Stinchcombe Hill GC was originally constructed in 1889 and extensively re-worked in the 1920s by the team of F Hawtree & JH Taylor; a few a years later James Braid made some alterations. However, the true visionary was Sir Stanley Tubbs; he purchased the 200 acres and placed it in Trust for the enjoyment of golfers and adjacent parishes for the princely rent of £20 per annum on a 99 year lease.
Due to the somewhat routine bunker placement, these days Stinchcombe Hill doesn’t have the retro look or feel of some other nearby Cotswold courses. However, whatever the course may lack in heritage, it makes up with fine turf which is excellent for the more traditional style of shot-making. Coupled with the admirable grasses are impressive views up the Severn Estuary and east toward Dursley. Additionally, the Trust restored view points from the course and the Cotswold Trail which make it very easy to take advantage of the exceptional outlook.
The above may give the impression that the golf isn’t very good, but that wouldn’t be an accurate characterisation for there are a few holes which use the features on offer to great effect. The course doesn't really kick into gear until the 5th, but the long two shot 2nd and 3rd are not without interest. Hugging the escarpment, the 2nd turns threateningly left and the 3rd plays over a drop-off. The short 4th can also play long as it is over 200 yards.
After a fairly routine, but difficult opening four holes, the 5th hits us like a sledge hammer. Again, hugging the escarpment and certain death left, the hole turns left and plays to a bench green.
An excellent feature of the hole is the space on the right to flank the trouble.
Behind the green.
The short 6th straddling the ridge is quite an interesting hole.
Behind the green.
By the 7th we should notice the preponderance of dog-leg left holes. The routing essentially flows clock-wise around the property boundary along the escarpment with a few forays to the interior; in total there are 8 holes which move left and only four which turn right. In any case, the 433 yard 7th will usually leave a blind second with a bunker cutting off play from the safe right side of the fairway (away from interior OOB down the left). The 8th turns back on #7 and features a lovely greensite. 9 is a downhill short hole which is not terribly thought-provoking. The 10th is the fourth two-shotter over 400 yards encountered thus far...there is one more. Unfortunately, the longer 4s and the sole par 5 don't hold much interest as a group. This is a great pity because Stinchcombe is only 5600 from the daily tees and needs the longer holes to count for something other than yardage. The short 11th is a good hole, but is not that dissimilar to the 15th with essentially the same bunker scheme. Below is a side view of the hole.
From well in front of the tee. Tee shots hit just over the front bunker will feed to the green.
12 & 13 are decent holes, but don't move the needle much. I do like the short 2 shotter 14th because the fairway has a bit of movement.
Another interesting par 3, but other than being more downhill, the 15th is very similar to the 11th. Below is a shot from well forward of the tee.
Perhaps the best hole on the course, the 16th is reminiscent of a links hole. Among the shaping short of the green is a pathetic bunker...I think the only fairway bunker on the course. The trees in the background here and at other points around the course are unfortunate. In fact, with all the trees surrounding the property, it is difficult to see the course is surrounded by valleys and the views are outstanding.
The two finishing holes are rather bland...and that in essence is the problem with Stinchcombe Hill. Despite a handful of lovely holes, for one reason or another, too many holes are indifferent. Unlike nearby Minch Old and Painswick, it seems to me that much of the Victorian elements may have been smoothed out of the course over time and if so, it is a great shame. Still, the price is right, the course is very pretty, the fairway turf is sublime and the walk is very pleasant. Stinchcombe makes for a good addition if folks are playing a few nearby courses and need to add another. 2020
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