Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire RG9 5SL
Office+44 (0)1491 641 207
Pro shop+44 (0)1491 641 241
Fax+44 (0)1491 642 060
Golf proIan Roberts (Club Professional)
18 holes. Tree-lined parkland/heathland. Relatively flat terrain - no effort to wlk.
Woodland & open countryside.
Willie Park Jr.
7 mi NW of Henley-on-Thames / 11 mi N of Reading.
Huntercombe Golf Club: this relatively short but captivating tree-lined heathland layout, is much revered in English golfing circles. Huntercombe is not only known for its excellent conditioning and absorbing easy-walking layout; it's also a defining "older-style" course of historical importance, especially amongst course design aficianados. It remains much as originally laid out by its first owner, the great Willie Park Jr.
Starting life as an open heathland layout, two characteristics of this now tree-lined course stand out ( ... and that's not including the many stunning oaks and other mature trees that line the course). The large and subtly sloping greens occasionally throw a wobbly, with a substantial shelf or two incorporated into some of the putting contours. No better examples than at the par-4 4th where a quarter of the green sits significantly below the other three quadrants, and at the par-3 15th, where you play to a wonderfully "sunken" green.
Despite the relatively flat terrain, Huntercombe is laced with all manner of grassy mounds and depressions. Willie Park's innovative creations here, much copied around the world, have been variously described as: depressions, hollows, pots, trenches, pits and "graves" ... some with "crowns", some without ... and rising above the ground are assorted mounds, moguls, hummocks, ridges and delicate "chocolate drops".
In addition to the 100 or so grassy "hollows", there's also 13 bunkers (there were originally 25), one water hazard, and plenty of flashes of gorse and heather. The layout is relatively flat, apart from the gently sloping par-4 2nd and correspondingly gentle uphill par-4 3rd, and offers an easy-walking round for players of all ages. Huntercombe's easy-draining chalky sub-soil provides an excellent base for the immaculate fairways.
Pick of the holes: there's a lot to choose from, but two of our favourites include the much-mounded par-3 7th, with "chocolate-drops" to the right of the green, and the "basin green" par-3 15th, with plenty of "earthworks" also fronting the putting surface. The pick of the views is an easier task ... from the short par-3 1st green there's a wonderful view out across the Thames floodplain and the Wittenham Clumps!
Visitors welcome on weekdays and weekends. Huntercombe is predominantly a two-ball club, with some three-ball play permitted for visiting societies on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Must book in advance.
Credit cards accepted. Contact club for full details, discounts, packages, etc. [Last updated: 2021].
Players generally walk this course.
Huntercombe is located alongside the small village of Nuffield (and former hamlet of Huntercombe), in the heart of the Chiltern Hills in South Oxfordshire. Until 1963, the par-4 14th hole was played as the first hole. The original clubhouse (now six luxury homes known as "The Old Clubhouse") is located on the other side of the A4130, as part of the old Huntercombe Hall estate (now a nursing home).
Huntercombe's logo (adopted relatively recently) features the wonderful red kite, an endangered species in the UK until its successful reintroduction in the 1990s. These handsome birds of prey can frequently be seen circling above the trees around the course.
Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, was a member of Huntercombe for 32 years until his death in 1964. At the start of their famous golf match, James Bond tells arch-villian Goldfinger that he "plays off 9 at Huntercombe" – a handicap the debonair spy shared with his creator!
Stretching for 45 miles in an area to the northwest of London, the escarpment of the "Chilterns Hills" is part of a system of chalk downlands found throughout eastern and southern England. Huntercombe's chalky sub-soil gives the course its easy-draining quality, and provides a base for the heathland flora around the course. Most of the Chiltern Hills are designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
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