Church Stret­ton GC, Shrop­shire

Golf World (UK) - - BEST PLACES TO PLAY - church­stret­ton­golf­

Placed atop the rolling Shrop­shire Hills, few cour­ses in Blighty are blessed with the views of Church Stret­ton GC. Look­ing down upon the his­toric mar­ket town of the same name, it might be classed as quirky in some quar­ters. Short by any stan­dards, it weighs in at a par 66 just a few paces over 5,000 yards. Curb your en­thu­si­asm and fully en­gage your brain, in other words.

In ex­is­tence for more than a cen­tury, shaped by the com­bined cre­ativ­ity of James Braid and Harry Var­don, Church Stret­ton is unashamedly old fash­ioned, even rudi­men­tary in places, but in the very best sense. It be­gins with a par 3, then a sec­ond, fol­lowed by a third. Each climb steadily and in places steeply up­hill, you’re re­warded with the views that de­fine your round. Is it golf, a very pleas­ant walk or some­thing be­tween the two?

As the longer holes ar­rive, your jour­ney takes you through heather-lined fair­ways that snake through hills and val­leys to de­cep­tively un­du­lat­ing greens that ask ques­tions un­til the end. Short, but in places sav­age, ac­cu­racy is every­thing here. That the par 4, known lo­cally as ‘the long hole’, weighs in at just 433 yards, you know Church Stret­ton’s test isn’t based on blud­geon­ing and brawn.

Bring your touch, your artistry and a cam­era, for on these hills, you’ll need all three.

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