Preston Golf Club Review
Post by Golf Journalist Josh Carr
Preston Golf Club is an exclusive members club set in 120 acres of stunning, tranquil parkland and it is no wonder this course has hosted several National and County events over the years.
Renowned architects such as James Braid, Harry Varden, Alistair MacKenzie and Sandy Herd all had an influence on this 18 hole, 6,278-yard course design and to add, Preston GC has superb USGA constructed greens that offer a challenge to players of all ability due to their pace and undulations. One stand out feature of this course is the great variety in holes. For example, the par 3’s range from 128-yards to 200-yards, to test all parts of your iron play.
The course is in close proximity to the M6 as it is located on the north side of Preston and is just a 10-minute drive away from junction 32 of the M6, making it easily accessible for many golfers.
Pre round thoughts
It took me by surprise that the course is in such a tranquil setting, with it being so close to the M6 and Preston city centre but as you make your way up the driveway to the golf club it is hard to understand how you have ended up in such a peaceful place.
The pro-shop, where you sign in, is at the opposite end of the car park to the clubhouse and the staff in there were informative and offered advice about yardage markers and how to play certain holes. From there you make your way to an interesting putting green that is divided by several attractive flowerbeds.
Preston Golf Club has a beautiful mix of holes including many risk and reward holes. It would be rude not to have a go on some of these risk and reward holes as a visitor, especially the par 4 ninth hole, which for some visitors is reachable off the tee.
It has everything from long par 4s to incredibly short ones and even doglegs that require an iron off the tee in order to set up the perfect angle for your approach shot. The course designers have done a fantastic job in terms of variation and the USGA specification greens are a joy to putt on.
The Par 3’s
The course kicks off with a quirky little par 3 that is just 140-yards long, although significantly shorter when the pin is at the front of the relatively large green. In all honesty, I quite enjoyed being eased into the round on this straightforward par 3.
Club selection is key on the 173-yard 8th hole as there are four bunkers that guard the front, left and right sides of this green. Anything long may make its way into the trees beyond the green and down the steep slope. You should be very happy with par at this hole.
Although the 12th hole is the shortest hole on the course at 128-yards, it can easily become a card wrecker if you get it wrong. The green lies beyond a dry valley and has four bunkers for protection, as well as a steep slope into the trees on the right hand side. Be wary of which tier the pin is on as the slope that runs across the green can cause some problems with the putter.
The final par 3 comes at the 199-yard 14th hole and is arguably the most memorable of the four due to the fact it is a wonderfully picturesque hole. You play from an extremely elevated tee and hit over trees and across a valley with bunkers guarding either side of the green. The green slopes towards the tee so if you are going to miss this green, make sure you are short, as anything long leaves an extremely testing chip shot.
The Par 4’s
The first par 4 comes at the second hole and although only 340-yards, the challenge really does start here. It is suggested you hit an iron off the tee, as the hole is a slight dogleg right with out of bounds down the right hand treeline and a bunker awaiting anything left. The approach is played up to an elevated green that requires at least one extra club, if not more. The green is surrounded by three steep grassy banks to add to the challenge of hitting the green.
The length of holes three and four make them an exceptional challenge and it is no wonder they have stroke indexes of 1 and 3. The fairways are quite generous and allow you to get driver out, which you will definitely need if you are to hit this green in two.
The front nine ends with a very interesting hole indeed. From the elevated tee you can attempt to clear the stream that is around 220-yards away but you cannot afford to mishit your drive because if you do, you will find the water. If you play an iron off the tee you must aim for the right hand side as you will then be provided with a line down the length of the green, but don’t go too far right as you will be blocked out by the trees.
Hole 16 fully deserves it stroke index of two as it plays 417-yards uphill to a small green. You must position your tee shot in the fairway in order to give yourself the best chance of hitting this elevated green. The green is long but very thin, with grassy banks protecting either side. Finally, the green has three tiers to add to the challenge. The front and back tiers are on one level with the centre significantly lower, which creates some interesting putts indeed.
The course finishes with a gentle 385-yard par 4 back towards the clubhouse. The drive can be quite daunting for some as the range sits on the right hand side of the fairway but there is enough room left to start your tee shot if you hit a fade. You are better off short with your approach as the green falls away over the back, leaving a tricky recovery. The best part of this hole is the fact the clubhouse is just a few paces away from the green and if you play it on a scorching hot day like I did, you will definitely need an ice-cold drink the second you walk off the course.
The Par 5’s
The first of the three par 5’s comes at the 513 yard 6th hole. The stroke index of 5 indicates its difficulty and you should be happy with a par here. The only real hazard off the tee is the lateral water hazard on the right hand side. There are bunkers awaiting any wayward layup shot, as well as two greenside bunkers awaiting those who attempt this green in two. This hole really does suit the big hitters.
The next par 5 comes immediately after at the 7th hole. This is a relatively straightforward par 5 but for a few well placed bunkers. Three bunkers protect the green that falls away towards the fairway at the front and you must make sure you get your ball beyond the slope in order to set up a great birdie opportunity.
The beautifully shaped 537-yard 17th hole is the final par 5 of the round and is arguably the feature hole of this golf course. Trees are your main concern on both sides of this hole. Even if you get a good drive away, it takes a brave golfer to attempt to go for the green as you have to carry your ball over a small stream that protects the front of the green. This hole really is one of the more memorable ones on this fantastic course.
I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to come back to Preston Golf Club again if I had the chance. At just £20 a round with a county card, it is unbelievable value for money. That doesn’t just end on the course either, the food and drink prices are very refreshing and if you find yourself eating at Preston Golf Club then I would definitely suggest the steak burger. For just £4.80 you get two perfectly cooked steak burgers wrapped in bacon in a toasted bun, with chips and salad.
The course itself was in fantastic condition and the great variation in holes was quite impressive. If you find yourself travelling up or down the M6 then you should definitely make a quick stop off here for 18 wonderful holes of golf.
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