Telford Golf Spa Hotel Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Robert Treanor (Handicap 17) Who Stayed and Played in August 2018
Telford Golf Hotel and Spa reached infamy as “the club with the most sand in the whole of Europe” when it opened in the 70s. Featuring elements of course design shared with Augusta National, Golfshake sent Ambassador Rob Treanor along to see how the club has developed.
Nestled in the West Midlands is the Q Hotels-owned Telford Golf Hotel and Spa. Sat handsomely at the top of the landscape, the view from the hotel stretches into the valleys which form the Shropshire area of outstanding natural beauty.
Pre Round Thoughts
Arriving at the resort, it is clear this facility takes golf seriously. There is an excellent putting green featuring some lightning fast angles, a driving range with both covered bays and grassed areas as well as a chipping green. The course is very walkable, though there are plenty of buggies available if required.
The course is a challenging par 72 parkland setting which measure 6,761 off the white tees. There are truly majestic trees which line the fairways and enough sand splitting them for the course to be called “the club with the most sand in the whole of Europe”.
After a gentle opening hole, the tee shot on the second sweeps grandly to the left, strongly favouring a draw. With a significant water hazard to the right and a bunker in play too, this will demand a very good tee shot to find the fairway! The mature trees which line the course double up as obstacles if you find yourself out of position. Any shot moved too far right on this mid-size par five may well be blocked out on the shot to the green by an encroaching tree which stands mischievously in front of the short grass.
After some lovely holes which are played through the beautiful trees which characterise this club, the very attractive 7th springs up. This downhill par 3 has a generous collection point just in front of the green which will feed anything short on though bunkers left and right will punish anything wayward. The green slopes from back to front and though this hole offers an opportunity to score, bad shots will be punished.
The signature eight hole is where the course starts to get really serious. A good length drive is required to ensure the green can be reached in two. This second stroke is a feast for the eyes with a stunning lake and tree to shoot over towards a pretty cheeky green. Many golfers gone by will have landed short in the lake by trying to overstretch so ensure you focus properly for the tee shot to put yourself in position! Once safely on the green there are some truly frightening putts for anything which stops on the far side of the cup. This is a hole which can easily chew up and spit out a decent score card. It’s hard to imagine how something so pretty can be so brutal…
The second nine contrasts nicely with the mostly flat opening holes with greater variation in the elevation levels. The tenth is a mid-length par four which plays downhill and heads gently left. This is the perimeter of the course and the residential properties bordering the course are oddly reminiscent of courses on the continent! When it was designed in the 1970s, Bryan Griffiths and Peter Harris installed suspended water table greens, a design shared with Augusta National. This system allows the roots of the grass to reach water whilst keeping the top surface free draining, an optimal setup for a course in the UK as the greens remain playable year round regardless of the rain.
The par five thirteenth hole is an absolute beauty. After a channelled tee shot played between trees to the left and high ground to the right, the fairway wanders left and drops downhill towards the green. A glorious downhill approach shot is very appealing to the eye as the ball descends to the generous green. As is typical on this course, there are bunkers to weave around and anything offline is likely to find a beachy lie.
The 17th is a unique hole which twists and turns through water features and the surrounding terrain. The natural slopes means there are many lies where the ball will either be higher or lower than the players’ feet, representing a challenging hole which will test the golfer’s shot making ability.
Post Round Thoughts
Reflecting on the round, this a good, fun course to play with excellent greens which rank alongside those played at much more exclusive venues. The sequence of holes from 8-13 really stand out and there is also a nice contrast in the two nines, with more hilly terrain featuring on the back nine. There is excellent value to be had here, particularly as part of a stay and play package with the excellent on-site hotel.
On top of the excellent golf, my enduring memory of Telford Golf & Spa hotel is the wonderful staff who look after guests from start to finish. We were excellently hosted by teams spanning the resort, from the pro shop to housekeeping to bar staff; all of whom were extremely friendly and delivered five-star service. We are blessed with many courses in the UK and if you search hard enough there are some absolute diamonds out there. Our team concluded that Telford Golf & Spa shines very brightly amongst them!!!
Overall Rating – 8
Course (Conditions) - 7
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 8
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 8
Practice Facilities - 8
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 8
Value for Money - 9
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