I last visited Wokefield Park about 10 years ago and all I can remember about it was the intercom on the 9th tee where you could place your food order at the halfway house and being about 4 inches from a hole in one on the 17th.
Swinley Forest is only just over 6,000 yards from the back tees but it is 6,000 yards of outstanding heathland golf combined with a peaceful top-notch atmosphere. Harry Colt believed that Swinley was his finest course, often talking about ‘a craving for my usual game around the Swinley Forest.’
Theale is a new parkland layout in Berkshire just outside of Reading, it is mostly flat but does offer some challenging holes with well positioned hazards.
The Berkshire is a stunning and beautiful heathland course, the mature trees, the rolling fairways, the rugged looking bunkers and the gorgeous heather make it look as though the course was always there, just another natural feature of the land.
The parkland layout at Donnington Grove, accompanied by the Gothic hotel, is overlooked by Donnington Castle. Offering a stern test for most golfers with a good selection of tees ensuring that it is playable for everyone. The higher ground of the front nine provides great views but leaves you exposed to the elements, while the back nine requires negotiating the tree lined fairways and water features.
>The Downshire is a picturesque mature parkland course, dotted with some good looking holes, with water coming into play on a few of them. It is quite a busy course, you can tell this by the condition of the tees, fairways and greens, which had just been spiked when I played, looking a little bare in some places.
The first two holes at Datchet are a little short for par fours but after that the holes lenghten and the course looks in good condition with quite a few well placed bunkers.
I enjoyed my round here with the double set of tee areas providing a slightly different nine holes second time around, although the course looks like it could get quite crowded if a lot of 3 or 4 balls went out.
Billingbear Park was rebuilt in the late eighties as a result of being farmed during the two world wars. It is now quite a reasonable nine hole course with a small cosy clubhouse. I wouldn’t say the course presentation was championship standard but the green staff do keep it in very good condition for a small club.
It is hard to pick a favourite as none of the holes really stand out but the dogleg eighth with a ditch running across the fairway and a lake up near the green is probably the best hole here.
The West Berkshire is very long from the back tees and the course was suffering a little after all the dry weather we have had but the firm fairways certainly helped with some of the longer holes. The greens had some brown patches on them but still putted well and the bunkers were filled with lovely soft sand.