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Stapleford Park golf course review

By: Adam Smith | Wed 30 Jun 2010

The golf course

Precise, accurate and patience are just a few words needed to fire a good score around here.

The beautiful Stapleford Park near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire is an inland gem with a links feel about it.
Very few courses are free from intrusion. The course at Stapleford Park is a rare exception. Set within the landscape of the estate, with ever-changing views of the huge House that once entertained Royalty, the 500 acres of English countryside never felt so great.

Only recently the course played host to a European Seniors Tour event, the Handa Senior Masters. Now a course that has hosted any event is going to be good, and Stapleford Park was no exception. You know you’re in for a good round when you hear the testaments of Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam and other senior tour members of how good the course is.

The estate which is heaped in History is easy to find, but when you drive into the grounds it is easy to get lost. Once you do find the stunning looking pro shop and bar you will soon know that you’re in for something special. All the buildings within the grounds are well maintained and looked after, the golf changing rooms are in an old stable block and you will find everything you need in there.

Onto the course, designed by Donald Steel, the course wraps around the estate and it’s huge lake in a horse shoe manner, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it will just be a up and down course with holes side by side.  I guarantee that you won’t find one hole the same as another which is a great feature here. This configuration is reminiscent of the great links courses, such as the Old Course at St Andrews, as it provides continuing variety in the direction of the holes, as well as producing a series of stunning views.

Woods, ponds and streams, all teeming with wildlife, feature on many holes, although the meandering River Eye perhaps adds greatest strategic interest to the golf, coming into play on four holes.

My experience

The amazing thing that I noticed when playing is the complete silence out on the course, you don’t hear a thing.

A 6944 yard, par 73 off the championship tees, you need to have your driving game in top condition, because as I said earlier accuracy is key. When I played the rough had grown and it is the wispy grass that really punishes you, if you can find your ball that is.

Unusually you have two par5’s within the first four holes, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is an easy start, even with the 271 yard par 4 1st. The fairway has six bunkers and if you’re brave enough to go over them then there’s the three greenside traps to catch you.

The one thing which I love about Donald Steel courses is the huge undulating greens that were in superb condition and running very fast.

If you find fairways on this course like many, you should be able to score well especially on the par 5’s, but there not without trouble. The 4th is a great risk and reward hole. A dogleg left off the tee, the second shot leaves you having to miss the tree that stands on the left side of the fairway, over the River Eye, and around the greenside bunker to find the green. I’m willing to sell my birdie to the highest bidder!

The par 4, 8th is a great hole. 312 yards, the river again comes into play this time splitting the fairway in two. If you’re long enough you can go over it and reach the fairway on the other side. You then have to cross the river again to hit the green which is guarded by two bunkers.

Important to maintain your focus going into the back nine, the par 5, 11th is deemed the hardest hole on the course, you need a long drive to miss the fairway trap, the green is in range for the long hitters but you will have to go over another water hazard to reach the green.

Like many great courses, you have to be on your game until you hole that last putt.

The view from the 18th fairway to the green

Stapleford Park has three tough finishing holes. 16 and 17 both long par 4’s with no bunkers, you think why so hard. It is because they usually play directly into the South-West wind which adds on a good few yards.

When you can see the beautiful house from the 18th tee, you are just a few blows away from the end, that’s if you miss the water hazard of the right of the 18th fairway and you either hit it short or long enough to get over the stream that is about 230 yards from the tee and runs diagonally across the fairway.

If you ever get the opportunity to play this course, grab it with both hands as you will not be disappointed.
Another plus point is the very helpful PGA Pro Richard Alderson. He is extremely passionate about the course and knows all the information. If he’s around he has some great stories for you.

Ask the Pro

I asked Richard the usual questions and this is what he had to say:

1.    What three qualities do you need to succeed around Stapleford Park?
A.    Long, straight and accurate driving. And a good putter

2.    In your opinion what is the hardest hole?
A.    Well the 11th is hardest by stroke index but I think both 16 and 17 are very tough especially into the wind.

3.    What is your favourite hole out there?
A.    I really like the 4th, it’s a great risk and reward hole.

4.    What is your best score?
A.    Unofficially I have shot 65’s in the past.

5.    If you had one more round to play anywhere around the world, where would it be?
A.    Pebble Beach

Additional Information

Located off the A6006and A607, Take junction 21A off the M1, sign posted A46 Leicester and Newark, and on to the A607 Melton Mowbray.

Golf breaks start from as little as £155pp. For more information visit www.golfbreaks.com

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