Studley Wood Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Robert Cross who played Studley Wood in June 2018
Located in the Oxfordshire countryside, close to the centre of Oxford, sits Studley Wood Golf Club in the village of Horton-cum-Studley.
The parkland course was designed in 1995 by Simon Gidman, with 18 holes meandering through the countryside,. 14 lakes await the player and measuring just less than 6500 yards off the white tees, a Par of 73 is split into two loops of nine holes with 44 acres of ancient woodland at the centre of the course.
Being invited to play at Studley Wood for a PGA Europro Pro-Am meant I was really looking forward to this round. Knowing that the course would be in great condition is always a bonus and playing alongside a professional set the tone for a positive round.
The welcome was warm, and a buffet style breakfast was served prior to the round. The clubhouse was spacious, the changing rooms adequate and the patio area outside impressive. The pro shop was small, really small and had run out of course planners. The guy I spoke to though was helpful in explaining some of the holes.
The weather was OK, quite cloudy but warm, being June (2018) things did brighten up later on. No rain, although my waterproofs were packed.
Front 9 Overview
Studley Wood starts with a short length Par 4 measuring 367 yards; water on the right is pleasing on the eye, but not really in play. Bunker on the left of the fairways will catch anything short. A gentle tee shot to start but the approach however is much trickier. Raised well above the fairway with a huge run off at the front, the player must take enough club to hit the middle of the green.
Hole 3 is worth a mention, a short but tricky Par 4, with water in play on the approach to the green. The green slopes front to back, if you’re short then you are wet if you’re long it’s a tough 2 putt.
The 8th Par 3 is a stunning hole, with trees down the left, a bunker left and water short, this tee shot is a serious challenge for the player even if it is only 143 yards. The green is narrow and almost kidney shaped, which further narrows in the centre. The wind played a factor here, off the left and into.
The back nine ends with a short Par 5 measuring 489 yards, but with danger right and left off the tee the player needs to focus on accuracy. Water on the left is around 280 yards, but a bunker on the right side at around 240 yards is very much in play. The green is raised with bunkers down the left both on the approach and greenside. A good birdie opportunity.
Back 9 Overview
The 10th is another Par 5 and similar to the adjacent 9th hole, a tricky tee shot. Water left, bunkers left and water on the right can be seen by the player, although not all in play. Trees to the left of the green favour an approach on the right side, but a bunker awaits if off line.
A strong Par 3 playing slightly downhill, the 11th measures 148 yards and features a green sloping from back to front. A bunker long of the green and water short right again focus the player on correct club choice.
Hole 14 deserves a mention, a strong Par 4 with bunkers down the right off the tee. The green is raised high above the fairway, anything short and right will fall away down the slope leaving a tricky chip shot. The green itself slopes back to front and left to right.
The best hole on the golf course. The 18th Par 5 530 yards is visually stunning and a serious wow factor when stood on the tee which is raised high above the fairway. Bunker and water lay on the left, with a group of bunkers on the right. The approach is met with a bunker on the left and water down the right but short of the target. A great finishing hole.
All of the Par 3 holes are all of a high standard, offering real variety and challenge. Whether short and over water, or longer through the trees they are a pleasure to play. Also something to look out for when playing here, with 5 Par 5 holes, IF you get your tee shot away there are some really good opportunities to improve your card with a birdie or two. All of the holes are very different whilst marinating the same parkland feel throughout.
The course was in really great condition; clearly a lot of attention had been paid to making sure the greens were quick and true, which they were. The fairways and bunkers were in top condition as well.
Personally I played really well tee to green, lots of opportunities to hit driver if you choose to. I found the greens tricky to read, with a few subtle breaks here and there. Having a professional in our group helped as his experience helped us read a few of the trickier ones.
The BBQ post round on the outside patio area was a great way to finish the day, the food was excellent.
Studley Wood is worth a visit, whilst not holding the same feeling of prestige as other courses, a warm welcome, great facilities and an interesting layout offer the player an enjoyable challenge. A very strong course for a member’s golf club, this wouldn’t be to target an audience of a “one-off” round, more to be a nice place to visit a few times a year. £60 per person at weekends, with discounts for group bookings is good value, but likely a bit too much for a weekly visit.
The condition really was excellent, but in June with good weather for the previous 2 months, golf courses should be in as good as condition as they are going to be and although expected, this was a real highlight, especially the greens.
I would love to return to Studley Wood, the course suited my game and there is definitely enough variety to keep the player coming back for more. The surroundings are visually engaging and the water breaks up the course nicely offering a challenge at the same time.
Overall Rating - 8
Course (Conditions) - 10
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 8
Club facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 8
Practice Facilities - 8
Friendliness/Hospitality - 8
Pace of Play - 9
Value for Money - 8
Reviewed in June 2018 by Golfshake Ambassador Robert Cross (Handicap 7)
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