Play the traditional heathland courses at Northamptonshire County and Luffenham.
The first GSGB meeting of 2024 takes us back to two old favourites which both regularly feature in the English Top 100 courses rankings.
The original 18 holes at Northamptonshire County were designed by the distinguished golf course architect Harry Colt who also designed Wentworth and Sunningdale. The course has stood the test of time very well as relatively few major alterations have been made to it since; the most notable of which were carried out by James Braid in 1947.
The course is a traditional heathland golf course played through undulating woodland, gorse, heather and fine pine trees. For many years now the course has been used as a regional open qualifying venue and has staged the British Girls Open Tournament and recently the PGA Seniors Club Professional Championship.
There is no doubt that the course will test the very best players when set up for open qualifying but when played from the regular tees this is a delightful and enjoyable round for all standards of golfer.
Day 2 of the May Meeting takes us to Luffenham Heath where the course was originally designed by legendary golf architects Harry Colt & C.H. Alison. James Braid revised the layout between the wars with C.K. Cotton making further changes just after the Second World War and Martin Hawtree completing a renovation in 2004.
Luffenham Heath is laid out principally in an out-and-back fashion, but the holes are routed to all points of the compass. When the wind blows – as it often does on this undulating and elevated common – it hits you from all directions.
Measuring 6,563 yards from the back tees against a par of 70, Luffenham is not long, but it’s an intriguing test and there are some excellent holes. Favourites would include the 7th, a par four of medium length with an elevated green which is fiercely guarded by five bunkers; the 8th which is the easiest on the card (SI 18) and a fun, drivable par four and the downhill 17th, a dramatic one-shotter, which measures 201 yards from the tees and usually plays directly into the prevailing wind.
Luffenham Heath is a course to enjoy rather than to slog round. You will find the golf infinitely pleasant and, at times, rather exhilarating.