Woburn (Duchess) - Buckinghamshire - England

Woburn Golf Club,
Little Brickhill,
Milton Keynes,
Bucks,
MK17 9LJ,
England


  • +44 (0) 1908 370756

  • Jason O'Malley

  • Charles Lawrie

  • Luther Blacklock


The Duchess is the shortest and prettiest of the three courses at Woburn Golf Club. Major competitions, accolades and honours are usually heaped on the Duke's, and more recently, the Marquess courses. Nevertheless, the Duchess is delightful in its own right, and a serious challenge.

Charles Lawrie designed the Duchess, and the course opened for play in 1979. It measures a respectable 6,651 yards from the back tees and it’s tighter, and perhaps less forgiving of the wayward shot than the Duke’s. But all the same, it’s a fine undulating woodland course, carved through pine trees. It will require the full repertoire of shots and, finding the small greens in regulation, is very challenging.

This is definitely a course where you must keep your ball in play. If you manage to do this from the tee, then the rewards can be great. Use your driver sparingly because this is a real thinker’s course. The towering pine trees make each hole appear exceptionally tight. However, on occasions, you will need to go for distance.

There are some great holes on the Duchess, especially the par threes. The 9th, stroke index 2, is a par four, which begins with a long, narrow chute off the tee. Halfway down, everything begins to kick left. The green, a stingy little thing, is close to the trees on the right and fronted by a nasty bunker on the left.

Most of the par threes are quite long and challenging, demanding very straight tee shots. The unusual, 203-yard 7th, has a huge bunker, front and right, and danger to the left. An historic ridge – the remains of an ancient Danish settlement – runs diagonally across the hole and will push anything short and left into the forest.

The 15th, a 485-yard doglegged par five, is a typical Duchess shot-maker’s delight.  Anything other than an arrow-straight drive ends up in the trees. A short drive leaves a blind second shot. The left-sloping fairway runs downhill, then rises sharply to a two-tiered green.

The Duchess fits into the Woburn family exceptionally well – it’s a real gem. In our opinion, the Duchess is as good, if not better, than the Duke’s and the Marquess. 

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Reviews for Woburn (Duchess)

Av. Reviewers Score:

This is a very pretty and lovely course. Not long by any means, but really quite narrow! The par 3 2nd is a good example of that, you can't afford any bit of lateral movement to the ball. Leave the driver in the bag and enjoy that course for what it is. The routing with the other courses around is a little disturbing, but the place is well marked. And offers some excellent facilities. Lucky members these are!

June 11, 2016


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Best golfing resort in the UK? Nonsense.Yes, the three Woburn courses are good but to compare with the word class experience of Gleneagles, Wentworth or Turnberry is just plain silly. Treat yourself to the excellent hotel, golf and fine dining at Gleneagles and then make a proper comparison. Why do so many of the reviews of Woburn have the same phrases and state that the courses should be much higher in the ratings??
August 28, 2015


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D Rimmer
September 19, 2015
How can you even begin to compare Wentworth to Woburn? The West is a good layout but it's routed through mansions and zig zagged by roads and has the worst greens you will ever play on - oh and the green fee is pretty much the same as it would cost you to play all 3 of the superbly manicured layouts at Woburn. Turnberry is nice and I haven't had the pleasure of Gleneagles. If you had mentioned Sunningdale then I may not have challenged your views.
Played the Duchess yesterday to complete the full Woburn set and yet again it blew me away. All 3 courses are different in there own right, Duchess - Shortest, prettiest and arguably the tightest golf course you'll find anywhere in world. Whereas the Dukes is a lot longer and strategic as well as being very narrow just in areas. The course condition was stunning as always, tees and fairways better than some greens you will play on and greens as usual were immaculate. The definition and visual aspect of the Duchess is breathtaking carved through huge pines, you almost feel as though you can't breathe with the trees so close and towering over you. I believe if you can find a way to score round here then you can play just about any course anywhere. It really is a ball strikers course where if you keep it in play and hit the small greens then it makes it a lot easier than the Dukes and Marquess as the greens are a lot flatter. I do believe the layout of the Marquess is in a different league to the Duchess and the Dukes has more "world class/memorable" holes whereas the Duchess has 18 very very good holes. All in all Woburn is quite simply the best golf resort in the UK by a long way and in my opinion all 3 courses deserve to be a lot higher in the rankings! Breathtaking golf and everyone should play here at least once during there lifetimes... They will not be disappointed by this golfing Mecca!
July 01, 2014


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Angus
August 01, 2014
Not sure whether it can be called the best golfng resort in the UK when compared to clubs boasting multiple courses that have hosted far more prestigious tournaments. These include Wentworth (BMW PGA Championship), The Belfry (Ryder Cup 1985, 1989, 1993 and 2002), Celtic Manor (Ryder Cup 2010) and Gleneagles (Ryder Cup 2014).....
David Rimmer
August 04, 2014
Haven't played Gelneagles so not fully qualified to comment, but I know people who have and I have heard very mixed reviews about the various courses. As for your other comparisons I am not sure they even come close. The Belfry has one good course in the Brabazon but the other 2 hardly warrant a mention, Celtic Manor is exactly the same - the 2010 is a very stern test of golf albeit not one that most would want to play on a regular basis, the other 2 courses are little more than a cobbled together set of holes shoe horned into some very difficult terrain. And finally, Wentworth charges £300+ to play on some of the worst greens you will ever see in your life. You can play all 3 courses at Woburn for pretty much the same price. Woburn has 3 excellent tracks which are always in great condition and set amongst beautiful scenery - no busy roads nearby (Belfry), Range Rovers shooting across the fairway roads (Wentworth) and views of industrial Newport (Celtic Manor). Woburn may not have a hotel on site but there are plenty of excellent options within a couple of miles.
Sam
August 05, 2014
I agree about the best resort in the UK. Celtic Manor and The Belfry dont even warrant a mention but having played all 3 Wentworth and Woburn Courses i think Woburn edges it. For me the West Course is still slightly better than the marquess, but the dukes and duchess are far superior to the edinbugh and the east.
I have been visiting Woburn for nearly twenty-five years and have played all thee courses a number of times but I still get a great sense of anticipation when I play here. The Duchess course is my favourite of the trio but put the Marquess, Duke's and Duchess in any order and you would not be wrong - Woburn is one of the great English venues. I got to play again last week which was its usual treat but the round enhanced by the fact that my three playing partners had not seen the course before. They all loved it and I am sure will be back soon; that's another three golfers converted to the Woburn experience. As for the course in April 2010; it was starting to look good and the greens were already putting very true and as good as any I have seen in the south of England this year. It s difficult to fault this course, the only observation that I have always had, is that the first three par 3's (2, 7 and 13) are a little similar...nit picking really.
May 02, 2010


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If you can't drive the ball straight don't play this course! This has to be one of the tightest courses in Britain. Played it on 2nd October on the first day a 3 day trip to Woburn - all our Group were very impressed. Played off the whites (6600 yds) so it's not short and as such you need to hit driver on most of the par 4's and 5's. The start is very strong and you really need to be on your game from the first shot. The par 3's with the exception of hole 16 are as hard as it gets. The 2nd is a 200 yarder carved through trees to a green the size of a handkerchief- awesome! 2 of the others are in the 200 yard range. A fantastic track in great condition that focusses the mind from start to finish. The whole Woburn experience is superb and based on my experience is not too far behind Woodhall Spa and Sunningdale.
October 09, 2009


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As the third of the courses I didn't expect much but was blown away by the quality of the course. A tough tight track in excellent condition. Helpful and pleasant staff all helped to make the day great. Would definately return despite the pricey round. Is now a favourite for me. Excellent
July 30, 2009


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As an example of a tree lined tight driving course that is as pretty as a picture, look no further than the Duchess course. I played in August 2008 (have now played about 12 times over the years) and the course never disappoints. The wonderful elegant pine trees are in view for every shot on every hole. Although there are a couple of par-3’s that are very similar, there are many great holes – favs for me include the tough par-4 1st and then great dog-legging 17th. Woburn has three memorable courses, all rather good.
September 11, 2008


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Super course that requires straight hitting, anything off line will go into the massive pines. Well conditioned course with lovely greens. I prefered the Dukes course due its more varied holes, a lot of the Duchess holes seem the same albeit all good!!
June 03, 2008


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Duchess has a better routing than the Dukes with far fewer back and forth, parallel, holes. But I don’t think its best holes are quite as good as the best on the Dukes. The Duchess is foremost a driver’s course and you have to hit it straight to score. It’s very light on fairway bunkering so the course relies on the terrain and hole shape to define strategy and keep us interested. I thought two of the best holes were 11 and 12, the former has a lovely green site with a shallow hollow to the right and the latter a cool lumpy fairway and an approach to a green with a left-right tier. Overall, like the Duke’s, the greens are pretty mild in contour and so short game interest isn’t comparable to the great, classic, inland courses: Swinley, West Sussex etc. Probably about right in the rankings. PS Pics 7-10 above aren’t The Duchess…they’re The Marquess
September 01, 2007


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Keith Baxter
September 02, 2007
Well spotted re the Marquess pictures. We have now corrected the error. Thanks for pointing it out.
A beuatiful setting and a very severe test of golf. If you are not straight off the tee here you will be penalised every time. Greens in very good condition and true. Hospitality friendly and efficient.
October 13, 2006


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