The brand new man at the helm at The Herefordshire Golf Club is on a mission this year to restore the club’s position as a genuine must visit Midlands golfing venue. Stuart Rank’s appointment last November was something of a coup for the club, persuaded to upsticks and move west from his previous position as Head of Instruction at Stoke Park where he could name drop Sir Matthew Pinsent as one of his star pupils.
A Yorkshireman by birth, Stuart (above right) and his young family have now settled in Worcester and he his currently getting to grips with his new role, only the third professional to hold the position in the last 50 years.
The club is based at Raven’s Causeway in Wormsley, six miles away from the county town, a beautiful countryside retreat which boasts outstanding views of the neighbouring countryside. The golf course was designed by James Braid, tranquil surroundings to take on the gently undulating terrain, an exciting parkland creation where no two holes remotely resemble each other.
Stuart is excited too for the future, his plans include a new look pro shop, the creation of a junior academy and a Festival of Golf Open Week, which has been set for September. But first and foremost the focus is on a little extra golfing traffic. “ It’s such a wonderful location here, and not enough golfers know enough about The Herefordshire” explained Stuart. “ It’s my job to build that awareness and realise all of the potential that we have here, make it a real destination location, once golfers are here, we’re going to make it a very easy decision for them to want to return.”
The delightfully named Raven’s Causeway is where you can find The Herefordshire. Designed by the legendary James Braid and set in unspoilt countryside of great beauty, the clubhouse stands in an elevated position with the golf course unfolding below, winding through the woods and hollows and over the rises onto the higher levels in the distance.
You’ll soon notice a distinct lack of bunkering, a mere ten in total, in truth they are not really needed as the greens especially are more than adequately protected by the natural humps and hollows and dangerous run off areas. The setting leads inevitably to many a hanging lie and a few blind shots, so your creativity will be well tested, but among the undulating challenges also exist a number of short two shotters that should offer some good birdie chances.
14 and 15 are where The Herefordshire reaches its peak, the 14th is a spectacular roller coaster ride of a par five with it’s wonderful curving fairway that leads to a downhill approach that needs plenty of that creativity again to somehow keep it close to the pin on a sloping away from you putting surface. The 15th (above) is the official signature, everything is in sight for this long par three with the pond on the left and a hillside backdrop.
Be prepared to share your surroundings with the local wildlife population too, another pleasant side effect of golf in the Herefordshire countryside.