Many people go to Castle Combe for the motor sport. It’s one of the longest established circuits in the UK where, in 1950, a young Stirling Moss won the 2.5 litre race. But the 13th century village of Castle Combe is something entirely different and light years away in feel and pace to the race circuit. The village is simply gorgeous and undoubtedly one of the prettiest, most beautiful in England. In fact, it was recently voted the most picturesque village by English Heritage Magazine.
Situated on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, the Manor House Hotel and Golf Club is set magnificently in 365 acres of rolling countryside. The course is a relative youngster, opening for play in 1992 and Peter Alliss and Clive Clark designed it. The maturity of the setting makes the course seem much older, where stately oak and beech trees line the magnificent fairways. Alliss and Clark made the most of the undulating terrain and they’ve fitted the course into its surroundings like a silk glove. The River Bybrook punctuates the layout bringing its share of beauty and drama, especially at “Burton Brook” the 17th, one of the best and most exciting par threes you’ll find anywhere.
Today’s Manor House course stretches out to around 6,500 yards. It’s no championship layout but it will provide an enjoyable test for most golfers and real challenge from the tiger tees.
We’ve already mentioned one par three, but there are four other excellent one-shot holes on this unusual but dramatic par 72 layout. With five modest length par fives, birdie opportunities are there for the taking. The par five 3rd, called “Doolittle”, is perhaps the exception. This is the stoke index one and it’s a corker, where the land tumbles downhill and a valley requires negotiation before the sanctuary of the green is reached. The 7th, another par five, is a strategic test with its curving doglegged shape, which is further defined by an avenue of trees.
Just like the village of Castle Combe, the closing hole is one of the prettiest finishes in England. The green on this par four is guarded jealousy by numerous bunkers and a series of interconnecting ponds. A par here will be a fitting end to one of the most enjoyable and exciting rounds of golf you’re likely to experience in the whole of the British Isles.
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Average Reviewers Score:
I recently played this course with a group of ladies; it was a day to remember! The course was stunning with every hole being unique, from the 12th through the valley; to the breathtaking drop on the 17th and the challenging final hole, with a waterfall between the green and the club house. We received a friendly and warm welcome before our round and enjoyed our lunch outside on the terrace. The service was faultless from start to finish. We were also lucky enough to play whilst the club were trialling buggies on the fairways. This helped us enormously and will definitely be returning if they continue with this. A fantastic course which I would highly recommend.
What a beautiful course!
I was invited to a corporate day at The Manor House a couple of weeks ago and the course was in great condition. All the holes look like a potential feature hole but the 17th par 3 is an absolute belter. Will be returning shortly.
Couldn't agree more. I actually think that, as Clark and Alliss courses go it has potential but only if reshaped in order to get away from the very mechanised 1980's style the pair were so fond of. Strange, because Alliss is forever wittering on about this or that classic gem, only to go and design the completed opposite. I suppose it sells to the masses though. C'est la vie.
Sorry, but this course is not worthy of being on this Website. The walks are too long, too many average holes, the only holes of note are typical Peter Alliss comedy holes. The 17th is pretty but not really a golf hole. The best par 3 was the 11th or 2nd (they keep changing the nines around , can't keep up) but they are putting a new bunker in just where the perfect tee shot lands, now the hole will be impossible, the ball will pitch on the steep down slope and shoot across the green into some bushes on the left and will probably be lost. The par 5 3rd or12th is a pretty valley hole but doesn't play like a good golf hole, you can't hit driver, ground too slopey. One of the par 3's has a sand waste area tee to green but then changes to proper bunkering when it gets to the green, what's that all about. This is probably the 5th best course in Wiltshire after Cumberwell, Tidworth, High Post and Bowood. Anyway the food is cracking, Get Martin Hawtree in to design it properly then you will have a great course , Good luck Castle Combe.
The Manor House is not an average course but it’s not an excellent one either. It’s actually somewhere in between (Wiltshire doesn’t have any excellent golf courses and the ones the reviewer lists are no better than the Manor House, they are just different). The Manor House routing leaves a lot to be desired as it’s quite a hard walk with some distance between greens and tees but some of the best courses have routing problems that even Hawtree couldn’t resolve. The fact you can’t hit driver does not make a hole poor. Golfers that want to constantly hit their driver should head to the range not the course. Clive Clark was undoubtedly the force behind the Manor House design and I think he’s done a pretty good job. Put me down as a fan of the Manor’s par three 17th, it’s fun and exciting. I’ve played the Manor House four times now over the years and I’d rather play here twice than any of the other Wiltshire courses the poster mentions.
20 April 2012
36 holes at High Post is the best days golf in Wiltshire by a long way. And at £20 for a days golf on the county card, are you ever going to beat that.
21 April 2012
High Post is great value, but decidedly average. Not Hawtree's finest hour. It’s several notches below the Manor House and High Post is not a place to play if you don’t like road and aircraft noise.
02 April 2013
High post and Tidworth better. Your having a laugh. And if people complain about the walk, then they just to need look at themselves and get into shape!
19 June 2014
We strongly disagree with the comments that have been made here. The course right now has never been in better shape and each hole delivers a separate and quite unique challenge. I personally think that Peter Alliss and Clive Clark had incredible vision when designing the course - I understand that only 1 mature tree was removed during the build process. The course continues to go from strength to strength and the daily comments we receive are very very positive. Please do make contact with me directly if you would like to experience the course again. email@example.com
Very impressed. Played 2 weeks ago and much better than I was expecting. An interesting design that should appeal to all handicap levels, with a drivable par 4 that every course should have (the course actually has at least 2). I do however have a few negatives: It's been said many times but you would have to have youth and fitness on your side to attempt to walk this course, there are some serious distances and elevation changes between holes. The par 3 17th is a fun hole and beautiful to look at but is not even close to being one of the best par 3's in the world, also I'd say that the 18th isn't even the prettiest finishing hole in Wiltshire never mind the country (both descriptions coming from the course guide). To conclude I'd say price wise it's on the money (apart from the almost compulsory buggy which you feel you're being fleeced for), design is interesting and condition was great for mid March. Unless you can run a marathon in under 3 hours don't try and walk it, but do make the effort to play it. Leagues ahead of sister course Mannings Heath
Interesting comments but the point about requiring abuggy is way off line. I'm a member there, and a senior, and I can assure you that the only members who take buggies are those with medical conditions. The walks are fine - please don't be put off by this misconception.
Nice course, but absolutely agree with the comments about the routing. Some long and steep walks between several greens and tees. Course marketing is also a bit over the top - the 17th is a good short par 3, but very definitely not "one of the top 10 par 3s in the world".
I returned to the Manor House last week after a six-year gap and thoroughly enjoyed the round in breezy but dry conditions. We took a buggy as my playing partner was nursing a leg injury and can confirm that the rule is still to keep buggies on the paths despite the dry weather. I’m not a lover of buggies, less so when they have to be kept on the paths, but I certainly wasn’t complaining when we were whizzing along, making short work of the very long walks between some greens and tees. For me, the routing is the biggest issue at the Manor; the course itself is varied and at times very exciting. One or two holes could at best be described as average but the majority are good to very good golf holes. It’s the routing that lets it down and will always prevent the course from being top class in my opinion. The course was in excellent shape and the greens were running at a slippery 10.5 on the stimp according the guys in the pro shop. These were some of the best greens I’ve played on this year, so well done to the green keepers. Service, as has already been mentioned in reviews below, is exceptional and this improves the overall experience. The Manor House is a good golf course at a facility where the service is excellent and this is a great mix for a short break and one that I’d thoroughly recommend.
My wife and I had a two day break staying in the hotel and played the course twice. The welcome in the pro shop was enthusiastic and efficient. We had a buggy on the advice of friends who had played the course previously but saw plenty of people either with electric or manual trolleys managing very well.
The course was in excellent condition. Our visit was in the summer and the greens were true and fair. The first hole, a dog leg left, is one best played a couple of times to understand club selection on the drive. The second is a par three drop hole with again club selection all important. There is a good use of terrain making up the course and the signature hole, the 17th again a par three drop hole, is a joy. There are two greens available at the 17th both with water hazards.
Please people, 6 ball ratings are for the best courses in the country, Sunningdale, Turnberry etc. I know the condition of the course is excellent and the food is great too, but this Website puts the Golf Course first and Castle Combe is a 3 ball course compared to the others on this site. I mean it's the 5th best course in Wiltshire.
The Manor House Golf Course is simply Stunning. Myself and a ground of friends went on a very good deal to stay at the new Waterful lodge which is superbly placed next to the 18th green. The course was just magical with my favourite being the 17th (Par 3). The guys in the pro shop were extremely helpful and i definatl recomend a bite to eat in the woodbury restaurant. Cant wait to go back!
I visited the Manor House Golf club with a few of my friends and we were welcomed by the most friendly staff. They looked after us for the duration of the day and every request was met with a smile. The Course itself was truly beautiful but challenging. If you do go to this wonderful club house i would definitely recommend having a bite to eat in the Woodbury, the food here is delicious and the service is fantastic! I will definitely be returning in the near future.
This is one special venue...Played it a couple of years ago and loved it then...but after recent visit felt compelled to share with the rest of the golfing world. Stunning holes, stunning views and in amazing condition...undoubtably the best golf course in the West/South West. No wonder they have a membership waiting list!
Loved this course, interesting par 3s and immaculate conditioning from tee to green. Staff very attentive and friendly and the food in the club house was just perfect after 18 holes. We stayed in the Manor House hotel and loved its character, customer service and, not to mention, great restaurant. Will definitely return.
This course is a gem! This is by far the best course I have ever played. The greenkeepers clearly take a lot of pride in keeping the course in stunning shape. I would recommend using a buggy if you haven’t played the course before and I have heard that they are renewing all of the fleet with new quiet electric buggies, to make the experience even more enjoyable! The food in the clubhouse is of an exceptional standard and the staff all seem like they are dedicated to providing a day to remember! I will be going back very soon!
I agree with all of the comments above, however don't be misslead by the buggy comment - Buggys are not essential as many people enjoy walking the course.
Played course in January after a spell of very wet weather, however I found the course in super condition, particularly the greens. A real mixture of holes with some real gems, 8th is a cracker and 2 of the par 3's, the 2nd and 17th are brilliant. Received a wonderful welcome from all staff and members, a definate must play course and deserves a higher ranking, I played Bowood a day before and Manor House is miles ahead in every department. A buggy is essential though!!
The fairways are immaculate and the greens are very challenging. One of the most amazing golf courses I have ever played. With the addition of the new Black Tees, one of the most challenging too!
There is no doubting this course is one of the most picturesque you'll play, certainly in the south west of England.
The layout is its downfall. Walking sometimes is not an option, especially during a hot summers day. One walk between one green and the next tee was up hill and seemed miles! I have also played the course with the use of a buggy, which saves your legs a bit, but the carts have to stick to the paths at all times which meant taking 2 or 3 clubs out to the fairway for every shot.
There are some good holes, but a also a few Mickey Mouse holes. The condition of the course and lovely club house could not be faulted.
Green fees a little steep, but well worth a game.
The course is excellent apart from a couple of holes
that look out of place on a course in the top 100
another bugbear is that buggies have to stay on the buggie paths i do not know if this is always the case or it is just the time of year.I played it on a Friday and it was absolutley packed waiting on every tee and people were waiting behind us.
Could not really agree with this feedback - I have always found the speed of play really good. Quite right about the buggies don't want them messing up the fairways like other courses.
Played here last week as part of a golf trip to Wilts and thoroughly enjoyed. Wished I'd have checked here first and taken advantage of the free buggy offer. Ouch! Anyway, we walked and struggled in places. I didn't manage to keep the ball in play so didn't score very well. Preferred Manor House to Bowood which we also played on the same trip. Well worth playing.
I'd never heard of the Manor House until I spotted it on this website and what a find it was. We played and stayed here last November and I was entertained all the way round. Some really memorable holes and all set in the most beautiful hilly surrounds. Would have no hesitation recommending this place to any serious golfer - well worth playing. I've been meaning to write this review for months... just got round to it!
Dramatic, varied, entertaining, exciting and exhausting sum up my feelings about the Manor House. The course is laid out cleverly using the land to its full effect, some of the bunkering is a bit over the top but hats-off to them for making it a visual feast. There are so many memorable holes that it’s hardly worth picking one out but if I had to, it would have to be the incredible double-greened 17th which is as dramatic as any hole I have ever played. A mere flick with a wedge will see your ball rise into the air and then fall towards the green some 100 feet below. Although the hole is only about 130 yards, it’s a really tricky tee shot and you can’t be short or you ball will be in the babbling brook which surrounds the green. A couple of serious cardiac climbs put a slight blot on the round and I imagine that some people would have to take a buggy… I can’t imagine walking down those slopes in frosty weather…scary! Anyway, I’d love to return here again to stay and play. The facilities here are quite delightful in every respect. A quality resort and a quality course through and through.
The course at the Manor House is well worth the visit. After a gentle 1st hole, the 2nd (par 3) and 3rd (par 5 into and over the valley) are real quality golf holes and are a taster for the rest of the round. The 4th hole is a touch out of place (short par 4 up the hill) but in all honesty, this is the only weak hole on the course. There are plenty of chances to beat par but equally many places that may catch you out (in other words a good fair test of golf). The theme for me all round was that every hole is so different – Interest levels are kept up all the way and playing the Manor House was a real pleasure for so many reasons. The Manor House is more than a course though – the facilities around the clubhouse and also the Manor House hotel itself are quality – customer service is as good as I have had. Back to the course; sometimes courses rely on the resort side of things to make their name – not here though, this set of 18 holes would stand up anywhere and the management team appear to want to continue the high level of attention to the course and the golfers. As a closing note – this course is built through a valley and therefore there are some tough uphill walks – not a definite to rent out a buggy but worth considering if your age is heading towards eligibility for the senior events !!! Recommended ……