Following a Spring time trip to Trevose our Secret Golfer (SG) headed up country to The Oxfordshire Golf Club, one of Leaderboard’s four facilities. The long meandering drive way led the way to what promised to be a superb venue. Did it disappoint? Read on.
Introducing The Oxfordshire
As the first UK course designed by Rees Jones, the architect responsible for Torrey Pines and Bethpage in the US, the Oxfordshire does offer the promise of something special.
A former host to numerous European Tour events including the Benson & Hedges International, the Anderson Consulting World Championship and the Ladies English Open The Oxfordshire has seen many golfing legends grace the fairways over the years reassuring the visiting golfer that he is playing somewhere with real class.
The onsite hotel offers forty six executive rooms and four penthouse suites and is designed with a country house feel. Golf Monthly rated the venue in the top 50 place to stay and play in the UK.
The Sakura restaurant offers a high quality dining experience whilst the Lakes Lounge is more informal and the Spike Bar is designed around golfers needs, including a number of plasma screens for watching sport and relaxing after a round.
The Club House
The view from the clubhouse is simply stunning offering far reaching views across the county including a look at a number of the golf holes. The amount of water features on the course is clear to see. The outside terrace was occupied by a good number of golfers, hotel guests and business people on the day SG visited. The facility itself is very impressive from the minute you pull up to the bag drop and the sense of style follows through to the changing rooms and restaurant areas.
Secret Golfer headed to The Spike bar where he opted for the BLT over the Japanese inspired grilled chicken curry with sticky rice. The food was excellent and the service was quick and came with a smile.
The Pro Shop
The Oxfordshire is a member of the Foremost Alliance Golf buying group.
The size of the pro shop is average and given the size of the overall facility SG expected it to be larger and more impressive. Apparel brands on display included Calvin Klein, Oscar Jacobsen, Footjoy, Dwyers and Under Armour whilst Adidas and Footjoy footwear are on sale. In terms of hardware Taylor Made & Titleist provide the irons, drivers, fairway woods and hybrids whilst Scotty Cameron and Cleveland fulfil the putter and wedge requirements.
The layout was ok if a bit sparse and Secret Golfer felt that the retail environment didn’t really do the venue justice.
The retail team on the other hand are very helpful and seemed knowledgeable regarding their stock although they didn’t actually try to sell anything.
With a 250 yard driving range featuring five small greens at different distances players can practise with all the clubs in the bag. The range includes a number of covered bays which are essential if footfall is expected throughout the year.
A good size chipping green with greenside bunker allows for excellent short game practise and two large putting greens are strategically located to make practise really easy. The putting greens were a true reflection of the greens out on the course.
Teaching pros at The Oxfordshire use some of the latest launch monitor technology to help their students in tuition time as well as for club fitting.
The Golf Course
The course plays like a links with waist high meadow grass, wide undulating fairways and one hundred and thirty five bunkers to catch a wayward ball. The four huge lakes come in to play on many holes reminding you that you are in fact inland!
Occupying a high position on the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border the wind can play a major factor in club selection and quick cleverly designed greens ensure attention has to be paid until the ball drops in the hole.
A really noticeable feature on The Oxfordshire is the bunkering. Well placed and maintained some of the greenside bunkers would see a poorly played shot roll all the way back to where the ball started meaning good bunker play is essential.
Measuring 6782 off the white tees and 6270 off the yellow The Oxfordshire certainly provides a great test of golf for all levels of golfer.