Hanbury Manor Feature Review

By: Robert Treanor | Mon 20 May 2019 | Comments


Review by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor (Handicap 14)


Hanbury Manor is a championship venue featuring an impressive Jacobean Mansion, now a hotel owned by the Marriott group. The club achieved “Highly Recommended” status from Golfshake members in 2018, reaching an impressive 97%. Ambassador Rob Treanor went to play the course to see how his game stacked up.

Hanbury Manor has long been favoured by groups looking for a high end stay and play venue within the UK. The par 72 parkland course stretches out to 7,052 from the tips and has played host to European Tour events as well as the Men’s English Open with previous winners including Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke. Originally designed by Harry Vardon in 1890, the nine existing holes were extended to eighteen by Jack Nicklaus 1991.

Pre-Round Thoughts

The Hotel’s facilities make it possible to have a swim, a sauna or even a massage before setting out to tackle the course. More traditional warm up activities can be undertaken on an excellent undulating putting green or the driving range; though the latter is restricted to irons due to its short length. Once in the right frame of mind, the walk to the first tee box reveals an intense and dramatic start to the round.

The Course

Front 9 Overview

From the very first tee, the course demands attention. There are two fairways left and right of the rough, giving golfers the option of playing to either side or shooting straight for the green 262 yards away (as our group observed a Pro attempt). The approach is easier from the left, though the carry to reach the left fairway is longer, meaning this playful hole forces golfers to focus from the very start!

The par five 2nd is another intense hole, opening with a magnificent downhill drive. The lake protecting the narrow green needs to be carried at some point and at 529 yards this will be with the third stroke for most mere-mortals. Visually the green appears much narrower than it is, adding to the imposing challenge of the lake… this is not a hole to lose confidence on!

The 7th is a narrow hole which is all about playing for position. A tree to the right of the fairway encourages a tee shot to the left, though several small bunkers in the rough will punish anything less than perfect. The huge green is an unusual sideways v-shape and the angle in can be awkward depending on the hole position, the stance on the sloping fairway or the aforementioned tree! We saw a glorious red kite circling above whilst playing this hole, though that was the only sighting of a birdie on this tough par four.

Back 9 Overview

The 13th is an excellent test of golf. The drive is open and welcoming, though finding the right-hand side of the fairway is key in order to avoid being blocked out by the trees lining the brook, which runs down the left. The fairway then slopes down to a stream before rising to an attractive double-tiered green which is protected to the front right by a lake. A true championship hole, it requires two very good and well positioned shots in order card a decent score.

At 486 yards and played downhill from the tee, the 17th is a makeable par five. Tears before bedtime could be a very real possibility if going for the green in two, as anything short will find a watery grave. A great risk/reward hole which will have settled many matchplay contests, take it on in two if you dare!

The round finishes in style with a challenging par four. After hitting over a lake which shouldn’t really be in play, the approach shot is played uphill over a series of hidden bunkers. Landing in the first of these spells disaster as, dependent on angle, there are potentially a further four to carry before reaching the green. Concentration until the very end is key on this very cleverly designed course.

Post-Round Thoughts

Golfshake members have consistently praised Hanbury Manor through our independent reader reviews. The club’s two sets of nine holes are sufficiently different to have their own character, whilst sharing many common themes in design. Forced carries over water, strategically placed trees to work around and undulating terrain will test the skill of any golfer. The par fives are temptingly makeable and whilst this isn’t the easiest golf course, it is lots of fun to play!

The course is walkable, but there are a couple of longer distances to navigate between holes. These coupled with the hilly terrain, mean buggies would be a good option for some. The relatively small membership of 200 demonstrate that the venue is geared towards pleasing visiting groups who intend to make use of the hotel’s full facilities.

Verdict

This is a fine example of a championship parkland golf course, which is tremendous fun to play. Whether you make use of the hotel’s pool or not, with water in play on nine holes you’ll do well to stay dry. There is a lot to be said for messing about on the river.

Top Tips:

  • The course suits matchplay, with plenty of water to navigate across and many risk/reward decisions.
  • There are no easy holes here, so make sure you select the tees suited to your group’s ability to get the most enjoyment out of the round.
  • Avoid being blocked out by trees or finding a watery grave and you won’t go far wrong!

Overall Rating – 7

Course (Conditions) - 7

Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 8

Course (Green Condition) - 8

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9

Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 6

Practice Facilities - 6

Pace of Play - 5

Value for Money - 7


Related Content: travel review England Courses

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