Played by NCG: WindermereSeptember 7, 2018 Courses and Travel
In the heart of the Lake District is a bunkerless beauty – but as Dan Murphy explains in this Windermere Golf Club review, it's not just a pretty face
Reason for a Windermere Golf Club review
I was overdue a return to the Lakes for a Windermere Golf Club review. I knew Windermere was an improbably pretty place to play golf – how could it be otherwise? – but I hadn’t quite realised the subtlety of this George Lowe design that dates back to 1892.
What to expect
Well, it’s only 5,500 yards, the par is just 67 and there are no bunkers – but that doesn’t tell the full story. Thanks to the crumpled, uneven nature of the landscape there are often dramatic rises and falls from tee to green, while rocky outcrops and tiny, sloping greens provide more than adequate defences.
There are six par 3s and a solitary par 5 – the 16th, which marks the beginning of the most difficult run of holes, climbing back to the clubhouse.
There are so many contenders but I really fell for the short par-4 5th. It’s downhill all the way, a right to left dogleg and you get a great view of the entire hole from the elevated tee. You also have the Lake District and Cumbrian fells in all directions as a backdrop.
The sensible option is to play to the left of some rocks on the angle and pitch in. But it’s so tempting to take a shy at the green. Its on, but don’t miss to the right. And if you go too far left then there is every chance you will land on a rock.
(Yes, these rocks are a recurring feature of Windermere Golf Club.)
The sloping green has a false front so it can be awkward to pitch close. It’s a hole that asks playful questions from start to end.
My best bit
There are so many moments at Windermere where you reach for the camera but rarely do you play a hole like this where golf and livestock are separated by a traditional stone wall. It’s the 14th, another short par 4, blind from the tee, that doglegs sharply. You get very few straight holes at Windermere actually.
What to look for
OK, so it’s not the biggest body of water in these parts but the pond that guards the left of the 12th green can certainly catch you out, especially of your tee shot is well back. In what is a rugged landscape, Windermere is extremely tidily presented.
Elsewhere, the key is often to position your tee shots carefully to give yourself the best angle into the small greens.
When I go back to Windermere
I will probably be a little more circumspect from the tee. Length really isn’t the be-all and end-all here. Keeping your ball in play is much more valuable.
That said, it is such good fun attacking the course and it does give you the chance to make a few birdies.
The glory of Windermere is that it gives you options to play the holes as you see fit.