A dizzying blend of six short holes, six par 4s and six par 5s add maximum variety to a sublime heathland setting on this engaging Herbert Fowler design
The Berkshire Golf Club Red Course Review
Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 42
Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 43 2017/18 - 42 2015/16 - 43 2013/14 - 40 2011/12 - 38 2009/10 - 40
Summer Green Fees
Round - £185wd, £250we, Day - £250wd
Visitors: weekdays and after midday at weekends
Medal Tee: Par 72 - 6,452 Yards
theberkshire.co.uk (opens in new tab)
Changes since previous ranking
Major tree clearances to open up light, air and views
The Berkshire Golf Club Red Course Review
The Red Course is one of two superb Herbert Fowler designs at The Berkshire Golf Club (opens in new tab) that cover a surprisingly expansive acreage in prime stockbroker land on the Berkshire/Surrey borders. Both are beautiful and both are very memorable. While the Blue is arguably the tougher to score well on, it is the Red that tends to stay longest in the memory. A main reason for this is that despite its vintage - it opened for play in the late 1920s - it has an unusual configuration consisting of six of each par.
Indeed, only at 11 and 12 do you play the same par consecutively, and this constant variety is more than matched by the design characteristics of the individual holes themselves. Each of the par 5s is probably reachable by budding DeChambeaus, while even more modest hitters can get reasonably close in two. This, of course, raises high expectations of a birdie or even an eagle. The two-shotters are generally short to medium so you never feel the need to overhit.
This means that arguably its greatest defence comes at the six fabulous and remarkably diverse par 3s. Each is a peach, but it’s the first two on the back nine that are right up there in the premier league. The glorious 10th is played slightly uphill over a lovely valley that is blanketed in heather. Anything short or to the right is likely to find real trouble. The imperious 16th is a little longer, often requires a wood, and again requires a carry all the way to the putting surface.
A Bright Future
Keep the ball reasonably straight, make the requisite carries, and there every chance to beat your handicap. Regardless, however, you will be delighted by the timeless beauty you encounter on every tee. The recent appointment of leading architect Martin Ebert to review the history of both courses and prepare a plan for their future looks set to ensure that this magnificent heathland layout remains a firm favourite of golfers near and far.
This is a traditionally beautiful heathland golf course with all holes framed by heather and tall pines. The combination of pars makes for a really varied and interesting challenge, and the course was in very good condition, particularly given the time of year and weather conditions I played in.
Golf Monthly Verdict
A dizzying blend of six short holes, six par 4s and six par 5s add maximum variety to a sublime heathland setting on this engaging Herbert Fowler design - the Red is enormous fun with something new in store at every turn
Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. 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 nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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