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Sean_A

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ASHBURNHAM New
« on: June 08, 2008, 05:02:26 PM »
I had the chance to visit Wales again this weekend and played Ashburnham today.  It had been quite some time since my last visit and my memory let me down badly.  I didn't recall just how tight the course is with its combination of oob and rough.  For the most part, these tight holes on the front weren't my cup of tea. However, in contrast to Pennard, the greens were in good nick - just a hair off perfect really. 

After a par 3 opener which doesn't hold much interest, the 2nd kicks off the mean streak of oob.  I didn't care for the look of the hole and opted to play up the 17th instead.  The approach is better from the 17th and oob is taken out of play.  The hole doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  Here is the angle of approach coming from the 17th.


I think the club really missed a trick on the 3rd.  Its a drivable par 4, but there is no point in taking a risk in hitting into the narrow part of the fairway because there is a large cross bunker protecting the green.  This is a real waste of prime golfing terrain. 


The 4th uses the combo of bunkering and oob very well.  One can be aggressive and try to fly the bunkers, shape the ball to the fairway or layup.  The successful aggressive player is rewarded with a relatively easy pitch to the green. 

The 5th is a short par 5.  For some reason, the par 5s seem to have more room to open the shoulders than the par 4s.  Still, oob is only 5 yards or so from the right side of the fairway.  This is the second shot. 


Upon closer inspection the carry over the bunker isn't as easy as it would seem.  I really enjoy this sort of deception.


I thought the 6th was the 2nd best hole on the front side.  Though I don't care for hidden Mac-Raynor bunker low right.  I think it is fairly new and not at all necessary.   


The 7th is another short par 4.  It is very narrow which essentially unbalances the hole away from being aggressive as the risk far outweighs the reward.  Once again, an opportunity lost for a really interesting hole.  Ashburnham improves dramatically starting with the moderate length par 5 8th.  Its a sweeping dogleg right that requires a long shot over nasty rough if one hopes to reach in two.  Here is a look at the green after a poor layup on the right.

For my money, #9 is the best hole on the course.  Its a corker.  The entire hole spreading to the left can be seen here.  The hole begs the golfer to take it inside the big bush.  However, this is not the best play as the angle of approach is more difficult from the left side of the fairway. 


From the right side one doesn't have to hit over bunkers and the entire length of the green is on offer.  This photo also gives some idea of how harsh the rough is.  I found ONE ball in this stuff all day.  Honestly, its just stupid.


The course takes a breather on the 10th, a reachable par 5.  The 11th is a blind tee shot with a funky break in the fairway.  Because of the terrain the back nine holds more interest.  The 12th is a neat legger to the right with a blind drive.  One wants to stay well left to get a view of the green.  The cool thing is the flat part of the fairway with the good angle is right by harsh rough.  Even after a layup which leaves an obscured view of the green requires only a lofted club. 

The fun continues on the 13th, a short par 3 that would be a bear with a serious tailwind.


14 is a very good par 5.  Flat bellies can take it over a ridge and risk the rough, or one can layup and take the blind shot as the second.  Below is the approach.


The 15th plays directly over the 14th.  The green site area is very wierd.  You suddenly go into a carved out jungle area. #16 is an odd looking hole from the tee, but there is nothing weird about the great views from here.  The hole isn't a long one shotter, but it drops far enough to make club selection difficult.  The 17th runs parallel to the 2nd.  Its not an easy hole, but it isn't particularly interesting either. 

The course finishes in grand style.  It is difficult to pick a line out from tee on this dog leg to the left par 4.  To the left is broken land with penal rough.  The approach is straight up the hill.  Its a lovely finish to the round. 


The clubhouse isn't without appeal.


Despite my problems with a handful of holes, not least the rough, I like Ashburnham.  Its not one of those courses I would call amongst my favourites, but I think it is a good filler course for a trip or worth a go if a few others in the area are not accessible.   2008   

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 06:53:46 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2008, 06:26:27 PM »
Thanks Sean I've always been curious.  I have lots of Q's.

Is it a true links, looks a bit Heathy Parky from the pics?  Didn't they used to hold pro tourneys here?  Any ideas when the reputation of the club was in its heyday and why it's fallen?


I'd love to see this and Pennard in a BUDA cup, the contrast would make fro a memorable occasion. A 'flat' links and a rough side of the moon course.
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
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Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2008, 08:38:23 PM »
Sean, when I played Ashburnham a few years I was very disappointed.  Indeed the par three opener is weak but I thought the course lacked imagination and the out and back character made it easier to figure out the wind.  18 was an interesting hole.  the tee shot was a little awkaward, but added to the challenge of the hole.

Tony I did not feel that it played like a links

That said the welcome from the staff and members was exceptional.  They could not have been more cordial to an American interloper. There was also a nice little hotel across the street.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM New
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2008, 10:02:00 AM »
Thanks Sean I've always been curious.  I have lots of Q's.

Is it a true links, looks a bit Heathy Parky from the pics?  Didn't they used to hold pro tourneys here?  Any ideas when the reputation of the club was in its heyday and why it's fallen?


I'd love to see this and Pennard in a BUDA cup, the contrast would make fro a memorable occasion. A 'flat' links and a rough side of the moon course.


Tony

Indeed Ashburnham used to be used for pro tournies and I think its heyday was probably in the 50s & 60s.  I think it is still used for the Welsh mini tour or whatever they call it.  I think some UK courses fell by the wayside for pro events simply because the Euro Tour properly took off.  I don't think they hold that many events in the UK compared to when these guys didn't travel all that much to the continent let alone all over the world. 

Ashburnham is possible to apir with Pennard as its 45 minutes away thru the Gower.  Though I think folks would be more interested in playing a more famous club like Porthcawl or a more cult type course like Southerndown.  I any case, Ashburnham is good without being spectacular.  Tommy is right, the club is very welcoming, which goes a long way when visiting a club and for me at least helps me to determine if I would like to return.

Tommy

I think there is a lot of imagination and character on the back 9.  The variety of hills, blind shots, high greens, low greens and reachable par 5s are all present on the back and a few of the front 9 holes.  I do think the course could be better, especially where the fairly flat greens are concerned, but its better than a run of the mill course by quite a margin.

Ciao
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 07:30:18 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 08:12:17 AM »
Sean,
Great pictures! (which works out nicely for me as I didn't take many)

I thought the greens were wonderful ;)
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Tom Dunne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 02:29:38 PM »
I missed Ashburnham on my trip--these photos were not what I had imagined the place to be like at all. Way more vegetation at the margins than I would've guessed.

Semi-OT:

Jeff Warne,

I infer from your post that you're back from Wales. How'd it go? What were the likes/dislikes of your group?

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 04:06:56 PM »
Tom,
Thanks for all your help planning the trip.

I must say those pictures of Ashburnham look great.
I didn't remember it looking that great- probably because it was quite tight and I had it in full grind mode

Order top to bottom
Pennard-9.5
Royal Portcawl-9
Tenby 8.5(despite high round of trip-80 after excess celebration the night before)
Nefyn and District 7.9
Aberdovey 7.8
Royal St. David's 7.5
North Wales 6.9
Cardigan (perfect day)6.7
Ashburnham 6.5(despite low round-4 under)
Southerndown 6.3
Bull Bay 6

All these courses were excellent to great and it all would depend on personal likes/dislikes for ranking.


« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 04:11:53 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2008, 05:26:04 PM »
Sean- I really like the look of Ashburnham, though this is the first time I have seen lots of pics. I am suprised it does not rate higher. The Swansea area is quite rich in good golf courses. I must get over and see my old mate Huw Morgan whose the super there.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM New
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 06:25:59 PM »
Sean- I really like the look of Ashburnham, though this is the first time I have seen lots of pics. I am suprised it does not rate higher. The Swansea area is quite rich in good golf courses. I must get over and see my old mate Huw Morgan whose the super there.

Adrian

I won't lie to you.  I like Ashburnham, but I also think a bit of an opportunity was lost on this property.  I can't help thinking the course should be better. 

Ashburnham used to often be rated in the top 100 lists of GB&I until maybe 6-10 years ago.  I don't know if its top 100 worthy, but its still worth a go if you are in the area.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 19, 2009, 06:30:46 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2008, 05:46:28 PM »
It's a good course and it has some good holes but I feel it misses out on the links factor. Wouldn't you rather play Hillside?

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2008, 06:52:45 PM »
It's a good course and it has some good holes but I feel it misses out on the links factor. Wouldn't you rather play Hillside?

Mark

I think Ashburnham and Hillside are more or less in the same class, but I slightly prefer Ashburnham. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ASHBURNHAM
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2008, 02:34:30 PM »
One thing that I should have mentioned is that it is not an easy course to photograph and you have captured the essence of each hole well. For me it just lacks character, especially in comparison with Pennard, Tenby and Southerndown. It's something I would say also of those parts of Pyle and Kenfig that are not in the big dunes.

Sean, E-mail me with your current e-mail address, will you? I think there might be an outlet for some of your photos....

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