Golfers in the home counties are usually the first to acknowledge that they are spoilt for choice, not only in terms of the quality, but also the quantity of courses on their doorstep, so it’s not unusual for some excellent courses to have slipped through the net and remained hitherto undiscovered gems.

Donnigton Valley Golf Club near Newbury is just such a course. Set among some absolutely breathtaking Berkshire countryside, and less than an hour’s drive from London, it is home to a challenging layout that many visitors instantly fall in love with once they have played it.

The course is part of the Sir Peter Michael collection, which includes the vineyard at Stockcross with its fine cuisine, health spa, art collection and the Peter Michael winery in California.

The course was rebuilt, redesigned between 1998 and 2000 and now weighs in at a challenging 6353 yards, par 71 from the back tees. Although some of the holes are quite forgiving, the closing four holes are regarded as one of the toughest finishes in the country, with water featuring prominently on 15, 16 and 17.

Best Hole: 6th 428 yards par 4. Long dog-leg where you’ll have to flirt with out of bounds. Approach shot, played to an elevated green, needs to find the right tier.

Address: Snelsmore House, Snelsmore Common, Newbury, Berkshire

Tel: 01635 551199

Green fees: £24 weekdays, £32 weekends

Restrictions: Members before 9.30am at weekends