Chippenham Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake's Liam Moore
The joys of a new golf course, does anything beat it? Of course, understanding your misses is important but the buzz around a new course and a new adventure is something that is seldom conquered. Chippenham Golf Club allowed me to experience that and it did not disappoint.
Its location is ideal; a short three-minute drive from the M4 means that this golf course is accessible from a swift drive from the motorway. The area of Chippenham is based in the west of England and it is ideal for golfers who reside in Bristol, Swindon or anywhere to the west in general. Founded in 1896, this is a golf course that has been established for quite some time.
The website informs you that the course has recently undergone extensive redevelopment, with the introduction of seven new holes. High season will cost you £50 before 11am and £40 after. If you’re looking to play this course but would prefer to wait for the low season, where prices are reduced, then it will set you back £30 from 1pm and £28 after 3pm. A large fleet of buggies are available for hire and the course boasts a medium-sized putting green and two practice nets prior to the first tee - there are also eight driving range bays.
The course is demanding and requires patience. It’s vital you bring your brain and choose when to attack, as an aggressive playstyle around this facility will certainly leave you disappointed. The design of the front nine is superb, with excellent tests on every hole. I felt the back nine dropped in quality a touch, but it still remained a vigilant challenge. It is 6,414 yards from the whites, 6,080 from the yellows and 5,812 from the reds.
This golf club is classy, real classy. As you approach the large car park, you are immediately struck by the beauty of the recently developed clubhouse. It truly steals the show. As I parked my car, I headed towards the pro shop to acquire as many fluids as possible - England had a certain football match the night before and there were more than a few sore heads.
The putting green was adequate. There are several holes, which could accommodate numerous people at once. The rainfall we had prior to the beginning of the round resulted in the putting green being slightly waterlogged, which meant it was not going to be a true representation of the greens that awaited us on the course. Still, it acted as ample practice.
There are also two practice nets which allowed me to loosen up a little. I’ve never used a net before and I thought that the inclusion was excellent. By having the net, you don’t need to head to the range, subsequently spending more money. I know that they are present at some clubs but if possible, I feel they would be helpful to have at most.
The Golf Course
The opening nine holes were not only a lot of fun, but fantastically designed too. The course opens with a par-5, before curving into a tight space for a par-3. It isn’t until the fifth hole where you will play a par-4 - which I thought was really cool and a bit different. The shorter holes played well and offered scoring opportunities, but the greens are small and thus, accuracy reigned over distance for the day.
To expand on the greens, they were simply fantastic. The ball rolled well and true, while the speed was surprisingly quick - considering how much rain had fallen over the previous 24 hours. The club’s website acknowledges the quality of the greens and I have to absolutely agree with them, some of the best putting surfaces I’ve had the luxury to play on. They were so difficult but once you found the speed of the greens, every putt that sunk would result in instant satisfaction, a true challenge.
To summarise the opening nine holes, fantastic. An excellent introduction to the course and one that would undoubtedly entice me to return. The second nine, however, I felt dropped in quality a touch. The 13th hole is truly mesmerising and the 360-degree view was simply stunning. The following hole, a blind par-5 that suggests you may have to play away from the hole was frustrating. There was no real indication where the correct line was but I implore anyone who thinks about cutting the corner to fight that urge – or you’ll end up in the water like me!
A lot of tee shots required shot shaping, which is fairly normal and expected. However, there were quite a few holes that encouraged a draw. If you’re a player who can’t hit one on demand, then there are safer options and thus, intelligent decision making must be executed if you are to survive Chippenham Golf Club. I would also like to give a special mention to the 17th hole, which I thought was remarkable. At 401 yards, it should be intimidating, but a strong drive would leave an iron into a green that is well protected by a large bunker to the left.
In total, there are five par-5s, five par-3s and eight par-4s. I’ve never played a course with so many fives and I was excited to see if I could secure my first eagle, which I didn’t. Still, the excitement I felt when I stood on every par-5 tee was moreish and, due to the length of the fives, it is certainly achievable with two well-struck shots.
A tough course but if you remain patient, you will reap the rewards. Knowing when to attack or when to settle for par was the difference between a good and a poor round. The eventual winner of the day won with 40 points - playing off 12 - and he is comfortably the best golfer of the group, so the course rewarded the best player - which I thought was quite fitting. I myself played well and secured second position but the real winner, for me, are the opening nine holes. I cannot overstate how excellent they are.
I would likely return, but the design of the back nine was not one that I am fond of. Still, an excellent course that boasts incredible facilities. The clubhouse was sensational and probably the best I’ve ever set eyes on. The golf club clearly oozes class and it’s reflected in its impressive centrepiece, a work of art. Generally, the group thought that the course was well designed and they would all return once more. The round was supplemented with a tremendous lasagne meal, which was well deserved after battling through a borderline spell of monsoon weather!
The golf course is great. As aforementioned, the opening nine holes were truly sensational but I felt the quality of the course tailed off towards the end – excluding the marvellous 17th hole. Some holes are quite tight and thus, do encourage you to opt for an iron as opposed to driver. However, there are also several holes that are expansive and allow you to open up those shoulders, which I did on a few occasions and was rewarded pleasantly.
This isn’t a golf course that people are going to blitz and threaten the course record. It requires thought, patience and willingness. It’s a true test of golf and one that I found to be difficult at times. I loved the layout of the par-5s, they always enticed a second shot into greens that were well protected by bunkers or, on some occasions, hazardous zones. The par-3s were generally excellent too, but number 11’s elevation seems a little harsh if you were to duff your tee shot.
Chippenham Golf Club is a course that everyone should experience. It’s difficult at times but also offers opportunities, albeit scarcely. The food was divine and the pro shop was well stocked with not only golf equipment, but drinks and snacks too. The clubhouse is incredible and if you do play here, it is mandatory to have a drink after just to experience the impressive interior of the historic club. Considering it has a range and alternative practice facilities, this club will prepare you efficiently for a round of golf – just don’t cut the corner on 14!
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|Chippenham Golf Club
from 58 reviews