If you are looking for some indulgence and thrilling golf when England's one-month lockdown comes to an end in early December, then you will want to get yourself down to The Manor House in Wiltshire, writes GolfMagic correspondent Elaine Wells.
Situated in the beautiful village of Castle Combe and within 365 acres of picturesque rolling countryside on the southern Cotswolds, this stunning par-72 parkland course designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark presents a stiff but fair test of golf from start to finish.
Built on a limestone base, the natural drainage of the golf course is superb and is renowned as being an excellent winter choice, which is why I would certainly not put anyone off paying The Manor House a visit over the coming months, of course Covid-lockdown pending.
From the moment you arrive, you are greeted with open arms by friendly staff and luxury accomodation.
The golf club is part of a wider estate, which encompasses a 12th-century pub, The Castle Inn, and a luxury country house hotel - The Manor House - a 14th-century building with an enviable reputation that is owned and managed by the Exclusive Collection.
I stayed in the Lord Meers room, which had a medieval feel about it and it very much made me feel like I was staying in a castle. It was just an absolutely beautiful setting and made me feel comfortable from the word go. My room also had an impressive bathroom with a sunken bath, TV and a shower.
The Manor House is complete with 21 comfortable, individually styled rooms and suites – as well as 29 picturesque cottages full of character – and from what I could gather the entire hotel was just full of charm and traditional quirky features which very much appealed.
I then headed over to The Castle Inn for a delicious dinner. It was a short two-minute walk away but was still in the grounds. The dining experience capped off a great first few hours at The Manor House, before I headed back to my room to hit the hay and dream of birdies the following morning.
Up bright and early, I headed down to The Manor House's championship 18-hole parkland course, and it certainly delivered on the hype, especially for a late October tee time.
One of the most striking aspects of the course are its mature oak and beech trees that line well-maintained fairways. For this time of the year, I was particularly impressed, and the greens were just immaculate. There were very few bobbles and putts stayed true to their line.
There are plenty of tricky holes here, so you will need to bring your A-game to the fore, especially on the challenging par-3 17th, but there are also plenty of scoring chances, so it does even itself out if you are playing nicely.
There are also five par-5 holes so if you can get your drives away nicely on these holes then you can make some red numbers out there. There are also five par-3 holes, all of which range between a short iron to a much longer iron, so it's a great test.
You won't need to hit driver everywhere. I would say there is more of a premium on finding the fairways here as the rough - at this time of the year at least - was a bit gnarly in places and it made it tough to get the par-4s in two shots if you just missed the short grass from the tee.
I only found a couple of bunkers on my way round but the bunkering was superb all over the course. The greenkeeping team here has clearly done an incredible job this season.
I would recommend the use of a buggy if you are planning to play here as the course is quite hilly in places and there are some fairly long walks in between holes to the tees.
Without question though, The Manor House represents the very best golf staycation in the South West.
For those worried about a golf staycation in these unprecedented times during the coronavirus pandemic, The Manor House's overnight accomodation facilities have strict precautions in place, including thorough cleaning regimes and hygience regulations to prevent the spread of Covid and other possible infections.
Packages at The Manor House, between May and September, start at £199pp and include bed and breakfast in a Cosy room, a £30 per person allocation to use towards dinner at The Castle Inn, use of the driving range and 36 holes of the best golf in Wiltshire. Guests can also upgrade to the Michelin starred Bybrook restaurant for just £45pp.
Packages at The Castle Inn for the same time period start at £149pp and include bed and breakfast in a Standard room, a £30 per person allocation to use towards dinner, use of the driving range and 36 holes of golf. Guests can again upgrade to the Michelin starred Bybrook restaurant at The Manor House for just £45pp.
For more information please visit www.exclusive.co.uk/the-manor-house-golf-club