UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE

Despite popular misconceptions, there?s much more to Oxford than hordes of American tourists, ?dreaming spires? and Inspector Morse. Home to some of the best pubs, restaurants and hotels in the country, Oxford can also boast a number of excellent courses in and around the city making it perfect for a day or weekend away.

The courses offer something to suit all golfers, both in terms of style and budget, but for its all-round qualities and proximity to the city centre (a mere two miles away) our ?must play course? is Southfield Golf Club.

The course is a classic parkland layout with mature trees lining the lush fairways. It kicks off with a couple of straightforward par 4s but at the 3rd things start getting interesting. After a drive downhill which should favour the right hand side of the fairway and stay short of a stream, you play up to a sharply sloping green. Whatever you score here you can console yourself with a fabulous view of the city?s spires by turning round and looking back down the fairway.

Consistently good to the turn, the course really shines on the back nine. It?s hard to single out one hole for special praise on the way in but a trio of great holes come at 11, 12 and 13. The 11th presents you with an enticing downhill drive and short iron to a green fronted by a stream and surrounded by tall trees. The 12th is a terrifying, long par 3 with a hedgerow to one side and a scrub-filled ravine to the other. At the next the ravine widens out to a pit full of trees over which you drive to a cambered fairway that runs at nearly 90º to the tee meaning an approach shot up to the green is nearly always played with the ball

well below your feet. It?s definitely a hole to test all facets of your game!

The most enticing thing about Southfield is that it gives visiting golfers a real sporting chance of playing to or even bettering their handicap. Quite frankly you can?t ask for a lot more than that from a day?s golfing.

Southfield Golf Club

Hill Top Road, Oxford

tel: 01865 244258

web: www.southfieldgolf. co.uk

email: sgcltd@btopenworld.com

cost: £25 per round/£35 day

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