Stoneleigh Deer Park G.C.
Weather & Course Condition
Think of the best weather conditions to play golf in and that was what it was today, lovely blue sunny sky with barely any wind. The course itself was in great condition though on the day of my visit the front nine fairways the grass was a little longer than the back nine, the greens were large and lovely to putt on although I did find some that had a hard surface and the approach shot really bounced and risked going off the back and others were a lot softer and the ball stopped quite quick on these, for myself I enjoyed the different types of greens. This is a lovely well kept course that is a challenge to all and the club members are very lucky to have it.
A lovely parkland course with the river Avon meandering gentle through it and is located near to the NAC at Stoneleigh where back in the day was a major attraction during the summer as a huge agriculture show was held there along with hundreds of various stalls made it a great family outing, a shame it no longer happens. Turning into the club from the road there is parking on both sides of the drive right down to the clubhouse which is large and modern. There is a large bar/restaurant area with a lot of outside seating which was very welcome on this sunny day. The pro shop is around the far side of the clubhouse and is welcoming and well stocked. Most of the holes are open without to many obstacles which meant you can really let rip with your drives even if you don’t hit a straight drive, as a high handicapper I found some holes a hard challenge but still enjoyed playing them even so a lower handicapper will still have their game challenged as even with a long drive there are well placed bunkers waiting around most of the greens to challenge your approach shot. In summary a great course run by lovely professional staff with members who were very welcoming, there is also a nice 9 hole par 3 course that is also very challenging.
Hole by Hole Analysis
All yardage is from the yellow tee’s
Hole 1 – 375yds – Par 4
A short walk along the path from the pro shop brings you to the first tee and you will be aware of the members/visitors who are taking advantage of the outside seating watching you. The wide fairway goes of in the distance between the trees on the right and a lone tree on it’s left where it gently bears left and up to the green which can’t be seen from the tee due to the lone tree on the left. Aware of being watched I managed to hit a reasonable drive which ended up on the rightside of the fairway in the shadow of the trees some 195yds from the green. As it was the first hole and I had no warm up I opted for a easy six iron as I have been hitting it well and should leave me around 30yds short of the green, however I didn’t hit it well and needed a full 60 degree wedge to get me on the front of the green which is one that has no bunkers around it.
Hole 2 – 312yds – Par 4
A similar hole to the first whereby the fairway gentle rises up and curves left to the green that can’t be seen from the tee but a little shorter. There is a large tree in the fairway where the fairway turns so taking aim at this tree (as I never end up where I aim) I hit a similar drive as on the first, having played this hole I now know the line to take is to the left of this tree and for the long hitters will leave them very close to the green. My second left me just short of the green but I did manage a par here.
Hole 3 – 469yds – Par 5
The first of three consecutive par 5’s, Driving between the two large trees in front of the tee onto the wide fairway that gentle goes left in the distance to a large kidney shaped green. Didn’t hit a great tee shot here, ended up on the left just off the fairway some 140yds away but a nice rescue wood and 7 iron left me just 30yds short of the green. Hit a lovely high wedge into the green that took a big bounce and disappeared down the bank on the right of the green but a up and down gave me a bogey.
Hole 4 – 491yds – Par 5
This is a interesting hole to drive on, from the tee the fairway drops down and it is one of the few that is lined on both sides by trees, to make matters worse where the fairway drops down it also drops on the left leaving your drive to roll to the left and possible trouble. I aimed my drive down the righthand side of the fairway and unusually I hit a really good drive that flew straight and long down the right, walking from the tee thinking I’d got this one right and expecting to find my ball on the fairway either in the middle or left hand side of the fairway giving me a view of the green. Once I’d got to the top of the drop there was no ball in sight and after a good rummage I found it about 40yds short of a group of large trees on the right of the fairway in the rough. This left me some 240yds to the green and like an idiot I decided on a rescue wood over the trees was the shot and not to knock it back onto the fairway which is what I should have done. Although I did hit a good second I just caught the top of the tallest tree which threw the ball down into the rough some 75yds in front of me, a good third and a pitch left me a couple of feet to the right of the green which has quite a slope from right to left. The green is shaped like a light bulb with a large bunker on it’s left, my chip landed just on the green and rolled down the slope passing the hole by inch’s but not stopping until it reached the edge of the green on the other side, a further 3 putts left me wanting to get away to the next tee and forget what happened.
Hole 5 – 495yds – Par 5
From the tee all the way down the left of the fairway are trees and you do not want to be in them so aim down the middle and better to go right than left. It was here the four ball in front invited me to play through and you guessed it that meant I made a right mess of it all, best to say I didn’t lose my ball but it did take 5 strokes to get onto the green but once there I did only one putt so not a bad result considering.
Hole 6 – 217yds – Par 3
A long par three this one and from the tee it feels like a narrow corridor to hit your tee shot, The green is shaped a little like a egg timer with large bunkers to both sides of it and a number of smaller bunkers that go across the fairway about 20yds in front of the green. I went with a 7 wood here but did not hit it cleanly and ended up about 50yds short of the green, my pitch was also short and only got on the front of the green and with the pin at the back I still had around a 23yd putt to go, once again I annoyingly did a 3 putt but still enjoyed this hole.
Hole 7 – 466yds – Par 5
From the previous green a short walk over the bridge will bring you to the 7th tee of this par 5, from the tee the fairway is pretty open with trees lining all the way down the leftside but it is more open on the right if you stray that way. There are trees in the fairway the first one on the left edge should not come into play unless your drive is a little wayward, at around 200yds there is another in the fairway and a third on the righthand side another 35yds further on so these make for a interesting tee shot challenge, mine ended up just off to the left of the middle of the fairway around 30yds short of the tree in the middle which left me with an interesting second as I was too close to it and I don’t have the ability to go over or around it so opted for a punch shot with a 4 iron, although I didn’t hit it too well it did progress around leaving me 140yds short of green. From here there is water to cross in front of the green so opting for my 8 iron I’m afraid I did top it a little but still cleared the water landing on the front of the green then watched it as it rolled over the green and ended up some 30yds past it. Fortunately a chip and a 2 putt let me record a 6 here which I was pleased with.
Hole 8 – 339yds – Par 4
A shorter par 4 this one, which big hitters may consider going for it but as can be seen from the photo from the tee your tee shot crosses the water at a obtuse angle and between two trees which looked to me like a small gap to go for. The river runs all the way down the right side of the hole and as you can see from around 220yds there are some trees lining the leftside down to the green. Against all odds I hit a dream drive with the ball slightly fading to the middle of the fairway leaving around 136yds from the green, opting for the 9 iron and expecting to be just short of the green it was like Christmas came early as the ball flew all the way to the green and ended up landing softly and pin high about 2 foot off the green on the left leaving me walking off with a par.
Hole 9 – 111yds – Par 3
A straight forward par 3 this one, nothing between you and the green with plenty of room, from the tee the green looked nearer than what the yardage was telling me and like a idiot instead of my pitching wedge I opted for my 50 degree and even though I hit it sweet and straight it ended up some 15yds short of the green so what should have been a par ended up as a bogey.
Hole 10 – 344yds – Par 4
Well this is the sort of tee shot that will fill the high handicappers with dread but will not bother the rest, on the day of my visit the tee had been set back further than the yellow tee markers. Your tee shot will need to carry at least 140yds to clear the trouble in front, as you can see there is about 75yds from the tee to where the water starts and you’ll need another 70 to make sure your safe and as all high handicappers know we tend to try and hit it harder to make sure we clear everything but end up making a right mess of it. For myself I did clear by some 50yds but ended up just off the fairway on the right. My second with my rescue wood left me some 60yds short of the pin on the left in long grass which resulted in my pitch landing in the bunker at the front left of the green, there is another at the front right as well. I did get out of the bunker well but taking two putts to hole out left me with a bad start on the back nine.
Hole 11 – 126yds – Par 3
Another shortish par 3 to challenge you, with nothing between tee and green and open all around this should be a simple tee shot, today the pin was right at the back of the green. Not wanting to underclub as I had on the 9th and with a slight wind from behind I went with my pitching wedge which I hit well and it flew high and straight to the pin but landed about 10yds short of the green and stopped dead, no bounce or roll which may have left me with a chance of a birdie (I was robbed) but a chip and a putt did give me a par.
Hole 12 – 280yds – Par 4
A short hole which a good drive could definitely reach although from the tee it is uphill and the green is not visible at all but if you go for the marker post and clear it you should end up close or on the green. For me that isn’t an option and my drive ended up just off the left of the fairway at the top of the hill, my second was a bit wayward and ended up by the group of trees that are short right of the green, I would love to say a straight up and down gave me a par but the truth is a poor pitch and two putt was the real result.
Hole 13 – 142yds – Par 3
Firstly I apologise that there is no photo of this hole but for some reason I didn’t take one, possibly it was because on such a beautiful day I was enjoying the scenery around here and taking on plenty of liquids (non alcoholic) I found this tee shot difficult as the yardage didn’t suit what I can do, so instead of going with a 8 iron I’d convinced myself I could reach with a 9, what a muppet I was as I ended up a good 5 yards short left of the green in long grass and it took me 2 hacks and a putt to hole out.
Hole 14 – 490yds – Par 5
At least on this hole I can’t pick the wrong club as it’s a good par 5 that is slightly uphill from the tee with the occasional tree dotted around that may come into a play. Letting rip with my driver which I had hit pretty well for me today I duly knocked it some 70yds in front of me into the rough on the left. Taking aim at the marker post in the fairway I let go with my rescue wood followed by a 7 iron which left me just short of a roadway that crossed the fairway some 150yds short of the green. I would love to say my 4th shot left me near or on the green but in my defence I did manage to get a tree right in front of me so could only progress a short distance forwards but at least back into the middle of the fairway leaving me to record a annoying 7.
Hole 15 – 153yds – Par 3
What a good par 3 this one is, looking to the green below you which looks like a figure eight all that is needed is the right club selection and a good strike and there is no issues around the green to worry about. I opted for the 7 iron and although I hit it well the direction left a little to be desired as I ended up about 6yds off the right of the green in longish grass and managed to get a bogey. One nice touch I must point out here is that the club have a buggy for those that have not hired one to go down to the green and then come back as the next tee is by the 15th tee and as such does reduce any bottleneck issues here, a nice touch Stoneleigh and thank you.
Hole 16 – 419yds – Par 4
A straight hole this one between a few trees that looks straightforward but beware it is not their stroke index 1 for nothing. There is a roadway that crosses the fairway some 190yds from the tee of which I had landed just short off. Wondering why it was stroke index 1 I hit my second and did not connect well with it which left me some 120yds short of the green but off the right of the fairway behind a tree leaving the only option to knock the ball sideways back onto the fairway. As it is uphill to the green it looks further than it really is for the approach, I went with a wedge but should have opted for my 9 as it ended short of the green and as such I finished with a double bogey here, now I know why it stroke index 1 but the better golfer will not see it that way I’m sure.
Hole 17 – 196yds – Par 3
Onto a long par 3 and deciding what club to use for the tee shot, the green which is narrow but long sits up on a plateau and with trees to the front left of it and a slope off the right makes it a challenge. Normally I get a fade with my driver so I went with my 3 wood doubting that I could reach I just wanted to be in the middle leaving a short pitch upto the green. Hitting what I thought was a good tee shot left me just short of the green to the right, my pitch landed near the pin but rolled just off the green but at least I got a bogey it could be so much worse this hole, a proper card wrecker.
Hole 18 – 389yds – Par 4
From the tee a wide open fairway that drops gently down to the river that crosses the fairway about 100yds from the green. As long as you don’t go to far left there are no problems here and if like me you can only wish that you can drive over 250yds then the river is not a issue either. My drive went down the right and left me about 100yds short of the river, from this position I needed to be aware of the approach to the green as trees line both sides of the approach once over the river, opting to play just up short of the river left me a straightforward approach to the green and 2 putting brought me to the end of a most enjoyable round of golf.