Forest of Arden Aylesford Course
Course Name: Forest of Arden Aylesford Course
Location: Maxstoke Lane, Meriden, Birmingham CV7 7HR United Kingdom
Date Played: July 2022
Course Type: Parkland
The Aylesford is the junior course of the two at the Forest of Arden. Like its more famous big brother, it was designed by Donald Steel and is located in a 10,000-acre estate.
It’s a pretty short course coming in under 6000 yards even from the very back tees so even moderate hitters shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the length.
I had played it once before some years ago but couldn’t recall anything which is probably not a great sign!
There doesn’t appear to be a specific list of green fees but if you look at the online booking options then the prices can vary by provider and time of day between £25-£45.
The Aylesford features only gentle undulation so there shouldn’t really be any need for a buggy particularly given its length. However, there are a couple of longish walks from green to tee.
On the front nine, I probably enjoyed the 5th and 9th the most. Both were short dogleg holes. The 5th required a pitch over a stream while the 9th needed you to avoid the fairway bunkers and some deep, deep rough all down the left-hand side of the hole.
If I were to pick some holes on the back nine then probably 10 and 11 would spring to mind. The 10th is a short par three played slightly uphill to a green protected by a pond that you can’t see from the tee.
The next hole is a sub- 400-yard par-4 the dogleg from right to left slightly downhill that features a blind tee shot over a water hazard and some trees that block your view of the fairway. Personally, I think the marker post is a fraction too far to the right but what do I know?
Overall the condition of the course is pretty good although one would expect nothing less at a Marriott hotel.
The greens looked and putted nicely. They rolled true at a nice pace, which meant you could stroke the ball rather than hit it. However, they weren’t frighteningly quick although you still had to watch out for downhill putts. A number of greens did feature some bare areas which presumably were due to disease.
The bunkers were a little disappointing, to be honest. The ball had a tendency to plug near the face where there seemed to be a lot of sand yet the base of the bunkers didn’t seem to have much sand at all and you were quickly striking into the base of the bunker. I wasn’t the only person to express this opinion.
If you can look beyond the fact that many of the fairways were covered in Canada geese droppings then it was difficult to find too much fault with them. They were tightly mown and clearly differentiated from the rough.
The tees looked a little tired in places and perhaps a little bare as well in shaded areas. Overall not too bad.
The Aylesford isn’t going to trip you up for length but you do need to avoid the water hazards and the odd area of extremely long rough. There aren’t really any severe slopes to make club selection tricky, however, some of the greens could prove to be pretty awkward depending on the pin position and your approach shot!
Fairway bunkers might cause problems for higher handicappers but good players probably wouldn’t care too much if they found them unless they plugged or finished under a lip.
Off The Course
Not surprisingly as a former European Tour venue, the course has an extensive academy area where you can brush up on your skills. The golf shop is surprisingly small. Obviously, with an on-site hotel, you have a number of drinking and dining options.
You can become a member although details aren’t forthcoming on the website. I’m led to believe it’s fairly expensive though.
Forest of Arden Aylesford Course: Summary
Having played both courses at the resort there is little doubt that the Arden is far and away the most challenging of the two.
The Aylesford suffers from the same problem that a lot of second courses do and is totally overshadowed by its bigger brother.
If you are staying at the resort then it’s worth playing the course for a bit of variety but to be honest I don’t think it really offers enough to be worth traveling too far to play on its own.
There are plenty of much more interesting golf courses in the area such as Copt Heath, Maxstoke Park, Olton, Ladbrook Park and Robin Hood to name just a few.
Check out the Marriott Forest of Arden Official Website to book a tee time.
If you want to learn more about golf in Warwickshire.