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this club is famous

This club is famous for… Doctor Dolittle, Shakespeare and a 14th century hotel

How does Manor House, in Wiltshire, link England's most famous writer with a man who could talk to the animals...
 

There’s a lot to like about Manor House Hotel & Golf Club in Wiltshire.

For a start, it’s based in Castle Combe – a village that must surely be one of Britain’s prettiest.

Taking its name from a 12th century castle, it’s remained largely unaltered since the 1600s.

If you are trying to place where you might have seen it before, Castle Combe was a location for the musical Doctor Dolittle. It’s even appeared in The Simpsons.

Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and Downton Abbey have also showed off the village at its finest.

The golf course is no less attractive, playing host to a series of glorious holes as its winds its way through hundreds of acres of Cotswold countryside and the ancient woodland.

this club is famous

Peter Alliss and Clive Clark designed it and it’s celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

If you can find a more exhilarating hole than the par 3 17th – ‘Burton Brook’ – which sees you try to negotiate a green guarded by a series of bunkers and the River Bybrook, while also negotiating a 130ft drop between tee and green, feel free to mention it in the comments below.

The closer is an absolute stunner as well, the par 4’s green is encircled by bunkers that snap shut on your ball like a Venus flytrap.

But it’s the hotel that’s really historic. Part of the Barony of Combe, it was built to replace a Norman castle that had become a ruin.

The most famous of its Lords was Sir John Oldcastle, who was a controversial English rebel in the 14th and 15th century.

this club is famous

That name may not mean a lot to you, but it’s strongly believed he provided the inspiration for Falstaff – the old, drunk and corrupt comedic foil in Shakespeare’s Henry IV.

The hotel, which has more than a touch of the haunted house about it, remained in the Barony for some 800 years before it was sold in 1947 and converted.

Click here for the full ‘This Club Is Famous For’ archive

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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