Golf in Buckinghamshire has much to offer from famous resorts to excellent members’ clubs.
The Best Golf Courses In Buckinghamshire
Set in the heart of England, the county of Buckinghamshire is one of the most affluent in the country and the golf illustrates that perfectly. With some stunning golf courses to choose from, including three just at Woburn Golf Club, a visit to the county on your next golf break would not disappoint.
In this piece we take a look at some of the best.
Related: Golf Monthly’s UK&I Top 100 Courses
The course close to the Great Ouse started life with six holes before growing to a full 18 in the 1970s. A delightful clear-flowing stream crosses a number of holes, including the 1st, 9th, 10th and 18th that all play down and up across its valley.
The 2nd is a shock to the system early on at 463 yards, but the excellent 252-yard 5th playing up and round to a steeply sloping green is living proof that par 4s don’t have to be long to test you.
The 12th and 13th play alongside the Great Ouse, the latter another good short par 4 where birdie aspirations will often be confounded by the ditch running up the middle.
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Water comes into play often in the form of lakes and the Rivers Misbourne and Colne, especially on the way out. The greens are big and the bunkers numerous, with the tough dogleg 15th boasting no fewer than 10 of all shapes and sizes.
The 8th is a memorable risk-reward affair, doglegging sharply to the left over a lake. The lay-up isn’t particularly straightforward either, so bigger hitters may feel taking on the green is sometimes the more sensible option. The 9th is then a delightful par 3 to a green set between the river and the magnificent clubhouse.
Buckinghamshire’s oldest club was founded in 1891 and designed by the great J.H. Taylor. It plays over free-draining, gently undulating parkland, with mature trees framing many fairways.
Among the standout holes are the 5th, a long par 4 requiring a lengthy approach over a gentle valley to the green, and the mid-length par-3 10th where a deep sleepered bunker guards the front.
The 14th ranks among the tougher tests coming home, a long par 4 where the second shot is played over a bank of gorse and hawthorn bushes down to a semi-blind, and indeed, tricky green.
Related: Burnham Beeches Course Review
Woburn (Duchess, Dukes, Marquess)
Carved through pine tress, The Duchess is perceived to be the easiest of the three courses at Woburn because it is the shortest, but one round here will prove that to be a common misconception. Designed by Charles Lawrie, the course opened in 1979 and puts a premium on straight driving and accurate approach play.
In terms of specific holes, the challenge of the Duchess is best shown by the par-5 15th. Measuring only 485 yards it is not the longest and yet anything other than arrow straight shots will lead to your score getting punished. Driver is not always the best option.
Related: Woburn - The Duchess Course Review
The Dukes opened three years earlier than The Duchess in 1976 and within three years it became a common course on the European Tour. A regular host of the British Masters, Woburn has seen some of the finest golfers ever win there; such as Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, and Justin Rose.
Accuracy is once again the key and the pick of the bunch is the par-3 third hole pictured above. Close to a 100 feet drop from tee to green, the hole is surrounded by beautiful trees and purple rhododendrons giving a secluded, peaceful experience.
Related: Woburn - The Dukes Course Review
The third course at Woburn is also a gem. In fact Woburn is the only club, aside from St Andrews, that has three courses in our Top 100 list which just shows you the quality of the golf on offer.
Host of the 2015 British Masters with Ian Poulter, The Marquess first opened in 2000 with Ross McMurray, Clive Clark, Peter Alliss and Alex Hay all believed to have been involved in its design.
Measuring over 7,000 yards off the back tees, it is the longest of the three and has the widest fairways and most significant undulations to it. The first is a relatively innocuous start but the course kicks up a gear immediately on the second and third with two tough dogleg par-4s.
Obviously there is considerable debate on which of Woburn's three courses is the best, but in terms of drama the Marquess is tough to beat.
Related: Woburn - The Marquess Course Review
Designed by Harry Colt, Beaconsfield first opened back in 1913 and has several of his most recognisable features, such as spectacular and strategic bunkering. Whilst playing it is also noticeable how unusually large the greens are although it should be acknowledged this is not anything to complain about!
The sixth is a fabulous hole. A left to right dogleg, it measures 421 yards off the back tees and accuracy is critical here. The ideal shot off the tee is a slight fade around the corner which will leave probably a mid-iron in. The longer hitters will probably have to hit three-wood here because going too far leaves an awkward lie and a tough approach to the green.
What is your favourite Buckinghamshire course? Let us know on the Golf Monthly social channels
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Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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