Painswick is what the word ‘quirky’ was made for.
The Cotswold course isn’t like anything you’ve ever played. It’s an entertaining, weird and wonderful jaunt around hills, banks, quarries and even an ancient fort.
It’s not much more than 4,800 yards from the medal tees. It has seven par 3s and only a couple of par 4s that stretch to 300 yards – never mind 400.
You can find birdies in abundance but not be deceived by the length. There is devil in this detail too.
Tiny greens and some very unconventional lies mean you’re only a mediocre shot away from a shocking score.
But if you want to have fun, you won’t go far wrong at Painswick.
Golf may not have been the only sport to have been played on this rather unique patch of land through the years.
The course is actually built on the remnants of an Iron Age fort – Painswick Beacon – the origins of which are thought to date back as much as 3,000 years.
Also known as Kimsbury Hill fort, you can see the remains of the huge areas of earth and stone that form vital parts of the fifth, sixth, seventh, 10th and 11th holes.
The fifth is the most spectacular. Known as Castle – and it’s fairly obvious why when you see the hole in all its glory – it’s only 114 yards long but you must clear the 70ft high fort rampart. With the green just 12 yards beyond the crest, it’s imperative not to be short.
Those who don’t make it have a near impossible up and down.
The historic defences look formidable to golfers today, but Painswick’s website states they were once much more forbidding.
That was before they were quarried in the Middle Ages to collect the stone that built Gloucester Cathedral and a number of other churches in the city.
While the fort itself has been dated to the first century BC, all sorts have been found in the quarried remains – with pottery, coins and archaeology from the Iron Age to the latter part of the Roman era among the items pulled out of the earth.
So next time you hear someone telling you they’ve walked in the footsteps of history – because Arnold Palmer once teed off their 30 years ago – point them instead to Painswick.
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