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 itís tighter, and perhaps less forgiving of the wayward shot than the Dukeís. But all the same, itís 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 thinkerís 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 Ė the remains of an ancient Danish settlement Ė 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-makerís 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 Ė itís a real gem. In our opinion, the Duchess is as good, if not better, than the Dukeís and the Marquess.
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Average Reviewers Score:
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.
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.
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
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-3ís that are very similar, there are many great holes Ė favs for me include the tough par-4 1st and then great dog-legging 17th. Woburn has three memorable courses, all rather good.
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!!
Duchess has a better routing than the Dukes with far fewer back and forth, parallel, holes. But I donít think its best holes are quite as good as the best on the Dukes. The Duchess is foremost a driverís course and you have to hit it straight to score. Itís 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 Dukeís, the greens are pretty mild in contour and so short game interest isnít comparable to the great, classic, inland courses: Swinley, West Sussex etc. Probably about right in the rankings. PS Pics 7-10 above arenít The DuchessÖtheyíre The Marquess
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.
Loved this place, what a course, friendly staff, the best lunch I have ever had at a golf club and three brilliant courses. The Duchess for me rated slightly higher than the Dukes due to the fact there were more memorable holes, I can still remember every hole of this one as opposed to only a handful on the Dukes and Marquess. The condition was also absolutely immaculate. In my opinion the second best inland set of courses in England bar Woodhall Spa.
As the previous comments suggest - this truly IS a beautifull golf course, and you WILL want to play it again & again & again... Played Wentworth the day before and this provided a more enjoyable experience both for scenery & challange. However - it must be said, it's younger sister (Marquess) is going to be, if not already is, a better test of golf. If your short game is good - you'll score here. the other course requires a little more . This is not a flaw, it simply shows how good the Woburn set up is, at providing an superb golfing experience..... Will be doing it again without any doubt !!
A crackerjack golf course that deserves to be much higher in the rankings. It doesn't have the big tricky greens like it's brother the Dukes but it more than makes up for it with it's utter charm. I defy anyone to not fall in love with this place on a summers day. Woburns club house is also really inviting with none of the snobbery associated with some of the more well known places (probably as it's used so much as a corporate place) - oh to be a member here and have the Dukes, Duchess and Marquess to choose from.
This parkland course has got be one of the most picturesque in the country. Tight narrrow fairways the order of the day. Slightly shorter than the Duke's but makes you think that little bit more. Absolutley awesome. A personal favourite. A must play.
A truly beautiful golf course. This is, for me, one of the very best inland courses. The greens are small and well protected. Scoring well on the Duchess is a real test. Leave your driver in the car, you can get into serious trouble...he says, talking from experience!
In direct comparison to the Duke's (also Woburn), there is no way this should be nearly 100 places below it in the pecking order. Only around 100 yards shorter in length (yellow tees), the holes on the Duchess's are tighter, prettier and overall a more pleasant feel about them. The Duke's has had the TV coverage over the years and that is why the Duchess is possibly so low in the rankings but do not ever feel that you are playing a lesser course because you are not. This is a lovely golf course - make sure you play this. Highly recommended - One of my personal favourites over the last fifteen years or so.
Shorter than the Dukes, but still retains the beautiful pine wood surroundings that really are such a great feature of a visit here. Some gorgeous holes and I'm surprised it ranks so far below its counterpart. Worth the trip - see comments on Dukes course re the food - its a treat.