Played by NCG: Cleeve Hill
Reason for a Cleeve Hill Golf Club review
I needed to do a Cleeve Hill Golf Club review because this is a course that my golfing contacts couldn’t seem to agree on. In fact, they offered wildly differing opinions. My fellow panellist Sean Arble, and a man of great golfing wisdom, told me it was more than worth a visit. And what do you know, he was absolutely right.
Where is Cleeve Hill Golf Club?
Cleeve Hill Golf Club is in Gloucestershire. It is located to the north and above – and that is the operative word – the Cotswolds town of Cheltenham. In fact, you get great view of the famous racecourse on the back nine.
What to expect
I knew Cleeve Hill Golf Club was high up but it is really high up. In some places it’s bleak. In other places it’s stunning. Sometimes it’s stunningly bleak. The Cotswold Way cuts across the course so you see plenty of walkers up here.
The landscape is almost lunar. Everything is on a grand scale. At first glance, the golf course is entirely lacking in definition. If you don’t ‘get’ Cleeve Hill, and not all golfers do by any means, then you will take one look at this pale, inhospitable, windswept landscape and retreat to your perfectly presented, sheltered parkland. And good luck to you. But the rest of us will be enjoying ourselves up at Cleeve as it gradually reveals its charms.
I don’t know if it was my favourite, but the moment when I realised that a Cleeve Hill Golf Club review was fully justified was on reaching the 2nd green. This picture is taken from behind it. It’s a short par 4 with a blind drive and you can have no idea what’s over the brow – a tiny green cut into the hillside. From the wrong angle, it’s nearly impossible to chip it close.
My best bit
I just loved being up on the top section of the course, with golf all around. The way the course reveals itself is a delight – especially when you come to realise that there is a clever hole around every corner. With a total absence of trees, this is a course where those who can control their flight are at a real advantage, able to chase their shots on to the greens and stay out of the frequently gusting winds.
Cleeve Hill Golf Club review: what to look for
You need a bit of golfing soul to get the most out of Cleeve Hill – I’ll be honest enough to say that when I was standing on the shaggy 1st tee staring at a marker post and beyond it oblivion I did wonder what I was doing here. Once you get going, though, you’ll love the cute green sites and minimalist bunkering. There is always enough to stimulate interest and it’s a great test of your short game.
My advice is to embrace the challenge, get your driver out and go and have some fun.
When I go back to Cleeve Hill Golf Club
I will think carefully about where I’m hitting it (or trying to) off the tee because angles are really important here. You need to be playing your approaches up the greens because otherwise the bounces will always be taking you away from the hole.