I am bumping this old photo tour by Sean for three reasons, one, because the photos are no longer viewable, two, because it's one of my favourite places to play golf and three, because I was there recently on a beautiful fine day and managed to take some photographs.
Tadmarton Heath GC may not be long, it measures just under 6,000 yds on the card, but it ain't easy. As the course guidebook says, you'd better make your score on the first few holes, where it's a bit wider, because you won't make it up on the rest as the holes get tighter and tougher as the round progresses. The course is on sand so drains extremely well but can play extremely hard-n-fast-n-rolling in the summer.
One of the reasons the course appears short on the card is because the 4 par-3's measure only 151 yds, 137 yds, 114 yds and 174 yds respectively and there is only 1 par-5, the normally downwind 537 yd 5th hole. There are only 3 par-4's over 400 yds, but they all play into the prevailing wind thus increasing the relative difficulty, especially the 9th hole, which plays a bit beastly with most folks who know the hole laying up 70 or so yds short of the green to avoid a gorse lined and tightening gap.
The original photo tour was in 2006 was a bit scathing but things have improved. The course was, and has been every time I've been there over the last few years, in excellent condition with lovely firm, true rolling, fast greens. No need to play 'preferred lies' either, even in late autumn.The gorse has been managed and developed, various areas of scrub have been cleared out and several bunkers are currently being renovated (by Ken Moodie). I cannot speak highly enough of Tadmarton, and the cakes and pies and pasties served through a hatch in the clubhouse are ever so yummy and very much 'more-ish'.
Enough narrative, here are the photos, not all holes included, not enough photos taken, but hopefully enough to give you a general flavour.
Below - the 405 yd par-4 4th hole taken from short left of the green - dry stone wall to the left and tightening, gorse to the right and rear
Below - the par-5 5th photographed from behind the green
Below - two photographs of the the green of the 351 yd par-4 6th hole, and yes, that bunker on the right side does have a sleepered face. It's well over head height. The back of the green has been cleared out recently so going long is not an option, and the bunker front left isn't pleasant either. A hole to play with caution.
Below - the evil little 137 yd par-3 7th hole. Small green. Short will roll back into the stream or the bunkers, close-by either long, left or right is OB. It's a cracking, wicked little hole, and the wind eddies around the buildings too, and it can all be seen from the lounge windows.
Below - there are many cunning little aspects to Tadamartons greens. This is the 329 yd par-4 8th hole photographed from over the green. The green is narrow and slopes wickedly downward from both left to right and from to rear. Miss left and you're dead. Miss right into the bunkers or long and you've got a chance, otherwise hit the green. The bunker you can see here, several of them in fact, had suffered from a wash-out earlier in the day. It's easy to go OB right from the tee on this hole with both the prevailing wind being from the left and the fairway sloping heavily left to right - slicers nightmare!
Below - three photos of the 114 yd par-3 10th hole, firstly, looking back from the green towards the tee, which is to the right of the tall tree in the centre-right of the photo. And yes, when you stand on the 10th tee, which is slightly raised, all you can see is gorse and a flag fluttering 114 yds away. There is a wide, high lipped, deep bunker short of the green. Not the place to go, not least because you'll be playing out onto a downslope. The 3rd photo is taken from the 16th green, which sits close by the 10th, the two holes playing in opposite directions and separated by a deep bunker. Note how the gorse has been 'topped'. This has happened all over the course. Small is beautiful?
Below - the 295 yd par-4 15th hole photographed from behind the green. The 15th is totally gorse lined along both sides and you have to carry about 100 yds of gorse bushes to even reach the fairway. There is also gorse close-by over the back of the green. The green is very small and slopes heavily from back to front. In front of the green is one small bunker with a high lip. This is the kind of hole where you stand on the tee thinking birdie and walk off having hit several tee-shots into the gorse, the more so as the prevailing wind blows across the hole from right to left but you can't feel the wind on the tee, and Tadmarton, being on top of a hill, get's pretty windy regularly.
Below - the par-3 174 yd 16th hole photographed from short left of the green, you can see how the gorse has been 'topped' (my terminology).
Below - the evil 365 yd par-4 dog-leg right 17th hole photographed from behind the green with the very tightly gorse and tree lined fairway in the distance (centre of photo). This is not a hole to be taken lightly - it's not stroke index 3 for nothing. Just like the 15th, it's a real card wrecker near the end of a round.
Well that's a flavour of Tadmarton Heath. I really like this course....a lot. It might be short on the card but it's tight and it's usually pretty windy on top of Tadmarton hill. The course condition has always been excellent when I've been there with firm, fast, true-rolling greens. It's a very friendly place and being on sand, free draining, the food served through the hatch in the old farmhouse/clubhouse lounge is terrific, it's on the County Card scheme and it's set in wonderful countryside midway between Banbury and Chipping Norton, about 25 miles north of Oxford. If you get the chance, go and play it, I'm sure you won't be disappointed, folks I've taken along with me never have been. It's a definite 'gem' in my view.
All the best.