Leamington & County Golf Club
Weather & Course Condition
What a day to play golf, the temperature was in the 30,s with the sun beating down and no breeze as it had been for a few days previous to my visit. The course obviously reflected this and the fairway’s were more brown and hard and because of this my ball ran a long way and left tight lies making it a challenge and a joy to play on but the greens were in excellent condition and ran smooth and fast.
Leamington & County G C is just South of Whitnash in Leamington Spa, I drove into Whitnash and past the Post Office on my left followed by the Plough & Harrow pub on my right, just past this pub you turn right into Golf Lane. This lane is lined both sides with houses and the obligatory cars parked on both sides of the road, after about half a mile the entrance to the club is on your right and you will drive up the short drive into a large car park.
A lovely looking clubhouse is ahead of you with outside seating along the terrace which was full of members taking a well deserved liquid refreshment, the pro-shop is found the far side of the clubhouse where I was warmly welcomed by Chris in a very well equipped shop. This is a popular members club but unlike others I have visited all the members I met and spoke to were very welcoming. The course itself is very well looked after by the greenstaff and although in a few places is reasonably flat however due to the heat and humidity on the day of my visit I must admit I did struggle on the last few holes and the walk from the 18th to the car park my feet were definitely dragging but that is due to my lack of fitness, overall a very enjoyable day of golf on a well looked after course that can challenge all players without destroying them.
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All yardage is from the yellow tee’s
Hole 1 – 487yds – Par 5
From the tee it appears the hole dog legs right at the top of the hill when in fact it goes slightly left and if you look carefully you can see the bunkers around the green in the distance. Typically my drive went slightly right and I thought is was a good result until I got to my ball and realised I should have been further to left, even though Chris had told me where the hole went all that info went out of my mind when on the tee. Leaving a long second to the green I decided to play short of what looked like a dry leat some 50yds in front of the green and as luck would have it that worked out ok. My third was a simple pitch onto a large green and like all the greens here was a joy to putt on.
Hole 2 – 330yds – Par 4
At this point I became a little confused, my garmin hand held was informing me that the second was a par 3 which it obviously wasn’t (note to self must update device asap)
From the tee the wide fairway dog legs slightly left upto the green, with such a wide fairway you should be on the fairway after your drive leaving the uphill second to the green, I went with a 7 iron due to the yardage but should have used my rescue wood as I ended up some 30yds short of the green, so remember it will play longer than what it looks.
Hole 3 – 310yds – Par 4
If I had to criticise this course this would be where it happens, leaving the 2nd green there is a tee to the right but this is the 7th and the 3rd tee is the other side of it and around 50yds further back, so for someone who has not played here before it can and was a little confusing yes if you look on the back of your scorecard you can work out where it is but a sign by the 7th tee would have helped.
From the tee you can see 3 tall trees in the distance and a small group of trees that protrude into the fairway on the right and they acted as a magnet for my ball, with a wide fairway I end up in the bushes. Ideally your tee shot needs to be on the lefthand side of the fairway as it does slope slightly left to right leaving a clear second to the green, anything on the righthand side of the fairway will leave those magnetic trees in play unless you have driven past them.
Hole 4 – 417yds – Par 4
A similar tee shot to the 3rd except the fairway does not slope as bad, as you can see there are a group of trees on the right just as the hole bears round to the right. As you may have guessed this is where I ended up and judging by the amount of divets in this area so have a lot of others, I managed to punch a 3 wood from here and luck was with me as it made it to the front fringe of the green. A good challenge for all level of golfers this one, for those animals who can launch a high t shot 250yds they can still be caught out and for golfers like me even though the fairway is wide we can end up in the trees or they block our line of play.
Hole 5 – 339yds – Par 4
A short par 4 this one and a birdie is a good possibility, if you enlarge the photo you will see the marker pole which is just on the dog leg left with the hole about another 120yds further on and below you so a drive to the dog leg should leave a easier shot to the green which is protected on both sides by bunkers, for the big hitters who can take on the dog leg will be left either on or near the green or at worst in a bunker.
Hole 6 – 428yds – Par 4
A wide open fairway that has a slight turn to the right leading upto the green awaits which should be relatively easy for most higher handicappers. I say relatively as some 170yds out from the tee is a fairway bunker on the righthand side that shouldn’t come into play……..I say shouldn’t but on checking the scorecard it is noticeable that this hole is stroke index 1 and there must be a reason for that, in my case it was because my tee shot duly landed straight in the bunker which meant another 3 shots were needed to get on the green, even those that avoid the bunker will still have a long uphill second to the green so stay out of the bunker by playing to the left of the fairway and be happy to take another two to the green is the smart play.
Hole 7 – 474yds – Par 5
A nice par 5 that is wide and straight from tee to green, there is water that protrudes into the left side of the fairway about 220yds out that shouldn’t come into play for most of us from the tee. My drive left me short of the water but a good second left me only 120yds from the green, a duffed pitch and two putt left me walking off 1 over, for most high handicappers reaching the green in 3 is possible but getting on in 4 will most likely be the target to aim for. A enjoyable hole to let rip on as not to much to worry about if your shots are reasonably straight.
Hole 8 – 156yds – Par 3
The first par 3 of the round, as most people may know I am rubbish on par 3’s, however I have been working hard over the lockdown on this and have improved my iron play so this hole which has no trouble around except for a bunker in front of the green was a chance to see if my newly found skill is working. I would love to say it flew high and straight and landed softly on the green but it didn’t instead it flew high but left, as luck would have it the lie was good and it was pin high so walking off with par left me thinking the hard work is paying off. One word of warning is that should your tee shot stray too far right there is long rough waiting and should you find your ball in it the next shot will be a challenge.
Hole 9 – 442yds – Par 5
Not the most welcoming tee shot here for those of us who have a slight left to right drive, with hedgerow running right by the tee all the way down the left side means the group of trees await your drive on the right, deciding to play clever the driver was left in the bag here and my 3 wood came into play as I normally hit this one pretty straight and almost as far. Only thing not taken into account was the hardness of the fairway as my drive did go straight and landed in the middle of the fairway but kept on rolling to the righthand side leaving me still just on the fairway but with the overhanging branches of the trees it meant the best I could do was a punch shot and hope. In the distance tucked into the corner of the course and close to the pro shop is the green, just before it the fairway dips steeply down before rising upto the green, lady luck was very much on my side here as my punch shot had ended up just on the up slope to the green which left me pitch of some 90yds upto the green.
Hole 10 – 321yds – Par 4
Just alongside the 1st tee is the 10th with the fairway dipping down then going up to the green in the distance, this hole will give you a chance to show the members who are sitting on the terrace your prowess and graceful swing, in reality like me you will make a pigs ear of it, yes it was my worst drive of the day seeing my ball barely getting airborne and heading towards the tree in the dip on the right. Ideally you will play more to the left middle of the fairway leaving a uphill shot to the green, as for me my luck was still with me and although in the rough and trees between me and the green my second shot went over the trees and landed just 50yds short of the green.
Hole 11 – 120yds – Par 3
Another chance to try my new iron skills out, as you can see from the photo tall trees line both sides of this hole with one of them slightly encroaching across the fairway leaving a narrow target to the green, normally due to the length of this hole I would have played my pitching wedge but I decided to play a 9 iron so as to put less effort into the shot due to the heat, what joy to see the ball heading up and over that tall tree and moving slightly right to left, that is until it caught one small twig at the top which caused the ball to land right of the green but pin high. Hit a lovely pitch shot onto the green but watched it roll just past the hole and with greens that were fast the ball kept on rolling straight into the bunker on the far side of the green. A really good par 3 this one and would love to play this hole again.
Hole 12 – 398yds – Par 4
From the tee the green is hidden behind the tall trees that are just to the right of the middle in the photo, this tee is raised and it is all downhill to the green but better still it was the only tee that there was a little breeze to help me cool down. A good hole to let rip with the driver and it suited my drive to a T, watching it move gently left to right I ended up on the right of the fairway just passed the trees leaving a straightforward shot to the green.
Hole 13 – 373yds – Par 4
Once again a wide fairway leading upto the green, no real problems on this hole as long as you hit a reasonable drive that leaves you on fairway, this is something I didn’t do my drive was pulled and left me in the rough on the left which meant not reaching the green in 2 which I should have done but somehow I did get on in 3 and a single putt gave me par.
Hole 14 – 533yds – Par 5
As can be seen from the photo your drive needs to be reasonable straight as anything going too far right or left will leave you blocked out for your second. My drive strayed a little too far right but fortunately I had a shot over the trees which left me on the left hand side of the fairway some 170yds out from the fairway. If you are able to enlarge the photo you may see a leat that crosses the fairway @20yds in front of the green, so beware I suspect many a shot has ended up here.
Hole 15 – 179yds – Par 3
A short walk from the 14th upto the 15th T was my breaking point, this was the point when then heat started to take effect on me and the thought of a longish par 3 didn’t sit to well.
Not to much of a problem on this hole as the only thing to watch out for are the bunkers that protect the sides of the green, selection of club for me was a bit tricky do I play a 4 iron which I am not hitting consistently or use my rescue wood which I am hitting straight but normally only get 155-160yds with, I’m sure the low and mid handicappers would probably use a 7 or 8 iron but for the higher handicapper I’m sure a different variety of clubs are used. Due to being completely bushed and the heat I selected my 3 wood with a short easy swing and the result couldn’t have been better as it went dead straight and landed softly to just roll onto the front of the green.
Hole 16 – 359yds – Par 4
From the tee you drive down through the avenue of trees to the dog leg left where a dry leat crosses the fairway, should you get to the dog leg the green awaits for your second, be careful on your drive though should it drift off to the right you could end up either in a difficult lie in the trees or out of bounds. As my drives were going a little right today I used my 3 wood followed by a 7 wood which put me just short of the green so to get par on the Stroke index 2 hole was a joy.
Hole 17 – 371yds – Par 4
After dragging myself to the 17th tee thoughts of curtailing my round came into my head, however there are some steps that take you upto this tee which was a welcome for me as I could sit down and take on a lot of liquid, one thing I do miss since the Covid-19 lockdown are the seats that you’d find at some tee’s, for old git’s like me they are a welcome sight.
From the tee your drive is slightly uphill over a small pond, the green is out of sight from the tee but the marker pole is your line, note the fairway bunker on the righthand side some 180yds from the tee, it acts like a magnet and duly my second shot was from this bunker however I was able to use my rescue wood and guessing the line to the green from here I let rip so imagine my surprise when nearing the green I found my ball sitting at the back of the green.
Hole 18 – 128yds – Par 3
Interesting par 3 to finish my round, with two large bunkers protecting the middle to right side of the green and on the day of my visit the flag was on that side. From tee to green the ground is open with nothing to worry about and should you over hit the green it is all uphill after the green so there is a good chance of the ball coming back onto the green especially on a day like this. Standing on the tee and seeing members on the terrace watching along with 4 youths who were on the practice area watching certainly gave me the colley wobbles as I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other let alone swing a club.
Selecting my rescue wood once again and taking aim at the left hand side of the green I gave it a go and nobody was more surprised than me when the ball soared high and straight and landed on the green with one small bounce, what a great way to finish a round on a most enjoyable course, this is a little gem of a club and so friendly if you have a chance to play it then take it with both hands you will not regret it.
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