Edward the Confessor and his French counterpart, Philip I, initiated a centuries old remedy for curing various forms of tuberculosis (aka King’s Evil). Legend has it that while sitting under the Remedy Oak, the Boy King, Edward VI, “touched for Evil”. That is, King Edward put his special relationship to Edward the Confessor and God to good use and cured his subjects by touching them. The oak in question is much larger than it would seem during a casual drive by. While all but dead and requiring more support than a suspension bridge, the tree does have an impressive girth of nearly 20 feet. The local council deems Remedy Oak such an important local landmark that it has made arrangements for an heir. A few yards away, the son of Remedy was planted and like his father, will hopefully be part of a medical breakthrough some day. Taking its name from this tree, Remedy Oak Golf Club’s gates are perhaps a mile or so distant. It will take nearly the same distance up the entrance drive to finally reach the house!
Another legend has it that the owner, Bill Riddle, after seeing the area which is now the 4th
thought this 256 acre parcel would make a wonderful golf course. John Jacobs was on the design team, but I am not sure how much involvement he had. I suspect Mr Riddle had as much or more to do with design as anybody. Already sporting a strong reputation as one of the best inland modern courses in England, the announcement that Remedy Oak will host Open Regional Qualifying in 2018 will only increase its standing. Perhaps with the goal of hosting Open Qualifying, the club took the momentous step of closing the course recently to relay the greens to USGA specifications. It is clear Remedy Oak will retain more water than is ideal during the winter as there are already signs of mud in the rough. The property is heavily treed, therefore some areas will not receive much sunlight in the winter; consequently, the move to relay the greens was likely very wise. However, I can report that with a few exceptions, the greens are coming along quite well.
My first impressions are mixed. There are some wonderful holes, but the course is held back by holes of dubious merit and too many water carries. It is clear the design is meant to have high points which cause some anxiety and in cases this is done quite well. The shaping around the greens isn’t terribly creative, but that needn’t be a negative as the greens themselves have enough interest. The single most annoying aspect of the design is the length of time it takes to get around. The concept of isolation between holes is taken to such an extreme that a quick game around Remedy Oak is not on the cards. On the positive side of the ledger, the single most impressive aspect of the design is the general width on offer. The architects had the good sense to realize that a medal course of nearly 6500 yards with a fair amount of water over terrain which will not yield much roll is all most golfers can handle.
I can't fault the archie too much because I see this issue again and again. Why build bunkers to have them hidden behind trees? Otherwise, this is a straight forward opening tee shot with a lovely view of the dead tree.
The green is brand new. It used to be well left in the open area, but apparently tree cover was an issue for growth. Its probably better in its current location because the hole now doglegs.
I am not keen on the three-shot second. Water is hard on the green leaving no option but to make the carry and thus rewarding flat bellies for brute length.
Turning back on the second, the tee shot for #3 is attractive even if the bunkering isn't.
The 4th is a lovely set piece hole which is very difficult. For those who like to fade the ball, trees block out the safer route to the left. Because of its 200+ yards, perhaps the archie should have given some thought to the rabbit who may want to play for a bogey.
One of my favourite holes on the course, the fifth uses the marsh shy of the green very well. Just about the perfect amount of width is on offer for those who want to thread the needle and for those who can carry the green in two, the green slopes sharply back to front.
More to follow.