The challenge of any new course is how quickly it can bed in so that it looks, feels and plays like it has been around for a long time. Bearwood Lakes in Berkshire, which opened in 1996, passes that test with flying colours.
Designed by Martin Hawtree, the course makes its way through mature woodland and swathes of golden rough that contrast beautifully with the cross cut fairways. The result is 18 holes that live long in the memory.
Many of the holes are reminiscent of Sunningdale, no more so than the magnificent 520-yard par 5 11th, where the hole plays uphill through tall, proud, Scots’s pines to a majestic rolling green.
The green-keeping team keep things in immaculate condition, handcutting all the greens and tees and making sure the members of this private club never play in anything other than perfect surroundings. A true slice of golfing heaven.
Best Hole: The 11th hole is a testing par-5 that requires unerring accuracy – not for the feint-hearted.