In a secluded and peaceful spot in the Warwickshire countryside with a unique centrepiece that no other course in the Midlands can match, stands Maxstoke Park Golf Club, celebrating 125 years of existence this year.
One of the most eye-catching parkland examinations and a true members club, but one that’s more than keen to welcome visitors and societies as well to enjoy their undoubted charms.
Maxstoke Castle is the main attraction, this moated medieval landmark has history dating back to 1345 and sits at the conclusion of the signature 17th hole, more on that later.
The course has been sat on the Castle grounds since 1947 following the move from Castle Bromwich.
The golf course itself has been sat on the castle grounds since 1898, once a deer park and if you’re lucky you’ll still spot some evidence of that this very day, as well as a wealth of other wildlife species too. The lakes and their tributaries that flow through the heart of the layout attract many water birds too.
Back to the beginning and there’s a comparatively gentle opening in store with two mid-length par fours and a trickier first short hole at the second to usher you in. This one has a narrow entrance green protected by bunkers on each side with the left one the less penal looking miss. A great introduction to the putting surfaces here too, silky smooth and subtlety delicate in their gently undulating ways.
The fourth hole is a beauty as you head into the real heart of the course via this gently twisting dog leg hole, one that is flanked by woodland all the way down the left-hand side and surrounding the green too. Once again, you’re treated to a lengthy and challenging green surface, the message will have hit home by now that your short stick skills are going to need to be on point.
First look at the water comes on the par four 6th, it’s a demanding approach in store, albeit it with a likely short iron in hand to traverse the lake successfully and find the banked-up green in regulation.
Two short par fives to follow, potential birdie chances for the accurate golfers, then concluding the front 9 you’re crossing the lake again. This time it’s on a near 200 yard par three hole, the carry doesn’t demand all of that, but finding the green in one is a tough ask. A club selection poser like no other here.
The back nine is mainly tree-lined with the majority of the water hazards behind you, a fabulous collection of ancient oaks and towering pines await, although never too dense, there’s usually a route out that won’t prove to be over penal. Just a very attractive bunch of golf holes where the conditioning continues to be of a very high standard, the emphasis again on the greens and their neatly cut surrounds.
The 18th can be a bit of a killer, playing slightly uphill and therefore all and more of its 409 yards. Two final ponds here, one cut into the woodland on the left, plus a newer one lurking at the rear of the green. To finish with a pair of pars here will ensure your 19th hole fare will taste very nice indeed.
MG pick – 17th hole 405 yards Par 4
It could only be the Castle hole. The unmistakable backdrop is slightly hidden from view from the tee, aim right away from the woodland and you’ll get a great view of the way in. In homage to this special location the green is moated at the front so picking the right club is vital as there isn’t a whole lot of room at the back either. A memorable challenge.
The practice facilities are extensive with sizeable short and long game areas, you can’t miss them as you drive in. The single floor clubhouse is a spacious one with room for all sizes of gatherings and there’s a nice sun trap of a patio area too.