Despite being only 40 miles from central London, Ashridge is a serene escape situated in an area of outstanding beauty on the edge of the Chiltern Hills. On a wet June morning Volkswagen Masters competitors were greeted by grazing deer and beautiful countryside.
With the Home Counties Regional Final being held a day after the Ashbrigde Club Championship, the course was in immaculate condition and provided a tricky test. There were a number of heavy showers throughout the day but competitors carded some impressive scores, none more so that five-handicapper Dave Roberts (pictured right). The Group A competitor guaranteed his place in the UK Final with an impressive round of nett 66. This was comfortably the best score of the day and Roberts will surely begin the UK Final in September as one of the favorites. ?I didn?t drive the ball well but had a very good day on and around the greens which really helped. Usually my driving is my strength so I was delighted with my score,? said Roberts.
Group B was also won with an impressive nett score in the 60?s. Hadley Wood member Michael Cunnane (pictured left) shot a nett 69 playing off a handicap of 18. He thought he was out of the competition midway through the round but fought back well. ?I started off steadily but then I had an 8 on a par 4 and thought I?d blown my chances but managed to claw back the dropped shots,? he said.
Group C provided the 2007 Volkswagen Masters with its first female winner. A nett 75 to the ladies par of 74 gave victory to Pat Smithie (pictured centre) from Woburn. Thanks to a friendly connection between Woburn and Ashridge, Pat had played the course a number of times. ?I was a bit nervous today because I have never competed in an event like this but I played a nice steady round,? she said.
The three winners will meet again at Celtic Manor where they will battle it out with other Regional Final winners in their group for a place in the World Final in South Africa. The UK Final will be played on the new Ryder Cup Course which has been created at Celtic Manor specifically for the 2012 Ryder Cup.
DATE: June 18
T: 01442 842307
STATS: Par 72; SSS 71, 6,625 yards
Ranked No. 76 in the Golf Monthly Top 120 Course Rankings
Sir Henry Cotton?s club of residence as a professional in the late 1930?s, this heavily wooded parkland course lies within acres of the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate. The area justifiably has been designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The course is nicely contoured with only a couple of medium uphill walks and is a real joy to play ? an exceptionally natural and peaceful place. The impressive new two-storey wooden clubhouse, built in 2003, offers great facilities and an impressive panorama over the course from the 19th hole.