Eight miles north of Bournemouth, Ferndown is something special and, for me, the pick of any of the Dorset courses. It all depends what you’re after but if you enjoy a traditional course that looks like it’s sat there for over a hundred years, and has, then you’ll love it here. It was designed by two-time Open champion Harold Hilton and the club is synonymous with the Alliss family – Percy was the pro here for over 25 years so this is where Peter grew up playing. And explains why the nine-hole course is named after the legendary commentator.
But it is the Old Course which is the star attraction. In June, the greens were out of this world. The surfaces really stood out and the look of them was amplified by the dazzling white sand that framed both the greens and fairways.
Visually Ferndown never gets dull. From the 1st tee to the final green there is something different to look at and with a handful of gentle doglegs there is enough strategy to keep you thinking.
People will point to the length being a shade under 6,500 yards – for some reason people seem to equate this with four hours of hitting wedge to every holes. You won’t, there is plenty of hitting to be done and three very juicy par 5s to make a mess of.
Three of the four par 3s are pretty stunning, but for whatever reason the 14th sticks in the memory. If you can locate the par-5 7th fairway, hitting a fairway wood into the green is good fun and my favourites would be any hole near the clubhouse. If I had to choose any hole it would probably be the 17th.
When you’re on the 4th tee have a look at the 16th green and try and drink in the three-tiered green, pin position and almost unimaginable way to locate it with your driver from 300 yards away.
And three hours later try and find yourself with a good angle to find the right tier with your approach – do NOT hit driver – otherwise you are in for a world of pain with the putter.
I like the whole feel of Ferndown, it’s a nice and gentle place to be and it’s very easy to see why old Peter loves the place so much.