Location – To begin with it’s as easy to find as any golf club in the Midlands, you just can’t miss it. Set the sat nav to point north on the A5 and you’ll find Oswestry GC right by the side of it, around 15-20 minutes north of Shrewsbury.
The golf course was designed by the legendary James Braid on its present site and opened for play in 1931. Apart from a few minor alterations over the years very little has changed and the layout that two past Ryder Cup captains, Harry Weetman and Ian Woosnam played much of their early golf on remains as a mature and consistent parkland challenge.
I played with the club’s marketing director David who was quick to forewarn me as I took on the early holes very confidently to not get too cocky just yet, tougher times were ahead once you reach the turn.
A very true statement as it turned out because there is a spell later on to threaten a proudly put together scorecard, and mine took a little bit of a knock too. But I had a bit in hand as we played the front nine very well; the putter was hot on these smooth and consistent greens, many with two tiers to make you think a little more. Both of Oswestry’s par fives come along during the first five holes and both are eminently reachable in two for the longer hitters.
The seventh is a lovely hole, curving right to left up a slight bank and back to the clubhouse, the long hitters might find this a tempting one as well. Plan B was well thought out though, a nice easy hybrid opened up a good angle to attack the long and slender green with.
The back nine kicks in with probably the best tee shot view at the gorgeous looking 10th, trees left and right but definitely one to open the shoulders on. As in the case of many holes and especially on the ones to come, you are well tested on approach by a putting surface at the top of the bank.
The 10th green tees off the tricky stretch, an even tougher approach in store at the 11th as everything leans left from the tee and it’s all uphill again to one of the smaller greens on the course. A friendly kick off the big oak that guards the par three 12th helped to give my now creaking game a little boost, but I was soon out of bounds on the 14th and running up a big score there, this time a left to right leaning fairway sealed my fate.
A pretty challenging run of holes and you’ll need to plot your way around them well to protect a good score. But fortunately (and for once!) a happy ending was in store for me.
MG Pick 17th (Top image)– 169 yards Par 3 – Lovely looks again, but it can seem a little daunting, a good long hit needed to get over the bank and find the green. You can only see half of the flag stick from the tee so good club selection is vital; I somehow managed to get that just right and sink the birdie putt too!
With a closing par each on the fairly friendly valley bed 18th with its Mackenzie green sat by the clubhouse we strode in for a sandwich feeling pretty good about our games; it had been a successful round.
But regardless of playing form it was a great treat to be out here anyway just to have a round on this much admired course. There’s not a drop of water in sight anywhere which can sometimes make you feel there may be a lack of signature challenges, but Oswestry has plenty of them as it is. No weak holes exist at all and they are all lovely looking with first class conditioning as standard.
It’s a very fair course too and you do get a chance to score well which is very important, but good putting is essential to achieve that.
Oswestry winters superbly well too on full greens and tees, and they welcome societies five days a week plus some occasional Sunday slots are available as well.
19th hole – The large single floor clubhouse was modernised in 2009, the open planned lounge/restaurant overlooking the course is lovely and bright, and the walls are bedecked with club memorabilia and reminders of a glorious past. Various sizes of meeting rooms and private society dining areas can be arranged at very short notice.