The Warwickshire Golf Country Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Member Kevin Heggie
The Warwickshire is located a few miles between Warwick and Kenilworth in the heart of England, and is a relatively new course - when it opened in 1994 its initial configuration was four loops of nine allowing for a pick’n’mix approach to playing, before it then converted into two 18 holes courses in 2005, The Kings and The Earls, names synonymous with the local history of the area. Despite the relative youth of the estate, both courses are mature in nature and have been designed around significant areas of woodland to create a great golfing environment for all who play.
As well as the two main tracks, the facilities also include a nine-hole short course (The Castle) and extensive practice areas to fine tune both the long and short game and get to grips with the speed of the putting greens before teeing off. Beyond golf, there’s also a health club and most recently on-site accommodation has been added, providing golfers with a great stay-and-play option which is easily accessible to many.
Why Play The Earls?
Reading the comments from other Golfshake members, The Earls is generally regarded as the better course of the two, and it certainly is more challenging in terms of length - 6,750 yards from the yellows (which is where I stick to!), and over 7,000 from the tips. As such it demands that you bring your best game from the off - the 420 yard 1st is a taste of things to come, with a good drive required into a funnel of trees before a mid to long iron into the green. The front nine continues to play through mature woodlands, with notable highlights being the 4th, a long dog-leg par 5 measuring in at over 600 yards, and the signature 7th (below), an arrow straight par 4 from an elevated tee with trees left and right ready to catch any wayward drives.
The back nine is slightly more open and a little shorter, but no less demanding. The highlights include the 12th (below), a lovely par 4 which sweeps down towards a green which is surrounded by trees and protected by a stream in front.
A little respite follows, with opportunity to gain ground with three relatively short holes, but then you’re then faced with the 16th - SI 1, and 430 yards to navigate with bunkers ready and waiting to catch you out from the tee and around the green - par here is a really great score as you start to wrap up your round.
Why Play The Kings?
Slightly shorter that Earls (6,535 yards from the yellows, 6,821 yards from the whites) the Kings Course is more open in nature, with wider fairways protected by more water and lakes. The strengths of The Kings course can be summarised for me in two themes - the par 3s, and the finishing stretch.
The Kings has two of my favourite par 3s I have the pleasure of playing regularly. I’m a big believer that a par 3 doesn’t need to be long to be challenging, and this is certainly the case here. The 4th is just 130 yards, but has a significant elevation change which brings with it complications with pulling the right club, and any pull or push will see you ball tumble down slopes surrounding the green left, right, and long.
The 17th (above) is also another great short hole with a two-tiered green, where birdies (and even holes in one) are achievable with the right swing of a wedge, but also bogeys and worse could easily occur should you mistake distance and come up short (sandy or wet!) or go long (good luck trying to keep your ball on the green when chipping on!)
As well as the short par 3s, there’s also longer options for those wanting to test their mid to long irons. The signature 8th, which requires a carry of 160-190 yards (depending on the tee position) over a lake into another two-tiered green, and the 12th (below), measures well over 200 yards with the green perched on top of a mound adding to the difficulties in making the green in regulation.
The other highlight for me is the finishing stretch from the 14th onwards. Get the tough SI 1 13th out the way and you're met with a really enjoyable, and scorable, flow of holes with a great mixture of short par 4s mixed in with a couple of par 5s and the picturesque 17th. My favourite hole of the set is the 16th, a double dog-legged par 5 which sweeps down from a high point on the course to a green surrounded by bunkers and with water ready to catch out those bold enough to try for the green in two.
Out of the two courses, my personal preference is The Kings, due to the greater variety in how you can approach each hole, and with a little more forgiveness it allows mid-handicappers like myself to still feel confident in posting a decent score and have fun along the way. However, whichever course you go for, you won’t be disappointed in the test ahead, and both justify the coveted Golfshake 'Highly Recommended' status.
In terms of value for money, green fees vary from £25-35 midweek/£25-£50 weekend (depending on time of day and size of group), which represents good value for money in my eyes, and Golfbreaks.com offer some very tempting stay and play prices. Pace of play is generally ok, with access to an online booking system allowing you to see how busy the course is, but like many courses of these lengths and difficulty, if you want to play during the most popular periods you would need to accept four hour plus rounds.
Post round, the bar area provides has a reasonable range of options with regards to food and drink and a nice terrace to sit out on to tot up your scores. My only minor gripe is I’ve found the kitchen is sometimes closed when wanting to grab something after finishing up a round in the early evening during the summer months.
Overall Rating - 8
Course (Conditions) - 8
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 8
Course (Green Condition) - 9
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 8
Club facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 8
Practice Facilities - 8
Friendliness/Hospitality - 8
Pace of Play - 8
Value for Money - 9
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