Abbey Hill Course Review

Abbey Hill, keep your golfing brain about you around here...

By Martin Park on Sun, 20 Feb 2000 - 11:02

ABBEY HILL GOLF CENTRE

Abbey Hill Golf Centre Monks Way Two Mile Ash Milton Keynes MK8 8AA

Tel 01908 562566: Fax 01908 569538

Par 71. 6122 Yards (White Tees)

Originally designed in 1969, the old Abbey Hill course could not cope with the rigours of modern day golf traffic and technology. The owners, Greene King Breweries, employed the services of noted architect Howard Swan to bring the course into the new millennium.

In 1996, Swan decided that drastic reform was in order and those who played the original course in the early seventies, would not recognise it today.

With the addition of eleven new tees, six new greens and a change to the direction of play, Swan has transformed the course into a user friendly pay and play layout.

Named after the 12th century Abbey in nearby Two Mile Ash, all of the holes here reflect the religious connection.

The 325-yard par four first, (Bishops Crook) offers an excellent opportunity to go under par, providing that you have warmed up the shoulders and nail you opening tee shot. Downwind and downhill, this is the gentle start you will need to boost the confidence at the start of your day.

However, the second hole (Abbott’s Leap) may require the assistance of prayer to get through unscathed. At 392-yards, playing into the prevailing wind, only an accurate drive finding the right half of the fairway will allow a look at the deep green ahead of you. If not, expect a bogey or worse.

Birdie opportunities are easy to come by if you find the greens in regulation. In general, they are small and undulating and any putt you have has a good chance of being close to the hole.

However, if accuracy is not the strong part of your game, then you may start to rack the numbers up and lose a few balls. The shrubbery and trees are dense and if you entertain the belief that trees are ninety- percent air, some holes here will persuade you otherwise.

The start of the back nine offers little respite to your scorecard if it is scattered with high numbers. The 11th (High Altar) is very intimidating to the slicer from the tee. And a blind approach shot to the small target explains the reason as to why this is the hardest hole on the course.

But the 14th, a short par-five of 463-yards offers a great chance of picking up one or even two shots to par. Hence the name, Retreat.

Similarly, the 15th at 308-yards down the hill, asks the question whether to go for broke, or just be boring and lay up with an iron. Even if you end up in the bunker, it is not too difficult to give yourself a short birdie putt.

The two finishing holes are responsible for making or breaking any scorecard. The short par three 17th (Signature Hole) needs your full attention.

And the 18th is a demanding closing hole, especially as you play your approach shot in front of the gallery on the balcony of the clubhouse. The army of bunkers around the green is an intimidating sight from 150-yards back down the fairway and only the brave will fire at the flag.

Swan has given every class of player the opportunity to score well at Abbey Hill, providing that the urge to hit the ball out of sight is not your objective of the day. If it is, bring plenty of golf balls!

Facilities: In addition to the 18-hole main course, Abbey Hill offers a 9-hole academy course for beginners, chipping and putting greens and a 24-bay All weather driving range.

The ‘Fairways’ Suite offers ample conference facilities with over 100 seats available for the company day. The brasserie and the spike bar both offer good food and drink with a great view over the course.

How to get there: Exit at Junction 14 of the M1, take the second exit from the roundabout, carry on through all the roundabouts until you come to Abbey Hill roundabout. The course entrance is on your left-hand side.