Played by NCG: Forest of Arden (Arden)October 11, 2017 Courses and Travel
A fantastic parkland course in Warwickshire lined with vast oak trees and water hazards to match. writes Tom Lenton
Where is it Forest of Arden?
Just a short hop off the M6 between Coventry and Birmingham.
Reason for going
I was popping home for a weekend visit to Daventry and fancied meeting up with some old school friends. I had wanted to visit Forest of Arden for a long time and saw this as a great opportunity to finally tee it up after hearing great things.
What to expect
The course is in fantastic condition all year round with pristine tee boxes, immaculate fairways and firm, fast greens.
The front nine opens with a couple of short par 4s but it doesn’t take long for the round to thrust into gear. With huge run offs around the greens it can be tricky to navigate and if you’ve started the day brightly then the little run between the 6th and 9th may all but end your hopes of having a good visit.
The par-3 8th, in particular, is surrounded by water before a tight shot from the 9th tee box awaits leading to a tough uphill approach – be happy with a stress free bogey. I know I was.
What leaves you yearning for more and walking away with some fantastic memories is the back nine, huge oak trees frame the fairways hole after hole and it is great testament to the course design.
If you’re lucky you may experience some of the local deer around the course which adds something special to the visit as they potter around the grounds unfazed by the passing golfers.
My best bit
Each of the par 4s and 5s on the back nine of Arden ask big questions of your driver. But, in particular, the 16th was one that remains fond in the memory.
The it is a dogleg right from the tee box and requires nothing but solid contact out of the middle to set up a challenging short iron approach to a sloping green – did I mention it’s also over water?
What to look out for
The greens – though it is more a word of warning…
Many of them have undulating slopes and boy are they quick. What you would normally perceive as simple two putts leave you walking away with a small victory if you can avoid an eye watering number.
It is difficult to narrow it down to just one but I finally settled on the par-5 17th.
As I mentioned before with many of the holes a solid drive is a must and depending on your game a long iron or hybrid will be left into the green. A word of warning, though, with water short to the right hand side if you’re planning on laying up beware.
Finally, a big sloping green awaits and if you’re there in two don’t be fooled into thinking that it is an automatic two putt for birdie.
It really is a great penultimate hole.
When I go back
As far as parkland golf courses go this is one of my favourites for sure. I’ll be back there in a couple of weeks to watch the European Senior Masters, but when I head back to play I will round up some friends and make a whole weekend of it so I can test out the other course and check out what the hotel has to offer.