Rugby GC is a club on the rise; enjoying a seriously good 126th year in existence with member numbers on a welcome upward trend and a new partnership with Leam Valley Golf Centre going well and creating a pathway for juniors and starter golfers to come here as well.
For visitors and societies they’ve upped their game too and are improving the golf course all the time, the progress accelerating this year since the appointment of a new Head Greenkeeper, Jonny Peacock. The plaudits are flowing in, Rugby has always enjoyed a lovely setting for a golf course, now it guarantees the playability to go along with it.
Rugby celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2016, the parkland layout fits neatly in between two transport links of differing pace. The main West Coast main line marks the border on the town side, the more sedate Oxford Canal flows along the opposite edge.
It doesn’t really come into play but one water feature that does is the Clifton Brook, meandering along through the heart of the course and giving you food for thought on no less than nine holes. The main feature however is unmistakeable; the now disused railway viaduct (circa 1885) casts a dominant shadow over proceedings.
James Braid played a part in Rugby’s design history, invited over to help reconstruct the golf course following the Second World War years when three of the original holes on the far side of the canal were required for agricultural reasons.
Things have remained that way ever since so as a result Rugby sits at a comparatively modest 5,614 yards with a par of 68.
It’s far from an easy ride though; the naturally undulating land combined with small sized and well defended greens makes it a very fair test.
No less than seven par threes, but all are more than adequately protected, and the monster 223 yard ninth, taking you back uphill to the clubhouse plays anything but short. Some interesting short fours too where strategy is key, the downhill third is difficult to resist a dash at, and you might fancy a dart at the eighth too even though success is less likely there.
The best driving hole has to be the downhill 10th (left) with the brook tantalisingly in driver range; this one is perfectly set up for society groups intent on some banter.
One of many interesting, decision making and exciting holes at Rugby, a true strategic challenge. The putting surfaces present a fine test, consistent in roll but varied throughout in terms of size and contouring.
19th hole – The friendly atmosphere around the club extends into the clubhouse, accommodating up to 80 for sit down occasions, freshly cooked food with a choice of menus. Societies are warmly welcomed with bespoke packages to suit.