Church Stretton Golf Club Course Review

Church Stretton Golf Club in Shropshire offers something a little different with some extraordinary holes and a breath-taking setting

Church Stretton Golf Club - general view
Stirring backdrops all around at Church Stretton
(Image credit: Jeremy Ellwood)

Church Stretton Golf Course Review

GF Round: £30£wd, £40we
Par 66, 5,030 yards
Slope 109
GM Verdict – Golf played over breath-taking terrain that makes you feel you are simultaneously indulging your passions for both golf and fell-walking.
Favourite Hole – The stirring backdrop of Caer Caradoc Mountain on the long par-3 5th somehow makes it look shorter than its 197 yards.

Church Stretton Golf Club - general view

Views like this accompany you for much of your round

(Image credit: Jeremy Ellwood)

After the opening trio of par 3s you could be excused for thinking that James Braid had supped one ale too many when accepting a commission to lay out a course in the Shropshire hills above Church Stretton – perhaps the result of an ill-advised bet with his pals Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor?

Church Stretton Golf Club - 3rd hole

The 3rd completes a trio of extraordinary opening par 3s

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

But Braid knew what he was doing, and the setting alone warrants Church Stretton’s inclusion among any list of the best golf courses in Shropshire. Once you get past those slightly eccentric holes to arrive out on top, your visual senses will be assaulted by a truly spectacular golfing vista. Of those early holes, the 181-yard 1st plays considerably longer courtesy of a severe bank short of the green. And when you reach the 2nd, spend a moment repairing any deep divots in the ground immediately to your right. Why? Because tee shots that don’t make it all 110 yards up to the green may well run back down to here, leaving you facing the same shot again without the benefit of a tee-peg! And there’s no let-up on the testing 3rd, either.

Church Stretton Golf Club - general view

Once you're up on top the views are breath-taking

(Image credit: Jeremy Ellwood)

From the 4th tee, the whole course pans out beautifully in front of you, over terrain that can indulge passions for golf and fell-walking simultaneously. The 5th is a splendid par-3 that plays longer than it looks – perhaps the mountainous backdrop foreshortens things? And the views everywhere are magnificent, especially those from the 10th which threaten to distract you from the important task in hand – namely to avoid blazing it over the OOB fence close to the back of the green and into the rugged moorland beyond.

Church Stretton Golf Club - 15th hole

Looking out over the 15th green

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

When the wind is at its fiercest it’s probably wise to rip up the scorecard early on to resist any temptation to actually write anything on it and just savour this unique course for what it is. But no golfing visit to Shropshire is complete without testing yourself against this short but stunning hillside layout. Eccentric? Check. Enormous fun? Check. Stupendous views? Check.

Jeremy Ellwood
Jeremy Ellwood

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 across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...