Woburn Golf Club

Location: Little Brickhill, Buckinghamshire
Designers: Lawrie, Aliss, Clark, McMurray, Hay


Although peaceful and secluded and renowned for holes that play through avenues of pine, Woburn Golf Club benefits from a central location. It’s 10 minutes from Junction 13 off the M1, 15 minutes from central Milton Keynes and just over an hour from London, Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford. Woburn Abbey and the surrounding estate provide a stunning and historical backdrop to this Buckinghamshire golf club.

It is the ideal venue for corporate, group or society golf days and has hosted almost sixty professional tournaments.

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Although peaceful and secluded and renowned for holes that play through avenues of pine, Woburn Golf Club benefits from a central location. It’s 10 minutes from Junction 13 off the M1, 15 minutes from central Milton Keynes and just over an hour from London, Birmingham, Cambridge and Oxford. Woburn Abbey and the surrounding estate provide a stunning and historical backdrop to this Buckinghamshire golf club.

It is the ideal venue for corporate, group or society golf days and has hosted almost sixty professional tournaments.

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Duke’s Course

Duke’s Course ranks number 30 in the Golf World Top 100 golf courses in England and number 70 in the Golf World Top 100 golf courses in the UK and Ireland.

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The Duke’s course was the club’s first and remains its most well known, and widely considered its best, golf course. It has hosted a wealth of high-profile events and has proved very popular with champions ranging from Greg Norman in 1981 through to Lee Trevino, Laura Davies, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and up to Henrik Stenson in 2004.

Charles Lawrie was given the task of laying out the course among the centuries-old woodland. On the course, a low-key starts leads to a pulse-quickening 3rd, one of the most picturesque short holes in Britain. The tee set high above the green is the perfect place from which to enjoy its beauty, especially the vibrant purple rhododendrons. However, the small green is protected by two bunkers and run-offs on all sides so these 134 yards are capable of causing a lot of pain.

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The par 4 that follows may be better yet. It sweeps from right to left among dense pines and concludes on a dangerously narrow, two-tier MacKenzie-style green.

Another fine short hole follows the strong par-5 5th. The elevated green that is surrounded by tall trees is also protected by bunkers edged by sleepers. The Duke’s course is all but 7,000 yards off the tips and more than 6,500 off the yellows, which is unquestionably long enough for most of us. 

The Duke’s still remains the absolute ‘must play’ at Woburn and professional golfer Ian Poulter plays here when he's in the UK, regularly using the club's practice facilities. “Woburn is home from home for me. It's been fantastic to have such a great club as Woburn to help develop my game. I truly don't think I would be where I am in the world right now, if not for Woburn being available to me." 

The late 14th Duke of Bedford decided to bring golf to the Woburn Estate. Within three years of opening it hosted its first British Masters and was won by Austrlian golfer Graham Marsh.

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Duchess’ Course

The Duchess’ course is a very nice, neat course set in sweeping woodland and is usually in good condition. It’s most definitely Golf World Top 100 material with its with testing par 5s where positioning off the tee is essential. 

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Trees line the very edge of the fairway and anything resembling a slice or hook is likely to result in a tricky recovery. Several of the par 3s provide some real challenges as they require a long iron approach to be hit accurately. For some golfers, the Duchess’ course is the best course in the woodland heaven that is Woburn Golf Club.

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The layout of the Duchess’ is 322 and 562 yards shorter respectively than the Duke's and Marquess' courses. Course architect Charles Lawrie designed a course that calls for a different sort of challenge to the one he presented in Duke's. Of the three Woburn courses, the Duchess' is the one that will strike more fear into even the most confident golfers than the Dukes’ and Marquess’ combined. 

 

Marquess’ Course

Marquess’ Course ranks number 42 in the Golf World Top 100 golf courses in England and number 85 in the Golf World Top 100 golf courses in the UK and Ireland.

Woburn Golf Club was was already home to two very fine courses when plans were revealed for a third. The Marquess’ course opened in 2000 and was created by a quartet of designers. Professional architect Ross McMurray of European Golf Design was assisted by BBC trio Peter Alliss, Clive Clark and the late Alex Hay.

Within a year of opening it had hosted the British Masters and then in 2002 local hero and Woburn ambassador Ian Poulter was edged out by his great friend Justin Rose. The Marquess’ is absolutely a Tour venue. A 7,214-yard championship course which requires plenty of strength when played off the back tees.

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The middle of the front nine has a terrific three-hole section beginning with the 5th, an attractive par 4 among woodland that makes you feel like you’re in the heart of a great forest. 

The next is a gorgeous par 3 to a green that slopes from the back edge and spits balls off to the right as well as back down the large front apron. Then comes the signature, a fabulous par 5 on a fairway of deep dips that asks you to choose which way to go round the line of pines in the middle of the fairway. 

The Marquess' looks like it's been around for a hundred years rather than just coming into existence in 2000. What marks it apart from Woburn's other two courses are the putting surfaces. It’s a Tour-calibre venue, with spectacular holes. 

 
Gemma Keepin