Fingle Glen Golf Course Review
Course Name: Fingle Glen
Course Name: Fingle Glen Golf Club
Location: Tedburn St Mary, Exeter, Devon UK
Date Played: Summer 2021
Course Type: Parkland
Fingle Glen was originally laid out as a nine-hole course in 1989. It was extended to 18 holes in 2002.
There is an on-site hotel featuring ‘boutique’ style rooms. For those looking for a more rustic option, there are a number of on-site cabins that you can book.
There is also a ‘little farm’ where you can visit the chickens and pygmy goats!
I’ve played a fair few hilly courses in my day and was a member of one for roughly 10 years. Fingle Glen is right up there amongst the hilliest.
You will get a good workout if you decide to walk the course although buggies are available as well.
Despite this being set on quite an undulating piece of property there weren’t actually that many shots that you had to play directly up a steep hill.
The course included several holes with steep drops including a couple of par-3s.
Even from the competition tees, this is only 5744 yards with a par of 70. Big hitters will find themselves able to reach a few of the par-4s.
The course begins with a gentle opener played downhill. Only a couple of bunkers to catch you out.
The second takes you up and across a slope to a relatively flat green. There’s not much in the way of hazards to catch you out on this hole either.
Indeed the rough is kept pretty short and unless you hit a very wayward shot then on most holes you are unlikely to find it. Should you hit a shot near the base of a mature tree then you may be unlucky and find yourself in knee-deep grass though!
The third hole is a 90° dogleg to the right played on to a fairway that slopes from right to left. You’ll need to hit a decent tee shot in order not to be blocked out by the mature trees that protect the corner of the dogleg.
The first par-3, the fourth hole is one of the better holes on the course for me. Featuring a steep drop and with trouble long you will need to take care with your club selection.
My ball actually embedded on the edge of the green on this hole showing you how soft the course can be in and around the green.
After you’ve wandered through the greenkeeper’s compound you will find yourself on the longest par-4, the 5th.
A stream wanders down the side of the hole then cuts across the fairway and only the longest hitters are likely to be able to clear it. Mature trees protect the fairway on both sides. Getting a par on this hole would be an excellent result.
There is a little bit of a walk over to the 6th tee. It is a par 3 with two bunkers protecting the green that are set quite a way short of the putting surface. Look at the yardage on the card rather than focusing on the bunkers.
Another medium length par-4 follows before you reach the first of the two par -5s.
The fairway slopes somewhat left to right towards a stream and line of trees. Most likely this line of trees formed a field boundary prior to the course being built.
There’s also a drainage ditch about 30 yards short of the green for those attempting to reach in two.
The opening nine finishes with a short par-3. Should you pull your tee shot here it’s quite likely to bounce down to the green from the slope to the left.
The back nine starts with another short par-4 which dog legs up and across a slope. A couple of bunkers protect the left side of the fairway but big hitters should be able to clear them.
The next two holes run parallel to each other. I would guess they were added when an adjacent field became available judging by the hedges and trees in that area.
No. 11 requires you to carry a steep slope in order to give yourself the simplest shot to the green. 12 doglegs to the right and your second shot plays downhill.
Standing on the 13th tee you might feel like really opening your shoulders. That would probably be a mistake as the hole doglegs 90° to the right and the green is set significantly below the level of the fairway.
The final par-3 is also another drop hole with a stream short and trouble beyond.
The 15th looks short on the card but plays much longer as you’re going straight uphill.
The tee shot on 16 needs some thought. The hole starts steeply downhill and is one of the narrower fairways where you daren’t go left. You will have to try and judge the distance carefully to leave yourself on the flat fairway at the bottom of the hill which gives you access to the green.
Turning for home, you have the second par-5. The tee shot plays up the slope with little to protect the hole other than some housing on the right and awkward sloping lies.
The final hole is another short dogleg with water protecting the green and a number of log cabins looking out at you while you finish your round.
It’s then quite a walk back to the car park through the aforementioned log cabins.
To be honest, considering the time of year these were some of the worst greens I’ve played on.
They were unbelievably soft. Probably softer than most courses I’ve played in the middle of winter.
I would have to assume that the greens are fairly soft most of the time judging by the number of unrepaired pitch marks.
Not surprisingly there were also very slow. Disappointingly slow for the end of June.
Other reviews going back several years seem to be critical of the greens so it appears to be an ongoing problem.
Of the three areas of the course that are most important, the fairways were the best.
A decent covering of grass so even beginners would have a good chance of striking the ball.
Oddly the fairways and tees were much firmer than the greens. This would suggest that it’s not just recent heavy rains that have affected the putting surfaces.
The tees were quite variable in their condition. There were some that were nice and flat whilst others were very uneven.
Quite a few seemed lush! You had to tee the ball a bit higher.
If we assume the greens I experienced are typical then that would mean that putting would be one of the biggest challenges!
There are probably a few holes where the majority of golfers are going to need to lay up and hope for a pitch and putt par.
The biggest challenge would actually be the walk, especially if you are unfit like me!
Off The Course
There’s a nice professional shop in the hotel complex and a restaurant that overlooks the course.
Fingle Glen also features a games room with pool, darts and arcade games.
Fingle Glen Golf Course Review: Summary
The course offers nice views of the surrounding countryside although that is offset somewhat by the traffic noise from the nearby A30.
Some would argue that for the twilight rate of £15 the course wasn’t too bad. I suppose that’s true but personally, I would hope to be playing courses in better condition than this in June.
I wouldn’t have been impressed if I paid the normal rate of £25. For that sort of money, I would definitely be hoping for greens in much better condition.
As it stands I haven’t played too many courses in the immediate surroundings of Exeter but I would be surprised if there weren’t some better options.
If you’re staying on-site and don’t have lofty golfing ambitions then give it a try.
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