North Wilts Golf Club Course Review

The downland/parkland hybrid at North Wilts Golf Club is a fine example of a lesser-known course blessed with a wonderful setting

North Wilts Golf Club - 6th hole
The short but tricky 6th at North Wilts
(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

North Wilts Golf Club Course Review

GF Round: £50wd, £60we; Twilight: £15-£20
Par 71, 6,414 yards
Slope 124
GM Verdict – An enjoyable course in two contrasting sections either side of the road, with some magnificent, far-reaching views, particularly on the front nine.
Favourite Hole – The par-3 6th is a mere short iron for most, but the added difficulty is a narrow green at the highest and most exposed part of the course

North Wilts Golf Club - 5th hole

Far-reaching views are the order of the day at North Wilts, as here looking across the 5th green

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

A healthy number of the 24 clubs listed on the Wiltshire Golf website offer up excellent year-round golf because of their downland settings. Among them is the thoroughly enjoyable North Wilts, one of the best golf courses in Wiltshire, which was founded in 1890 and climbs to 700ft at its highest point. There is a real feeling of space here, with far-reaching views everywhere you look.

North Wilts Golf Club - 2nd hole

The short par-4 2nd's unusual green is its strongest defence

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

The layout is bisected by a road midway between Calne and Devizes, with the opening ten holes lying across the road from the clubhouse. You start on an inviting par 5 across a sideslope, before a short par-4 2nd that will fill you with hope until you catch sight of the unusual two-tiered green with its small, awkward rear shelf. You climb steeply on the 5th - and again on the 8th - with the short but devilishly tricky par-3 6th occupying the highest ground. When the wind is blowing, this exposed 118-yarder could be one of the toughest tests on the course.

North Wilts Golf Club - 6th hole

The 6th - short but not always sweet if the wind is blowing at the highest point

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

North Wilts started life as a nine-holer, with Harry Colt then tasked with making improvements to the existing layout in the early 1930s. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that hopes of an extension to 18 became reality, with work starting in early 1970 under the guidance of architects Ken Cotton and Charles Lawrie. The new holes opened for limited play in 1971. When you cross the road after the 10th, the course does take on a slightly different character with the holes a little more tree-lined and self-enclosed than on the front nine. You’re still high up, though, so the views remain mesmerising, especially from the tee of the classic dropdown par-3 13th.

North Wilts Golf Club - 12th hole

The character of the course changes a little when you cross the road after 10, but the views remain spell-binding as here on the 12th

(Image credit: Geoff Ellis, www.golfworking.co.uk)

The 14th, a short par 4 up the valley, is then a bit of an unexpected shock to the system as its narrow, two-tiered shelf green will test your approach play to the full. The fairway pinches in, too, perhaps encouraging a cautious strategy off the tee, but you simply can’t afford to be going in to this green with too much club.

The fine course finishes strongly with a chance to score on the par-5 17th, which sweeps round to the right, with the 18th then playing markedly longer than its 413 yards thanks to a testing uphill approach.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

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 instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and 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 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but 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