Tadmarton Heath Golf Club Course Review

Tadmarton Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire, with its glorious elevated setting and old farmhouse for a clubhouse, is perhaps English golf's quintessential 'hidden gem'

Tadmarton Heath Golf Club - clubhouse and 7th hole
Tadmarton Heath's delightful clubhouse and par-3 7th
(Image credit: Tadmarton Heath Golf Club)

Tadmarton Heath Golf Club Course Review

GF Round: £45-£60wd, £55-£70we
Par 69, 5,961 yard
Slope 124
GM Verdict – Perhaps the epitome of a hidden gem with its gloriously elevated setting and a delightful 18th-century farmhouse for a clubhouse.
Favourite Hole – The very short par-3 10th, which is so well-protected it will set the nerves jangling a little even if armed only with a wedge!

Tadmarton Heath Golf Club - 15th hole

The 15th is a classic risk-reward par 4 towards the end

(Image credit: Tadmarton Heath Golf Club)

The county of Oxfordshire is not a Home County in the strictest sense, nor is it really quite Central England, more perhaps a gateway connecting the two, and sadly a gateway that one more often than not seems to be merely whizzing through on the M40 rather than actually stopping in. But this is a surprisingly beautiful county in places, especially the Cotswold area to the north, and one where there is great golf to be enjoyed not only at the best golf courses in Oxfordshire, such as former tour venue, The Oxfordshire, or the excellent 54-hole facility at Frilford Heath, but also at some of its more tucked-away treats - courses like Tadmarton Heath, perhaps the very essence of a ‘hidden gem’.

Tadmarton Heath Golf Club - 13th hole

The 13th provides one of the longer par-4 tests

(Image credit: Tadmarton Heath Golf Club)

At a time when new golf courses stretch ever further beyond 7,000 yards, Tadmarton Heath near Banbury provides a patent reminder that length is not everything. It may measure just under 6,000 yards off the whites, but this is a testing and captivating track that will challenge even the most accomplished golfer. It’s a layout of two distinct halves. The first nine is relatively open while the run for home has more of a heathland feel, encroaching gorse making the fairways much tighter. 

Tadmarton Heath Golf Club - 7th hole and terrace

The 7th is a cracking little par 3 behind the clubhouse often providing entertainment for those on the terrace

(Image credit: Tadmarton Heath Golf Club)

Perched 650ft above sea level, Tadmarton Heath is a very pleasant and peaceful spot for a round, blessed with a clubhouse that from certain angles looks for all the world like a large, country cottage, which is entirely in keeping with the overall feel. The holes interweave intricately, which must allow members to play an almost infinite number of shorter loops if they haven’t got time for a full 18 and club rules permit. There’s a scary sleeper-faced bunker short right of the 6th, which must gather a lot of balls and certainly won’t tolerate anything less than fully committed bunker play, while the signature 7th that follows is a glorious short par 3 across a gully to a well-protected green near the clubhouse.

Tadmarton Heath Golf Club - 10th hole

An aerial view of the mischievous little par-3 10th

(Image credit: Tadmarton Heath Golf Club)

The 10th is then a classic example of the kind of hole we just don’t have enough of these days. It’s scarcely over 100 yards, but surrounding bunkers and tricky contours on the green make you think par would be most welcome even if armed only with a wedge – golf’s forgotten art. Later, the slender 15th with its fittingly small green, provides pure risk-reward golf, tempting you into going for it but leaving little margin for error. The course closes with one of its toughest par 4s at 432 yards (452 off the blacks!) one of a quintet of 400+ yarders, offset by a solitary par 5 in the 5th, which is long enough to be a genuine three-shotter for most.

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...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf