Reason for a Parkstone Golf Club review
We’ve just started work on a rankings feature: England’s Top 100 Courses 2018. I’m chairman of the panel and so my goal this year is to visit as many of the 165 courses that we have shortlisted as possible. Especially those I have never been to before or, as in the case of Parkstone, have only visited once previously.
Where is Parkstone?
Parkstone is in Poole, Dorset. You can see the millionaire’s playground of Sandbanks at certain points and the seaside town of Bournemouth is just a couple of miles away.
What to expect
A little bit of everything. Parkstone is nothing if not entertaining. Most of the holes are heathland in character but there are some parkland outbreaks and even a sniff of linksland on the par-5 3rd.
It’s an undulating course with some great vantage points – for example if you look right when walking down the 10th fairway. Very few holes are flat.
There are five par 5s and the same number of par 3s. In addition, there are a couple of sporty short 4s. In summary, you are constantly entertained and constantly asked to confront new challenges.
There are lots to choose from, including a couple of striking par 3s, but I’m going to go for the last par 5, the 17th. It’s a left-to-right dogleg, with a blind tee shot, with the last 200 yards or so significantly uphill. That might not sound promising to you, but bear with me. The drive is actually pretty juicy because you can make the hole much shorter with a hard fade. That will bring the green into range for a heroic second short but the more cautious method, leaving an uphill pitch, is just as likely to result in a putt for a birdie four. Make sure you have a look down across the course and towards the English Channel from the back of the green.
My best bit
Parkstone, for me, is a course that’s above all fun to play. I think the short par-4 4th is a great example. It’s only 260 yards or so, but uphill, and to a well-protected green. The bunkers short of the green are especially well-placed – take on the tee shot and find one of these and you’ll be left with a very tough second shot. It’s the kind of hole that gives us all a chance to make a birdie but it’s not without danger.
What to look for
Some of the property lining the course remind you of being at Wentworth or St George’s Hill. The real estate in this part of the world is off the charts.
When I go back
I will take greater advantage of the five par 5s. Unless you are playing off the very back tees, none are longer than 500 yards so you would think there are some birdies to be had. But they can all bit back in one way or another so you need to be smart as well as strong.
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Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?