Minchinhampton Old Course
- Pure golf at its best, virtually unchanged from 1889.
- There are no man-made hazards such as bunkers.
- Common land golf at its very best, Minch Old is anything but.
Golf Course Review
The Minchinhampton Old Course is the third course in the Minchinhampton Golf Club portfolio. Minch Old is the least well-known and perhaps the most underrated, at least to the uninitiated. The course is found 3 miles from the town of Stroud on Minchinhampton Common near the villages of Amberley and Minchinhampton. The golf club also has two other 18 hole golf courses, the Avening Course and Cherington Course, at the main golf club and clubhouse 3 miles away.
What Makes Minchinhampton Old Course So Good?
Minchinhampton Old Course is the antithesis to the modern game. It breaks all the rules and is unique on every level. What makes it unique? For a start, the routing. The first hole runs away from the clubhouse almost due South. Turning North and running clockwise the holes then make a massive round until you tee off eighteen beside the first green and putt out beside the clubhouse and first tee.
Another USP? No less than six roads intersect the site along with a popular pub beside the clubhouse. Third? Two holes criss-cross themselves in Three and Four as well as Sixteen and Seventeen. Fourth? Back to back opening Par 5’s. Fifth? Out in 37 and back in 34. Sixth? Local rules for Hoofmarks, Fences, and Abnormal Course Conditions (AKA manure.) Seventh? No bunkers! Oh, and it comes in at a very modest 6060 yards. Perhaps the best bit? The raw, natural, pure nature of the course. You’ll find cattle, dogs, donkeys, horses, and walkers roaming the common/ course alongside you.
The Old Course Hole by Hole
The Minchinhampton Old Course falls into three distinct sections. First, holes 1 through 5. The collective identifier here is elevation changes and blind shots. The 1st is downhill, 2 through 4 are uphill and 5 runs away from you.
The next section could include holes 6 through 11. The common factor here? Use of natural features to add strategic intrigue. The 6th has a blind tee shot obscured by a line of trees. 7 has a massive depression short and left of the green that will catch out any feeble shots or attempts that are less than perfect. 8 is a great one-shot hole over no man’s land. 9 makes use of a small cluster of trees on the inside edge of the slight dogleg. The angle of the green means, the closer you are to the trees, the better the angle to attack. 10 plays into a natural punchbowl and 11 has a goalpost tee shot framed by trees on a natural knoll and a punchbowl green for the ages.
12 through 18 appear more or less right in front of you except for the approach to 13 and the tee shot on 15. But don’t be fooled! Despite playing nearly 400 yards shorter than the front, the back seems to play longer. The 11th and 13th are harder than the scorecard lets on. 15 and 17 play significantly shorter than the card would make out.
Minchinhampton Old Course Synopsis
How good is Minchinhampton Old? Despite all the quirk, the Minchinhampton Old Course just feels right. It cuts through the complexity and layers of the modern game and brings you back to the origins of the game. Indeed, not much has changed since 1889 despite some facelifts required due to its penal, Victorian past. It has hints of Aldeburgh, and I guess that’s why it appears on Golf Club Atlas’ 147 Custodians. The best bit? It’s pocket change to play. Next to Bruntsfield Short Course and the Ladies Putting Green, this is perhaps one of the best values in golf.
Few courses grab your attention and hold it throughout. Minchinhampton Old Course is one of them. It is also a course that you can remember every hole after playing. There are quirkiness and rule-breaking everywhere. It’s off the radar, it's a pittance to play, it’s worth the trek - you’ll be glad you did! Minchinhampton Old Golf Course is quite possibly the best value for money in the game today.
Minchinhampton Old Course Reviews
Read Golf Club Atlas’ review of Minchinhampton Old Course.
Take Sean Arble's tour of Minchinhampton Old Course.
Minchinhampton Old Course - Videos
Featured Architect: Alister MacKenzie
As taken from his book, Golf Architecture, Alister MacKenzie felt the following were essential: The course, where possible, should be arranged in two loops of nine holes. There should be a large proportion of good two-shot holes and at least four one-shot holes. There should be little walking between...