GR’s Secret Golfer ventured west, to Remedy Oak, where a parkland course has not yet completed its first decade, although the quality of the course belied its youth
Introduction to Remedy Oak
Remedy Oak is a young course in Dorset that has been built in wooded parkland that was previously a deer park, dating back to medieval times, and a thriving herd of roe deer remain resident on the land. The course was designed in consultation with John Jacobs and opened in 2006, and it has already been ranked 99th in Golf Monthly’s Top 100 UK & Ireland courses. In 2013, Remedy Oak also began a five-year stint as a host course for Open Championship Regional Qualifying, so I arrived at the course with high expectations.
On arrival at the clubhouse, clubhouse manager Charlie Swann offered a warm welcome, and he provided a useful overview of the facilities. On discussing practise facilities, I was offered a complimentary range card – leaving me thinking that a welcome to a visiting golfer does not come much warmer.
Brunch was then enjoyed in the main lounge of the clubhouse, which is modern but with a relaxed, rustic feel. This is an impressive room, featuring a vaulted ceiling and exposed beams, comfy sofas and on this particular morning, the cricket on Sky Sports was on screen. Some golfers shudder at the thought of sports on TV in the clubhouse, but these are in an ever-decreasing minority, while televised sport is a good way to persuade golfers to stay in the bar after a round. Outside, a well laid out patio area gave fantastic views of both the par-three ninth and the par-four 18th.
The menu was impressive and brunch was high quality. There was a lack of atmosphere in the clubhouse with not many people around, although corporate manager Derek Silk walked through the bar and stopped for a friendly chat.
Remedy Oak’s pro shop is of average size, and it is well stocked with Callaway hardware and apparel from Oscar Jacobson, Galvin Green, Glenbrae and Lyle and Scott. A broad selection of crested clothing was available, as well as baggage and accessories and a number of footwear options. Remedy is a Callaway Opti-fit centre, and so offers full custom fitting on all Callaway clubs, while Bushnell laser range finders and a selection of FootJoy gloves also caught my eye.
Remedy Oak’s driving range is an expanse guarded by a number of majestic Oak trees, and just a short walk across the car park. A conveniently positioned ball-dispensing machine provided the ammunition, and the range allowed for hitting clubs throughout the bag. A variety of target greens and distance markers were more than adequate and the tree-lined range set the scene for what was to come.
On the way back to the clubhouse I stopped off at the putting green, which was complete with undulations, to really help zone in on the pace of putts. There is also a practise bunker by a small green, with a number of tightly cut pin positions. Overall, the facilities were ideal for golfers looking to warm up and hone their game.
Sonny Curtis, who had manned the pro shop with a welcoming manner, appeared on the first tee with a complimentary gift pack of ball marker, pitch mark repairer, tees, scorecard and a course planner. Another nice touch!
That quiet atmosphere in the clubhouse came with benefits, as out on the golf course we were free to play at our own pace, without groups in front or behind.
The course itself was beautiful, and a bit reminiscent of another course I have recently visited, Woburn. Towering oak trees and pines shaped the holes, along with a variety of lakes and creeks to avoid. Plenty of width on most holes ensured that the test was fair for all levels of golfer, with the challenge off the purple back tees looking very formidable.
The course does not have a halfway house, although golfers pass the clubhouse after the sixth and ninth holes, and complimentary squash under a gazebo was another touch of simple yet much appreciated hospitality.
The condition of the course was first class and a credit to course manager Robert Hogarth. The only disappointment was that the greens – which have a reputation for genuine pace – had recently received maintenance work, and the sandy surfaces were playing far from fast or true on this particular day. Putting was a lottery.
Remedy Oak provided a lovely day of summer golf; the club was very welcoming, the staff was a credit to the venue, the service and attention to detail was impeccable, and the course provided an excellent and stunning test of golf. The only disappointment was the temporary condition of those greens, which makes me think that a follow-up visit could be needed very soon!