AA Rosette-rated restaurant. It is set in peaceful gardens and woodland and has an indoor pool with views across the gardens. It also offers an outdoor hydrotherapy pool, thermal suites and beauty treatments.
The Talbot Inn, Woking - Book now via Booking.com
The Talbot Inn serves real ales and locally sourced, seasonal produce in its bar and restaurant. Dating from the 18th century, this 4-star hotel has modern, spacious rooms with plasma-screen TV, en suite bathroom and large rain shower.
The Berkshire Red Course Gallery
Historical Top 100 Rankings UK&I
- 2023/24 - 41
- 2021/22 - 42
- 2019/20 - 43
- 2017/18 - 42
- 2015/16 - 43
- 2013/14 - 40
- 2011/12 - 38
- 2009/10 - 40
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best hole on the Berkshire Red?
With such terrific variety, singling out one is particularly difficult. However, as with the Blue Course, the short holes are particularly strong. Those at the 10th, again over an ocean of heather, and at the 16th which is beautifully framed, really stand out.
Who designed The Berkshire?
Herbert Fowler was one of our most influential architects. He was responsible for two pairs of Top 100 courses - here and at Walton Heath - as well as many other brilliant one-offs both in the Top 100 and the Next 100.
Which is the better course at The Berkshire?
Going purely by the Golf Monthly rankings, then you have to say it’s this one! The Blue Course is the tougher on which to score, and so may appeal more to those for whom challenge and strategy is key. But for anyone seeking adventure and variety, then it will likely be the Red. The best idea is to play both and then make up your own mind!
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Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012. He specialises in course reviews and travel, and has played more than 1,200 courses in almost 50 countries. In 2022, he played all 21 courses in East Lothian in 13 days. Last year, his tally was 81, 32 of them for the first time. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! Of those missing, some are already booked for 2024. He is a member of Tandridge in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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