Royal Norwich Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Matt Holbrook
Royal Norwich Golf Course opened the gates to its new Weston estate back in September 2019 following a £10 million investment coupled with years of planning and work that has culminated in a superior golf experience for members and visitors with every box ticked. It was a big decision to move away from their previous home of 125 years, but one I am sure everyone associated with the club are now more than happy with.
The parkland course itself was designed by Ross McMurray of European Golf Design who is also responsible for courses such as The Twenty Ten at Celtic Manor and The Marquess at Woburn. Ross has left no stone unturned in his design of the course and this goes hand in hand with the all-round experience on offer. Watch this video to get a feel for the place.
'The Stables' plays host to the modern pro shop where essentials are available along with a whole host of crested apparel and accessories and the friendly staff will be able to point you in the direction of the practice facilities.
First up is the large chipping green featuring practice bunkers which are at the same high standard as those on the course itself. The chipping green also features some run-off areas which also feature on the course to enable you to hone your shots before playing.
The driving range features Trackman launch monitors on every other bay, the use is included in the cost of balls. Members and visitor can download the mobile Trackman app and hit away whilst utilising the vast amount of analysis on offer.
The putting green sits in front of the bar & restaurant area with the patio and balcony overlooking the undulating practice surface and those looking for that last minute tweak before setting off down to the 1st tee.
Front 9 Overview
A gentle begnning to get underway as the 1st hole drops away from the tee then back up to the green. Avoiding the bunker on the left and large tree protruding from the right will leave a short shot into the green and a good opportunity to get off with a solid start.
The first standout hole for me came in the shape of the par 5 3rd. Fairly wide from the tee the hole doglegs from right to left as the fairway drops away, the only real danger is the visible bunker on the left hand side which is smartly positioned to stop you trying to cut too much off.
The approach shot drops away and back up to the raised green with two deep bunkers front right protecting the green which sits back surrounded by trees that frame the hole superbly.
The 6th hole is a wicked 90-degree dogleg from left to right which give you options from the tee but again, perfectly placed bunkers at the turn of the fairway.
Take them on and a short wedge in, play safe from the tee and you will be faced with a tougher, longer second. A great risk reward par 4.
Two of the last three holes on the front are par 5s. The 7th is longer and requires a precise tee shot to avoid the trees both sides and the 9th plays shorter but up from tee to green - also moving from left to right giving you a real test to finish up on the outward 9.
Back 9 Overview
The back starts with a similar gentle feel to the front as the 10th does not play too long, but unlike the 1st you see less of the hole making you feel like a driver isn’t the best option.
The 13th is another superbly designed dogleg. The length may lure the longer hitter into thinking the green is reachable from the tee but that comes with its own danger as anything that is not long enough will be hazard bound.
The 14th may also be reachable but six fairway bunkers from 80 yards and in will surely catch most golfers out!
The 17th - The Signature Hole - is a delightful par 3 that plays over the water feature and a real challenge too. The green is angled from the tee box and is 36 yards in depth meaning the length will vary and will play every inch of it!
One of the unique selling points to Royal Norwich is the tee system they have in place. Players have five different sets of tees to play from; Gold, Navy, Silver, Black and Bronze. From the Gold tees the course is the longest in Norfolk, and from the Bronze tee it’s the shortest. This give players of all abilities the chance to enjoy this course at a yardage that is suited to their own game.
When you combine this with the 6-hole academy course that is also available, Royal Norwich prides itself with being able to offer its junior golfers (of which there are a growing number) that route from academy to the main course building up the distance with age and ability.
The course is really well designed and thought out. The greens have run-off areas that would not look out of place on The European Tour. The greenside bunkers are deep and challenging and the fairway bunkers are in the right positions - especially on holes that turn from one side to the other.
It's challenging but due to the tee system can still be enjoyed by golfers of all abilities. Everything about it screams high class and it really has got something for everyone.
There are a number of reasons why the course is in such good shape. 10% of the root zone in all of the tees & greens (including the 6-hole academy course) is artificial. The product used is called Pro File and they were the first club in the UK to invest in this new technology, which is also in place at Augusta National. This keeps the tees and greens in great condition all year round.
The 10m gallon reservoir feeds the 1,400 sprinklers on the course that are microchipped, so they all have their own personalised programs which receive updates to improve performance and their efficiency of water use.
All these factors give the course the best chance to be in pristine condition for every visit.
After the round you can enjoy food and drink sitting outside on the patio or balcony which overlooks the 18th green. If that doesn’t take your fancy there is a number of seating areas inside that each have a different ambiance - once again offering something different for everyone and the food and drink on offer means you'll have no reason to go home.
To sum up there really is nothing negative that could be said about the entire experience on offer at Royal Norwich. From the moment you enter the gates and drive up the winding round, to the minute you put the clubs back in the car and head home, you'll enjoy every single second of your visit, regardless of how you score.
Overall Rating - 10
Course (Conditions) - 10
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 10
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 10
Practice Facilities - 10
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 10
Value for Money - 9
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