Magnificent Magnolia

Just feel the quality, its so good, I nearly bought a membership...

Martin Park
Tue, 4 Apr 2000

Magnificent Magnolia
Magnolia Park Golf and Country Club Arncott Road Boarstall Buckinghamshire HP18 9XX
Tel: 01844 239700
Fax: 01844 238991
Par 73.
6873 Yards (White) Green Fees: £30 per round.

Situated in the heart of the rolling Buckinghamshire countryside, Magnolia Park has been ten years in the making and is the culmination of a lifetime's vision by the owner, John Walters.

No expense has been spared here and in his own admission, Mr Walters says that it could have cost him far less had he so wished. But patience, a keen eye for detail and a dedicated team of greenkeepers and administration staff, all having their personal input into the project, is now beginning to pay dividends.

Because of its location near The Oxfordshire, home of the Benson and Hedges International, the standard had to be high to compete with its illustrious neighbour.

The course, created by up and coming designer Jonathan Gaunt, provides a stern, but fair test for players of all abilities.

Each hole offers a selection of tees and a plethora of options for pin placements on the immaculately prepared USGA specification greens.

With that in mind, the course can take on many guises from a gentle undulating parkland course with numerous scoring opportunities to an absolute brute from the back tees at 6873-yards with wind and some sadistic pin locations.

After a gentle par-five start, teeing from an island, the 163-yard par-3 second hole demands laser precision from the tee over the lake to a slim, well-contoured green.

There is another par five at the third followed by the 428-yard fourth hole. Into the wind, a par at this hole will feel like a birdie, miss the green in the wrong place here, expect a high number.

There is little respite on the outward nine, with only one par four under 300-yards and the others at well over 400-yards, predominately into the wind.
Pick of the holes on the front nine is the Par-five eighth measuring 529-yards from the medal plates, with a left to right slope all the way to the well defended and extremely fast sloping green. Precision is the key to this hole coupled with a sound short game. And if you dare miss the green with your approach shot, you may need the assistance of prayer to get up and down.

The start of the back nine offers a few scoring chances, especially the tenth and 12th and 14th. All are under 400-yards. But to make birdie, like every other hole on the course, you must find the correct parts of the greens. They are huge and heavily undulating, reminiscent of links golf and when they are close cropped, downhill putts take on the marble staircase effect.

The closing holes are worthy of any championship finish. The 448-yard par four 15th tests your mettle and the 16th places a premium on hitting the fairway for a long iron approach into yet another sloping green.

The Par-three 17th at 175-yards seems like an optical illusion from the tee. Trust your yardage and fire away, just avoid the bunker to the right and you should be OK.

The 18th is the mother of all par fives. At 536-yards into the wind, with one of the many lakes all down the left, it may take as much as a four-iron for your third shot into a two-tiered green, over water again. What a finish!

Facilities:
27-Holes of golf including a 9 hole par three course surrounded by 120 Japanese Cherry trees, extensive practice facilities including a large putting green, full length grass practice range with target greens and short game area. Spacious locker rooms with hand crafted oak lockers, Sauna, steam room, showers and beauty room. State of the art health and fitness centre. Spacious contemporary styled clubhouse with conference facilities, a rotisserie restaurant and lounge room with traditional brick built open fireplace.

How to get there:From junction 7 of the M40, follow signs for Milton Common, past The Oxfordshire GC to the main roundabout. Turn left at the Esso garage and Travelodge on the B4011 Bicester Road all the way through Oakley towards Boarstall. Turn left into Boarstall village and through until you see the entrance on your left.