Very close to the Welsh border, Kington is the highest 18-hole course in England. The key number is 1,284 – that’s how many feet Kington is above sea level. The homely clubhouse is like a cafe you might find halfway up the Swiss alps on a skiing trip. Recently refurbished, the clubhouse offers a range of food and drink and great views of the 18th green and surrounding countryside. A great way to relax after your round.
It turns out the biggest challenge is keeping the course irrigated in summer. They don’t get much rain and what they do get pours down off the course in next to no time. The land here is pretty much a thin layer of turf and then rock, so year round playability from the fast draining soil is a big selling point, with no temporary tees or greens.
There are no sand bunkers at Kington – but plenty of grass ones, like on the short 12th. They are brilliant hazards, forever creating tricky recoveries and awkward stances and asking you to use any number of clubs in your bag, from straight-faced irons to your lob wedge. Do you thump it into the bank or slide under it? The choice is yours, and there is not necessarily one correct answer.
It’s under 6,000 yards from the back tees at Kington but with a par of 70 you shouldn’t expect a collection of birdie chances. Needless to say, the uphill holes at this moorland course play longer than their yardage, while elsewhere the greens are well-defended, sneakily slopey, and outstandingly quick. They are the best we’ve putted on to date – hands-down.
And then there are the views. They are on all sides, including a magical panorama towards Wales and the Brecon Beacons from the ninth tee at the furthest expanse of the course.
The Professional Keith Preece and his team provide a warm welcome, and will offer advice on how best to tackle the challenge ahead. Attracting new golfers and Juniors to take up the game is a key part of Keith’s role, with free lessons available during Spring to Autumn for beginners to try golf and see if it’s for them.
Huge credit must also go to the greenkeepers for the quality of the turf and greens. The greens are small and well protected by the grass bunkers so the they can set some challenging pin positions. The club offer really low cost Membership and Green Fee options, plus a range of packages for Societies. If you fancy testing your game, try some of the numerous Open Competitions which run year round.