AWAY DAYS AND GOLF BREAKS – THE MANOR HOUSE
The Cotswolds is one of the most naturally beautiful and scenic regions of England. An area blessed with a number of fine golf courses that take advantage of that very fact.
Yet the venue that is ranked as the finest in the region is a relatively new one, it was the early 1990s that Peter Alliss and Clive Clark came to Castle Combe in Wiltshire to create the Manor House golf course.
They took advantage of the dramatic natural undulations of the land, created an arena feel around the towering framework of oaks and beeches and expertly brought the meandering River Bybrook into play on a number of holes.
Their website describes this multi-award-winning course as 18 individual golfing moments, it isn’t far wrong.
Packed with variety, the memorable holes come along thick and fast. The delicious short second, ‘Dipper Bridge’ introduces the river for the first time, into the valley with little room for error.
The course then opens out a little to a lakeside stretch of long holes also featuring huge resort-style bunkering, and then you reach the tantalizing eighth with an amazing view from the tee.
Just 276 yards in length and downhill, you have to go for it, deliberate laying up is not permitted here.
The 12th hole is a simply spectacular par five. Not long yet you’ll run out of fairway if you pull out a driver. Rein it in a little from the tee, then it’s all about the second shot, a risk everything long iron or fairway wood, or a mid-iron to the bottom of the bank and a wedge for your third, the hazards around the green will truly test your nerves on that decision.
Things return to something near normality after that test with a run of attractive par fours until that is you arrive at the 17th (above right.)
So steep is the descent to the green on this stunning looking par three with its babbling brook running through it, they actually have two greens so one can be rested.
It’s quite a challenge to pick the right club to land on either one of them.
The 18th is a beauty too, a final steely putting test remains for you here, you will have come across many similar examples on this course by now.
The clubhouse is modern, stylish with a selection of lounges, and a large outdoor terrace overlooking the 18th green. Golfers can also enjoy the USGA spec range, short game areas and no less than 46 buggies with GPS, all available to hire.
Play and Stay
At the golf club, the Waterfall Lodge caters for small golfing parties/societies with four twin rooms and a range of packages.
Just down the road though in the beautiful 17th-century village of Castle Combe is the Manor House Hotel itself.
Hard not to have your breath taken away, a 14th century looks complete with 21st-century facilities including the Michelin starred Bybrook Restaurant.
Twice we’ve visited here, and both times they’ve put us up in the incredibly quaint looking cottages down the leafy lane at the side of the hotel.
Beautifully furnished inside with once again a mixture of the old and the new, plus it’s just a short stroll into the village from here and some refreshments in the Castle Inn, also owned by the hotel.