De Vere Staverton Estate Feature Review
Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor visited De Vere Staverton Estate in June 2018
De Vere Staverton Estate is a golf resort nestled in middle England. After the recent Sky Sports coverage of the two Beefs (Andrew Johnston & Ian Botham) playing at the venue in June, Golfshake sent Ambassador Rob Treanor along to follow in their footsteps where he found a forward-thinking group of professional staff who are in the process of elevating an extremely good venue into a great one.
De Vere Staverton Estate consists of an 18-hole championship golf course complemented by a hotel and spa complex. The estate occupies 150 acres of private and peaceful grounds on the outskirts of Daventry, a central location which makes it an ideal destination venue for many golfers based around the country.
The team of staff at the venue are an extremely cohesive, professional and well drilled crew who ensure the experience runs like clockwork. The flow of the venue is well laid out with the range, chipping and putting greens leading the golfer on a circuit from arrival to the first tee. The starter’s hut is also worth a visit to experience a lovely tradition the team started a few years’ back. The hut contains a unique collection of scorecards from other clubs around the UK and the world which are pinned to the wall after being donated by visiting golfers.
Front 9 Overview
For those who opt not to follow the warm up journey and arrive at the first tee with cold shoulders, the tough first tee shot will appear even more difficult. Not a long hole, this mischievous par four has a glorious tree which dominates the fairway but blocks much of the left and centre. A further bunker to the right, before the hole turns more acutely in the same direction, means arriving at the green after two shots is a very good achievement.
The course starts strongly, with the second having a superb downhill tee shot to a hole which winds in the opposite direction to the first. No two holes are the same here and at 551 yards from the white tees on the card, the second hole might appear to be a bit of a beast. Fortunately the contours of the land are ready to assist, meaning the green is reachable (just) with two good strokes. A further complication presents itself with a water feature to the right of the fairway for those who haven’t hit such strong shots. There is plenty to think about so early on in the round!
The course is presented in exceptional condition and, as well as the outstanding condition of the greens, the club has implemented an innovative divot policy. Twice a month, the elders section is provided with a hearty mid-week breakfast by the club in return for walking nine holes as a group and repairing any imperfections on the fairways. The club only has to block out a handful of tee times to enable the work to take place but get hundreds of combined hours of manpower in return, which supplements the excellent work the greenkeepers at the venue are doing. The result is that the fairways are in superb condition and everyone who comes to play the course will benefit. This type of fresh thinking is typical from the young, dynamic group who are managing the venue. It would be great to see more clubs thinking about and sharing ideas like this, to ensure that all who play the game benefit from a great on-course experience.
There are little touches at this venue which go a long way; such as timings for each hole printed on the scorecard, the frequent visits from the friendly and professional course marshalling team and a telephone to the half way house after the ninth green for food/drink pre-orders. These add up to keeping the pace of play moving, as well as providing a source of interaction with the venue and its fantastic team.
Back 9 Overview
The opening stretch on the back nine is outstanding. A par 4, 5 then 3 of the highest quality will likely define many golfer’s rounds. The tenth is a cracking par four played from an elevated tee position downhill. A large green, which is representative of the quality seen at this course, awaits the second shot, protected by bunkers short and long. This hole is extremely easy on the eye so it’s impressive to see it outdone by the…
… gorgeous par five 11th hole which plays downhill from the tee before a dog leg left. Even the very best of drives which are drawn around the corner to follow the shape of the hole, will have a tough call about whether to attempt a long second shot over the brook or play safe and lay up short. The placing of the bunkers and use of the natural water features force the golfer to make strategic decisions before each shot. Course architect John Harris has done an excellent job of making the golfer interact with the course throughout this hole, making it enjoyable from start to finish.
Water is an excellent tool with which to create drama and there are four large lakes scattered around the course at Staverton Estate. The par three 12th makes the most of a very pretty band of water where the only option is to flight a lofted shot directly over the lake. Only a medium length stroke is required from the tee box to the green, though it is guaranteed to mess with the mind. It should be an easy shot… shouldn’t it?!
Finishing the round as it started, the 18th demands a typically tight tee shot through trees before the second stroke is played over a lake onto a green with out of bounds long. Divers had been to the course the week Golfshake visited and collected over 1,000 balls from this lake alone, demonstrating how tough this short hole plays. A number even more staggering, the divers were last here in January!
To summarise, this truly is an excellent golf course which is very enjoyable to play. The greens are amongst the best I have ever played in terms of their condition; the value this course delivers on their current rates is exceptional. The forward-thinking management team have plans to further improve many aspects of the on-course experience, meaning the Staverton Estate’s reputation as a golfing venue of exceptional quality will extend even further.
Overall Rating - 9
Course (Conditions) - 9
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 8
Club facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 8
Practice Facilities - 8
Friendliness/Hospitality - 9
Pace of Play - 8
Value for Money - 10
Reviewed in June 2018 by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor (Handicap 18)
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