Oakwood Golf Course Review

Information

Course Name: Manor & Ashbury Hotels, Oakwood Course

Location: The Manor House Hotel, Fowley Cross, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 4NA, UK

Date Played: May 2022

Course Type: Parkland

View from 4th tee Oakwood
View from the 4th tee on the Oakwood

Introduction

Boasting an almost unbelievable 99 holes of golf, the Manor and Ashbury Hotels near Okehampton could be your golfing mecca in the UK.

In addition to 4 full-size golf courses, the hotel has many other activities and facilities available on-site. These include:

  • craft workshops
  • archery
  • pistol shooting
  • indoor and outdoor tennis
  • badminton
  • squash
  • table tennis
  • pickleball
  • snooker
  • pool
  • skating
  • bowls
  • ten pin bowling
  • curling
  • football
  • indoor simulators
  • adventure golf

The Ashbury Hotel is home to the golf courses with the following tracks making up the roster:

  • Kigbeare 6528 yards
  • Pines 6400 yards
  • Beeches 5738 yards
  • Oakwood 5502 yards
  • Willows 1939 yards (18 hole par-3)
  • Academy 1467 yards (6 holes)

The website claims 99 holes so that must include some of the spare holes they have! It’s probably not worth quibbling about when the majority of golf facilities only have one course!

par-3 16th tee on oakwood
View from par-3 16th tee on Oakwood

The Layout

My initial intention was to play the Kigbeare course but that is buggy only as it is 9 miles to get around! The pro shop suggested that the Oakwood would be the best option if I wanted to walk as the Beeches course was 7 miles!

I have to say that the Oakwood was in places amongst the hilliest courses I’ve played although it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that knows Devon well.

The 11th hole in particular climbed a heart attack hill! The fact that it is rated as a par-5 when only 446 yards in length should give you an idea of how steep it was.

Overall the course did require more brains than brawn, however. You also get a few nice views of the surrounding countryside.

There were a number of short par-4s where the best option would be a fairway wood or long iron from the tee leaving a short iron approach. A couple of the par-3s are over 200-yards although one did play steeply downhill.

The 12th hole provided a particularly interesting approach with the green set miles below the level of the fairway. Your second shot is played from a downhill lie as the hole runs quite steeply down from the tee.

The opening hole is a pretty short par-4 although it does play slightly uphill. Even my modest hitting capacities got me close to the front edge. The water hazard should not really feature in your decision-making process. Probably the most difficult aspect of this hole would be the two-tier green.

The bunkers on the course are all large and pretty shallow so shouldn’t represent too many problems in escaping. Although I wasn’t particularly keen on the type of sand they were using in them.

Most of the holes are tree-lined although it is usually just a single line of trees separating the fairways. If you do miss on the wrong fairway there’s often room to get through or over as many of the trees don’t look that old.

Out-of-bounds features on several holes and is sometimes a danger to hookers and other times a danger to slicers.

The standout hole for me would probably be the 7th. A downhill par-4 with OB left off the tee. You need to try to favor the right-hand side of the fairway which slopes from right to left as there is a pond some distance short of the green. There is a decent-sized tree on the edge of the pond that will block your view should you be on the left half of the hole.

Tees a bit worn in places oakwood
Tees a bit worn in places on the Oakwood

Condition

I suppose it’s still a little early in the season for a parkland course to be in mint condition but the greens, in particular, weren’t that great. However, when taking into account the green fee it would be churlish to complain too much.

Greens

To me, the condition of the greens sets the tone for the whole golf course as roughly half of your game is putting. It was evident that many of the greens on this course had been slit and sanded a few months previously, presumably to improve drainage.

There was actually some work still going on during my visit on some of the front nine greens. This didn’t help matters as the greenkeepers were giving those greens a good soaking.

I found the greens to be quite slow on the early holes no doubt not helped by the surface water. Even the later holes I wouldn’t have classed the greens as being particularly quick. They also seemed to be fairly bumpy with putts often bouncing around, particularly near the hole as they slow down.

They also didn’t look particularly appealing with the odd area of moss/disease? They did feel somewhat spongy underfoot in places which I have always taken as a sign of a thatch problem.

Unusually there didn’t seem to be too many unrepaired pitch marks. Given this is a holiday venue that did surprise me a little.

Fairways

On the whole, the fairways were pretty good. Clearly defined for the most part and not too many unrepaired divots. The amount of grass came as a bit of a shock having played exclusively on tight, firm and fast links fairways over the previous six months or so.

Tees

The tees were also a little disappointing, a large number of them were fairly uneven and some weren’t in great condition.

Watch out for the water
Watch out for the water!

Challenge

Looking at the scorecard prior to playing the course you might be forgiven for thinking it would be a pushover based on its yardage. That would be a mistake as there are a number of holes that play significantly longer due to being uphill.

There weren’t too many occasions where you needed to shape your shots although you would find quite a few sloping lies to test your abilities.

The greens were fairly large but for the most part were relatively flat. I can only recall a couple of greens that had multiple tiers. There were plenty of subtle breaks around the cups to watch out for.

Off The Course

There are a massive amount of activities you can pursue on-site. You would need a long holiday in order to sample the delights of every aspect that the hotels offer.

Both hotels offer several food and drink venues that are available to guests staying at either property.

oakwood scorecard
oakwood scorecard

Oakwood Golf Course Review: Summary

Considering the relatively modest green fee I think the Oakwood course represented decent value for money.

If you are looking for some fun holiday golf without too many golf club rules then the Ashbury and Manor hotels are probably worth a look.

Particularly when 27 holes of golf per day are included in the price of your stay.

Related:

Oakwood Golf Course Official Site

Devon County Union

Golf Courses of Devon

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