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Lilley Brook Golf Club Feature Review

By: Melvyn Davies | Tue 28 Jun 2022 | Comments


Established in 1922 with links to Dr Alister MacKenzie, Lilley Brook Golf Club is an undulating parkland course that is situated on the edge of Cheltenham and boasts views across the town to the Cotswolds and Malvern Hills. 

Golfshake Ambassador Mel Davies recently visited and describes the venue in this new Feature Review.

Pre-Round Thoughts

Lilley Brook GC

As soon as you pull into the car park you can see this is a place that has plenty going on. A lovely looking clubhouse with ample changing that can only be described as a Tardis as it seems much bigger inside than it looks from the outside.

A warm welcome was offered by John Lannon, the General Manager, who then showed us where everything was and also gave a brief insight into where the club was and what plans they had going forward, which include a par 3 course, driving range and simulator room. The main room in the clubhouse has been recently refurbished and the pro shop has also moved.

As you step outside to the patio you can see straight away that this is going to be a great course to play.

Front 9 Overview

The round starts with a couple of short par 4s where accuracy rather than length off the tee is key. Both greens are well protected by bunkers and run-offs (these are a big feature all the way round). The greens are a great pace and very tricky with slopes seemingly everywhere. Next up is the first par 3 at just over 200 yards and a well struck tee shot is required to a slightly elevated green with bunkers all round. Three longer par 4s follow where again accuracy is the order of the day to enable a clear shot at the green. Pars here are a great score.

Another par 3 follows and then you have the first and only par 5 on the course, and what a great hole it is. A good straight drive will leave you a chance at the green that is down the bank but two large trees are either side of the fairway ready to block any slightly off-line drives. The front 9 finishes with the longest par 4 on the course but a good drive can set up a mid-iron to a green sat down below the fairway.

Back 9 Overview

The back 9 starts much like the front with a relatively short par 4 where a well positioned tee shot will offer the chance of just a wedge into the green. Then follows the shortest hole on the course at 137 yards but the green is one of the trickiest and slopes from back to front so even hitting the green doesn’t mean a simple par.

Stroke index 2 par 4 is next and you can see why - big dogleg to the right and all uphill to a green perched up high means it plays every yard it says - you really do need to pick the correct line on this drive.

Two great short par 4s then await with the green on the 13th one of the best and toughest greens I’ve had the pleasure to play on!

The 15th and 16th are as high up as you’ll get and run alongside each other. As on every hole the big protection here is the difficulty in hitting the green and not leaving a big sloping putt.

The 17th is probably the signature hole - 200 yard par 3 with a pond to the right meaning you really have to hit your Sunday best to get on the green and avoid visiting the water.

A short walk to the final hole and some of the best views you’re likely to find - and there are plenty on this course alone. A good drive down the hill leaves just a flick into a green sat in front of the clubhouse with bunkers to the front and rear - a truly fantastic finishing hole to a really great course.

Post-Round Thoughts

Lilley Brook GC

The greens are some of the best and trickiest I’ve played on as you’d expect from a MacKenzie design. Great bunkering and superb run-off areas make this a great challenge to your short game which I love.

The final two holes are the real jewels in an already superb crown. They sum the course up with one long par 3 followed by a short par 4 that can offer up birdies or bogeys in a flash.

I enjoyed the course and the venue as a whole is as good as you’ll find and will get even better when they complete the ongoing projects. A very friendly atmosphere with a top drawer clubhouse offering plenty of food options and drinks. 

Lilley Brook would be playable for all levels as it’s not the longest but it does require well hit shots and a good strategy.

Verdict

Lilley Brook

Lilley Brook is a great layout of holes, undulating fairways in perfect condition with spectacular views as you ascend up the course. Par 4s are a great mixture of short and medium length holes as well as the par 3s. The greens are a true test of your putting abilities with the slopes proving a great challenge. One par 5 on the course that requires a perfect tee shot to avoid the mature trees that are perfectly placed if you want to have a go at the green in two. Par 3 17th is the signature hole, but the view on the 18th tee is probably one of the best I've seen. Superb course with the MacKenzie design character. 

Overall Rating - 10

Course (Conditions) - 10

Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9

Course (Green Condition) - 10

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9

Club Facilities & Clubhouse - 10

Practice Facilities - 10

Friendliness/Hospitality - 10

Pace of Play - 10

Value For Money - 10


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