Puttenham’s signature hole is a relatively short par 4, but by no means easy! A 150 yard plus carry over the pit, up a hill and, if necessary, over the emblem Oak tree is quite daunting for the first tee-shot of the day. And if you happen to open with a big [right-hand] slice, the Puttenham cemetery to the right of the slope can become a graveyard for your ball, as it’s out-of-bounds! If you manage to overcome these obstacles, the second shot is much easier into a very large green. However, the green itself is not easy with deceptive undulations and a ridge towards the back of the green. On medal days, the pin is usually placed at the back of the green and any short approach shot will leave a tricky putt up the ridge. No bunkers on this hole.
The second is a testing par 4. An elevated tee gives you full view of the hole down to a rather narrow fairway. Another Oak tree will catch any shot that is short and left, and the carry to the fairway (off the white tees) is about 180 yards. For those gifted enough to control the direction of their tee shots, the right side of the fairway is the best place to be. However, it also carries the bigger risk, as a line of trees and bushes separates the 2nd hole from the 17th and will catch any shot that that strays too far right. The second shot (assuming you’ve stayed reasonably straight!) requires a good degree of accuracy. Yet another tree guards the left-side approach to the green, and if the flag is placed in line with the tree, then you either have to try to fly over it or run up under it. And then there’s a large slope at the front of the green which catches any short ball, and sends it back down the slope! The green itself is quite wide and narrow, but relatively flat. There is also an up-slope behind the green, so you can afford to be a bit aggressive with club selection for your approach. One bunker to the front-right of the green.
The third hole is the easiest on the course. A very short par 4, downhill all the way to the green, and with slopes that steer any slightly wayward ball back towards the green. In the summer months it is relatively easy to reach the green off the white tees and birdies here are frequent. The green has a small ridge running from front-left almost to the back and if the pin is placed on the lower level, the slopes tend to pull the ball towards the hole. If the pin is on the upper level, or at the back of the green, the putts can be more difficult. No bunkers on this hole.
Justifiably stroke index 2, the 4th hole was for many years index 1. 401 yards all uphill requires two very good shots to find the green. A carry of about 150 yards over heather will find the lower slope of the fairway, with OOB to the left and a grove of trees and gorse to the right, the tee shot can be quite daunting. And even if you do clear the closer obstacles, there’s a fairway bunker (about 200 yards from the white tee) to catch any ball hit to the left, and another Oak tree guarding the right edge of the fairway! The approach to the green can be a long-iron or even a fairway wood (depending on wind direction). It is recommended that at least one club more than the distance would usually dictate is used to take account of the uphill shot. The green slopes mostly from front to back, but also has some deceptive undulations. One bunker on the left side of the fairway about 200 yards from the white tee.
A long uphill par 3 requires an accurate tee shot to find the green. Off the back tees, it’s a bit like playing through a funnel as trees close in from both left & right near the tee, then the fairway opens up after about 80 yards. Once again, an Oak tree will catch any ball hit right of the fairway, but that is often better than finding the deep bunker to the front-right of the green! If you miss the green to the right (and avoid the bunker!), you will still have a very tough shot up a steep slope of about 15 feet onto the putting surface. And don't be long - behind the green is nasty too! The green itself slopes from back to front, and requires a good read to get the putt close to the hole. A good, challenging par 3. One bunker, front-right of the green (and very deep!)
At 428 yards off the white tees, the 6th is a fairly long par 4, but it’s all downhill! The tee shot needs to be accurate, as a wood stretches the length of the hole down the right side, and another stretch of birch and gorse separates the 6th fairway from the 7th after about 200 yards. A good, straight, tee shot can run a long way down the hill. The approach to the green needs to carry a low hedge and then a single-track road, but the ground all slopes down to the green. It is recommended that you take at least two clubs less than the distance would usually dictate. The green slopes mostly from back to front, with a slight ridge going across the green near to the back. If the pin is placed back-left, it requires a good approach directly at the flag, as any “chip and run” shot will usually slide away to the right of the green. Don’t be too long with your approach shot, as the ground behind the green runs down a steep slope! Also, right of the green (about 15 yards) is OOB. Two bunkers, one front-left and one front-right of the green.
This hole was created from the short 6th and 7th par 4's from the old course, with a swathe through the trees to link the holes. At just under 500 yards, it’s not a long hole for a par 5, but still requires three good shots for most players to get to the green. The tee shot needs to carry about 150 yards uphill to clear the heather and find the fairway, but even then you will need about a further 50 yards to have a clear view through the “gap” and down to the green. The second shot needs to be set out somewhat to the left, as the fairway slopes to the right, and a deep and nasty wood (between the 7th & 8th fairways) will trap any ball that sets out to the right – and recovery is tough! The third shot should be a short-iron to the large green. If your second shot has drifted right, you will have yet another Oak tree to navigate before finding the putting surface. Unless the pin is placed on the front-right of the green, this is probably the most difficult green to read, as a slope runs from the front-centre to the back-right with other subtle nuances. Three-putts are frequent. One bunker, front-right of the green.
Another short par 4 at only 297 yards (White tees), but again, not an easy hole. All uphill from the tee, the drive needs to be accurate to ensure a good second shot to the elevated green. Too far left or right off the tee and the trees will grab the ball, and too long (220 yards) will bring a large fir tree into play! The best shot is to the left of the tree about 200 yards, leaving a full short-iron into the large green (shaped like an upturned saucer). The green undulates all over the place, with a slight ridge running the width of the green towards the back. Four bunkers on this hole, one about 20 yards short-left of the green, one front-right (and deep!), and one behind the green to catch the over-hit approach.
The fourth short par 4 on the front nine, but again the accuracy of the tee shot is vital. The drive is uphill through a narrow gap (off the White tees), and then the fairway runs to the right, for any wayward ball to be caught by a long, thin fairway bunker, or slide further into the woods. A high slice (right-hander) will find you OOB over the Pilgrim’s Way! However, really big-hitters can take a risky short-cut directly over the trees and to the green, with the potential of an eagle putt! For mere mortals, a good tee shot will leave a short-iron down the hill to the green, which is protected front-left and right by bunkers. The green itself has two levels, with a ridge running from right to left about 2-3 yards onto the green. The putting surface to the front of the ridge is fairly flat, but the rest of the green slopes from back to front, and can make for some difficult putting. Three bunkers, one about 190 yards from the White tees on the right of the fairway which catches many tee shots. One bunker short-left of the green, surrounded by gorse! Third bunker short-right of the green.
The first of the five ”new” holes, opened in 1990 following the purchase of Monks Grove Copse. The 10th requires a very accurate tee shot down a narrow tree-lined fairway for about 200 yards before you reach a steep downward slope. Both sides of the fairway to this point slope steeply away, so any shot off-line runs further away into trouble, leaving a very difficult recovery. A true “card-breaker”! However, a long and accurate drive will run down the slope, leaving a mid- or short-iron shot into the large green. The green is reasonably flat, but with some subtle nuances. No bunkers on this hole.
A narrow tree-lined fairway makes this par 5 11th a tricky hole, as it requires three good shots to find the green. The drive needs to be particularly accurate, as trees encroach on both sides of the fairway. At about 220 yards there is an up-slope in the fairway, with a nasty drop to the right, which catches any wayward shot on that side. The second shot will take you up the slope, and it’s better to favour the left side of the fairway, as it slopes slightly to the right over the brow, and you could end up in the Rhododendron bushes along the right side of the fairway. The approach shot should be a short iron to a large green that slopes back to front, and right to left. Depending on where the pin is placed, a choice of three clubs may be needed. Two bunkers on this hole, one on the right side of the fairway about 140 yards from the green. One bunker front-left of the green.
In the spring the teeing area on the 12th is reminiscent of Augusta, with magnificent azaleas and rhododendrons surrounding the pond that lies in front of the white tees! This deceptive par 4 of just under 400 yards requires an accurate tee shot aimed towards the left side of the fairway. The slope of the fairway should bring the ball back to the right side for a better shot into the elevated green. If you stay on the left side of the fairway, you will need to be able to execute a draw [right-handed] to find the green with your approach, which is beyond many club players! Any shot played short or right of the green will require a deft touch to get up the bank and close to the hole. Many players use the steep bank to the left of the green as a “get out” and allow the ball to run back down the slope and on to the putting surface. The green itself is large and relatively flat, but like many Puttenham greens, has some subtle borrows. No bunkers on this hole.
A reasonably long par 4 that once again requires accuracy from the tee. The driving line is towards a red/white marker pole to the right of the fairway just over the brow, as the fairway slopes to the left, and any tee shot hit slightly left of centre is likely to end up on some grassy ridges which can leave a very tough second shot. Trees line both sides of the fairway, and the ones about 80-100 yards to the right of the white tee boxes are particularly impenetrable. The approach to the green is downhill, and the green is protected front-left by a fairly shallow bunker. If you can’t fly the green with your approach, the best line is towards the fir tree just to the front-right of the green, as the slope should bring your ball onto the putting surface. One shallow bunker on this hole, front-left of the green.
Another short par 4, the 14th is the last of the “new” holes, and by far the easiest! A slight dog-leg right, big-hitters can sometimes reach the green with their drive in the summer months. There are two teeing areas for this hole – one for summer and one for winter (which straightens the hole somewhat). The right side of the right-sloping fairway will give a better shot into the green, but be careful not to run off and into the hazard (sometimes under water) or the trees on the right side of the fairway. The approach shot is likely to be a short- or mid-iron, and the green is protected front left and right by deep bunkers. If the pin is back-left, it’s virtually impossible to get close without a direct pitch at the flag, as the green slopes to the right, and any bump-and-run shot will tend to the right side. Subtle borrows on this green, with a predominance of back-to-front and left-to-right slopes. Three bunkers on this hole, a pot-bunker front-left of the green (have fun!) and two bunkers to the right of the green.
Back to the “old” course, the par 3 15th slopes slightly uphill to a green protected by shallow bunkers front-right and -left. A blackthorn bush can also become a hazard for any shot pushed slightly right of the green, and just over the bunker! The green slopes from back-to-front and is very true. Two shallow bunkers front-left and front-right of the green.
Not a long par 4, but not easy either! The hole looks a bit like an hour-glass as the tee shot needs to navigate through a narrow, “pinched” piece of fairway between trees on either side. If you get through the “gap”, the undulating fairway slopes upwards to the green, which is narrow and protected front-left and right by bunkers. Your approach is likely to need an extra club more than you would normally take to allow for the up-slope. The green slopes front-to-back and is ridged all round, which tends to bring the ball back onto the putting surface.
Another fairly short par 4, but again, not an easy hole. The drive is to a fairly wide fairway that slopes right-to-left with the B3000 running along the left of the fairway, and a bush (growing on an old tumulus) about 180 yards from the white tees (that can trap a good tee shot!). A gorse hedge runs across the fairway about 90 yards from the front of the green, obscuring the flag and the green. A good tee shot will leave you with a short- or mid-iron to the three-tier green. If you don’t want to fly the ball to the pin, the best approach is to aim well to the right of the green, and let the right to left slope take the ball onto the putting surface. The green has three levels and multiple borrows. The mid-level is very small (about 2-3 square metres) and is usually the choice for the pin position on medal day! No bunkers on this hole.
The final hole is a testing par 3 that can vary in club selection by 3-4 clubs depending on pin position and wind direction! Slightly downhill, you can frequently use the same club as on the shorter 15th (both holes are in the same direction, but the shorter 15th is slightly uphill). Trees run the length of the hole on both sides, and any long, high slice [right-handed] runs the risk of going OOB into the member’s car park (with potential for car damage too! Don’t worry your green fee includes insurance.) Short-left of the green is a glade of mulberry bushes and behind that a clump of bamboo. The large green is protected by two bunkers, one front-right and the other running mid-green to the rear on the left – both are fairly shallow. The large green runs mostly from front-to-back, but also right-to-left.