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GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Sean_A on July 02, 2011, 03:13:28 PM

Title: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE: 2021-22 Winter Tour
Post by: Sean_A on July 02, 2011, 03:13:28 PM
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A warm greeting at the house door.
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A typical Minch Old scene.  The 18th as seen from the 1st fairway.
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Minchinhampton Old is an open grassland course 700 feet above sea level on a spur of the Cotswolds. Stroud is some three miles distant, Nailsworth Valley is to the west and Frome Valley the north.  Opened in 1889, the course is situated on the magnificent Minchinhampton Common.  RB Wilson of St Andrews is credited with the original design, though there have been many alterations over the years. There may be as few as six original greens and likely no complete holes in play. I should mention there are two newer courses, one built in the 70s and one in the 90s.  The Old Course is part of the same club, but about three miles away.  The bunker free Old Course has very little fairway shaping and is punctuated with iron age fortifications, quarries, Kingtonesque earthworks around some of the greens and the ever present wind.  Despite the lack of fairway shaping, there is no question the designers knew what they were doing as the angles presented bear the hallmarks of strategic golf.  It should be noted that Horace Hutchinson thought enough of Minch Old to include it in his British Golf Links, a highly recommended book.

Despite the clever subtleties of the design, my favourite aspect of Minchinhampton is it's true common nature.  Minch Old generally circles in a wide clockwise arc around the 580 acre common and through the remains of an iron age fort. There is a long tradition of golf on common land in England, but Minchinhampton feels unique to me.  The course crosses several roads while sharing the land with walkers, horse riders, children at play, cows and horses. Minch Old was the first time I have had the pleasure to experience a true common golf scene as one might have found 120 years ago.

There are open views in every direction, but many of the holes have a strangely semi-blind nature from the tee. Usually this is due to a slight rise in the fairway, but there is also a lack of elements such as shaping, bunkers or trees to act as a guide or help with estimating distance.  Below is a view of the Windmill Hole not long after the course opened.
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Modern Routing
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1947 Routing
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Card of the course.
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The opening hole is a short par 5 which turns slightly around a turf wall slashing into the right side of the fairway.  Below is a look at the green and the lovely simplistic shaping of which I have grown very fond.
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The narrow green is quite evident in this photo from right of the green.
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A bruiser par 4, the second turns back on the opener. Heading back up the hill at a slightly diagonal angle, a turf dyke cuts off the approach from the right.  The shaping for this incredibly small and relatively new green (mid 90s?) is obviously modern, however, it works.
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The third is another somewhat blind tee shot which requires one to gain the far right side of the fairway or be left facing the very awkward approach pictured below. In reality there is plenty of room.
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Nevertheless, going long especially in keen conditions is the likely result of approaching from the wrong side of the fairway, but it is no great hardship.
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The simple beauty of Minchinhampton is most apparent on these open grassland holes.  It is clear the fairways are much too narrow given the wind, but in conditions such as this with the rough down (or in winter) it doesn't much matter.
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#5 features another obscured tee shot heading for a squared off green hanging on the edge of a creek valley.  Due to regulations, I believe only six greens can be fenced at the same time and only for repair work.
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We now cross a road to play a curious two-shotter.  Originally the tee was on the near side of the road necessitating a drive over a quarry.  The modern driving line isn't obvious and it may pay to lay up as this par 4 isn't long.  That said,  once spotting a flag through the trees it may be a strong temptation to have at it.  It is easy to get caught up with the aesthetics of the site...and rightfully so.
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The 7th is another hole where one hits into an open fairway with only waves of grass to kill the aggressive instinct.  Livestock can obscure the view!
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The quarry on the left can't be seen until hitting the approach.  To top it off the green is raised from that angle and runs away.  It isn't great golf, but one must certainly think their away around the course.
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Keeping well right off the tee makes life easier.  The modern mounding gives this green away as fairly new (mid 90s).  The original green was located on the far side of the quarry to left.
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Minchinhampton's first par 3 is a hum dinger and may be the best hole on the course.  Humps block out the approach from the right so one must hit in the direction of the treeline.  These photos are forward of the tee.
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There is perhaps 20 yards of open ground between the humps and the green.
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We now cross another road and head away from the attractive stone's-throw-away village of Amberley to play the 9th.  We finally encounter a hole which is reminiscent of modern golf with all there is to see!  However, all is not what it seems.  Playing safely right of the quarry (evidenced by trees on the left) leaves a dreadful angle in which one will do well to hit the green let alone flag hunt.
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The infectious nature of Minch Old compels some to do cartwheels.
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The home nine starts with a deceptively difficult wee hole which was built in the 90s.  Practically all changes were due to road safety.
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The purple patch continues with Tom Longs.  The hole celebrates (it is the club logo) the post which is the road sign behind the green.  The use of trees on this hole is one of the best I have encountered when the back tee is in play.  Take aim just right of the trees then fire away at Tom Longs Post.  Stroud Brewery brews an ale called Tom Long, named after a mythical highwayman hung and buried at the post.
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The green is quite surprising as it is located in an old quarry!  For some odd reason the orginal green was just in front of the quarry.  The 12th is in the background.  Consider how many holes could fit into that space and it gives an inkling of Minch Old's scale.
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A little guitar work entitled Tom Long's Post: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyjjbE3jhWU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyjjbE3jhWU)

Yes, the golfer must cross another road for the lone par 5 on the back nine; a grassland hole.  I find these open spaces extremely pleasant places to play the game.  The greensite is rather listless these days.  The green used to be located to the right between a dry ditch and the road...again, this may have been changed in the mid 90s.  More road crossing for the very odd 13th for which I am gaining a real appreciation over time.
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The fairway ends at a ditch (part of iron age fort) running diagonally across the fairway.  There is a flag out right, but one cannot see what lies between the tee and the green.  As it turns out, if the rough is light and if one doesn't mind taking on the road, the up the gut approach is much easier.  The further left one goes the worse the angle and the fairway runs out.  Below is a look at the approach from atop the dyke.  One can readily see that approaching from left of this position is problematic.
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Looking back to the tee.  The old fairway is plagued by the road, but this tee shot is still on!
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The next two holes are nothing special.  14 is a newish and tough, but somewhat dull short hole.  15 too is a bit boring, a longish blind two-shotter.  Although, there are some great features near the green which were oddly not used.  However, the one shot 16th is a lovely looking and an excellent hole.  It looks much further than its 150 yards - not quite sure why.  In some ways, this is the perfect par 3. There is a strong element of do or die, but should one fail to hit the target, there are recovery shots. Going over the road is easily done given the carry element of the hole. Its a tragedy that all the quarries aren't as well kept of trees etc as this.
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Left of the green.
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The strongly tilted back to front green is punctuated with contour.
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A painting which appeared in a 1890 edition of the London Illustrated News. This may be the original 14th, currently in the area of the 16th & 17th...not much has changed!
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A very fine drivable par 4, the 17th fairway slopes in a quartering angle left to right and toward the green.  I believe the tee used to be on the far side of the road, creating a much more intriguing angle for the drive.
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A drive in the left rough can leave a struggle for par.  The expertly placed hollow shy of the green can just be seen.
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A look at the green from near the road. 
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Our last road crossing takes place for the final hole.  Once again, I think the tee used to be on the other side of the road making for a far more demanding tee shot.  A tee near the 17th green would also make more sense for the earth works near the green. The hole is now otherwise straightforward except for when the grazing cattle and horses become stubborn.  The cows are released every year on 13 May; called Marking Day because prior to release the cows are held in a pen near The Old Lodge for marking.   
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The horses are on hand to say good bye.
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While the modern clubhouse is directly behind the 18th, the Old Lodge at one time had a club room for members.  Its a shame this still isn't the case as this is a terrific pub.  I had a look at one of the six rooms upstairs and it looked to be comfortable.  One could do a lot worse than stay on the common when touring around!   
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Back in the day.
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Surprisingly, much of Minch Old isn't terribly old and little of the orginal 1890 design remains as the course underwent drastic alterations during and after WWI.  It could well be that some holes from the orginal Ladies course are now part of the Old Course.  The general post WWI routing is fairly well in place and regardless of age the course displays remarkably competent and compelling architecture which can be overlooked given the beautiful site.  On the other hand, because Minch Old is visually alluring, it may be easy to disregard the short-comings of the course such as several road crossings, road noise, lack of movement in fairways, rather one dimensional shaping and green conditions which can be politely called wanting.  I suspect as the course is on common land maintenance restrictions are fairly rigorous....which is a shame as there are bones of what could potentially be an outstanding course.  Even so, if approached in the right spirit, Minch Old is a lot of fun and doesn't require the equivalent purchase of an acre of land to be tempted by its delights.  I am not yet convinced there are any All-England candidate holes, but with so many wonderful holes such as 1, 8, 9, 11, 13, 16 & 17, Minch Old provides more than enough interest.  Like Painswick, it is difficult to award a star because of the maintenance au naturel, but I shall continue to return if only to experience playing proper common land golf.  I might also add that Minch Old seems to play very differently on each visit and I suspect this is largely because it is common land. 2022

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/minchinhampton-and-rodborough-commons (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/minchinhampton-and-rodborough-commons)

A special thank you is due to Col Kurtz, the secret agent of Oxford, for recommending I see Minch Old.  Cheers CK!   

Ciao   
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Dónal Ó Ceallaigh on July 02, 2011, 07:46:15 PM
Sean,

Thanks for another great photo tour of a hidden gem. It looks like a really nice course.

It may not be top flight, but some of the land looks perfect for golf, and as you wrote, there are some great looking holes there, especially the 8th, 16th and 17th and the Tom Longs hole. From the pictures alone, I'd definitely recommend it.

Some of the greens are not fenced, for example the 8th. Did you notice any hoof marks after what looks like a mini-stampeed? I would have though cattle would cause terrible damage to greens, especially when they run.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Phil McDade on July 03, 2011, 09:06:18 AM
Sean:

You may have found your Shangri La -- a course with no bunkers, no apparent water hazards, wide playing corridors, and greens surrounded by plenty of mounding. What more could you ask for?

Fun-looking course -- the greens look tiny in some instances. But love the punchbowl green of Tom Longs!
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Anthony Gray on July 03, 2011, 12:24:39 PM


  Nice thread.That just looks like a very special day.

 AG

Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Robin_Hiseman on July 04, 2011, 09:05:33 AM
Sean:

The Minchinhampton Common course is one that I have very fond memories of.  My Mum lived just outside of Minchinhampton for a few years and whilst working with Hawtree, the new Cherington Course for Minchinhampton Golf Club was the first design work I ever did that got constructed.  Many happy times spent here.  Can there be as small a village to have three golf courses?

I'm delighted that you've got to see this course, as it is one of a select grouping of Cotswold limestone common courses that could best be described as 'rustic'.  I'd put Painswick and Cleeve Hill in the same bracket, with Cleeve Hill being the most formal of the three, which isn't saying much given how basic it is.  Minch Old is probably the most natural course I've ever played, and your photos demonstrate this.  The cattle and horses are permanent features and for large parts of the summer the fairways are barely distinguishable amongst the wild flowers. 

The course used to be even more interesting than it is now, for until the mid 1990's the layout played to different greens at the 2nd, 7th and 12th.  These greens were axed as part of a safety audit compiled by old Fred Hawtree and I believe it was possibly the last consultancy work he did. 

The old 2nd green was much further down the hill to the left of the current green.  It sat on a narrow shelf with a precipitous drop to the left.  It was moved to save the houses below from bombardment.

(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchinhamptonOld2.jpg)
Old 2nd green to the left, highlighted in green.

The old 7th green was a brilliant target.  It clung to the edge of the quarry on the right and there was a steep drop off behind down to the road.  Any sliced drive had to play over the quarry to reach the green.  From memory I don't think the visiblity of the green was too good either.  It was moved away from the road to the current location, which is not a patch on the former.

(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchinhamptonOld7.jpg)

Finally, the old 12th green was sited amongst the old iron age earthworks, in a sunken green reminiscent of the 5th at Painswick.  The green was entirely blind, set beyond the humps in Sean's photo.  It was literally on the verge of the road and so was moved.  It was very dangerous but a thrilling approach.

(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchinhamptonOld12.jpg)

I enjoyed the course more in the old configuration, which had lasted a century or more unchanged, but the course is certainly worth a detour if you are looking for the ultimate in pastoral golf. 

You should also take a look at their website, where there are some fabulous photos of the course.  £18 to £22 for a green fee so you can't argue at the value.

http://old.minchinhamptongolfclub.co.uk/index.php
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on July 04, 2011, 11:53:20 AM
Thanks Sean (and Robin)...

First I've heard of the course but look at those open grassland holes with the fairways bleeding in to the wispy rough... Heaven...
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on July 04, 2011, 02:33:44 PM
I concurr with Robin, the course was better in older days, though its still lovely. The 10th got moved as well in the shake up and 17 is played from a different direction, you used to walk behind the road then play across it. 13 and 14 are also victims of the H&S changes and are not for the better and I think 15 is now an easy 4 where it used to be a very long 450 yarder. The 5th green might have got moved out as well (I am not sure). The second was a great 5, strangely a ball would only be trickling and pose no real threat. You are best playing Minch Old in the Spring or in the Winter....it could form part of a great quirky weekend as Painswick, Minch Old and Cleeve Hill are all pretty close. The Open golf championship (Yes, THE OPEN) was nearly played here in the 1890s, Minchinhampton has always been close to the R&A and 100 years ago it was a great strong course much along the lines of Westward Ho!
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tiger_Bernhardt on July 04, 2011, 02:49:51 PM
It is funny. When you were describing the course it sounded like Painswick.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on July 05, 2011, 02:00:05 AM
Donal

For the most part the greens are firm and if it stays dry the cows don't do much damage, however, there were a few greens which showed signs of marks.  Even so, the greens rolled better than they look or ought to. 

Doc

I knew the 7th green had to be located closer to the quarry, but I would have guessed it was further up, not on the other side. 

Yes, the 2nd is odd and I suspected wasn't original because of the 75 yard walk to the 3rd tee.  Still, the turf dyke adds a bit of spice to balance out the dreadful mounding on the left.  Whichever archie did that work should have been far more bold and alpinization like to remain in keeping with the course.  There are a few greens like this which jar the eye, but still work well.

The old 12th green sounds quite good and would make reaching the green in two much more difficult.

Adrian

Could you explain the other changes that Robin hasn't. Also, please relate the Open story. 

It does sound weird to cross the road for 17 tee only to play back over the road!  I like the hole.  I also like 13, but its a weird looking hole.  14 is a bit of a mess and doesn't use the natural features to the left of the green very well, but it is tough. 

I was quite surprised at how very different Minch Old is to Painswick.  There is a far more expansive feel (and much flatter) at Minch Old which I much prefer even though Painswick has most of the better holes between the two.  That said, the turf (and greens) at Minch Old strikes me as superior to Painswick and in most places looks like it would drain well in the winter.

Ciao 
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: James Boon on July 05, 2011, 04:07:04 AM
Sean,

Great stuff! I love the look of Michinhampton Old and will have to give it a try some time. Let me know when you are heading to Cleeve Hill, and If I can make it I'd love to join you?

I can certainly see the Painswick comparison but with Painswick being on a hill, that has quite an impact upon the routing and architecture!

Cheers,

James
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Robin_Hiseman on July 05, 2011, 08:39:30 AM
Adrian

I'd totally forgotten about the old 10th and the other changes, but fortunately I kept my card from my first round there back in early 1992, which reminded me of what the course used to be.  Here it is below.  A pretty grotty score, but given it was March it was almost certainly my first game of the year!  The card gives a clue to the hole yardages you mentioned, though this suggests that 17 is the same today.  The hole graphics have helped me key up a few of the photos that follow.

(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchOldcard.jpg)

The 2nd used to be a par 5.  The current back tee used to be the forward tee.  Here is the old line of play.
(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchOld2CentreLine.jpg)

Here is the old 10th, a short par 3 played directly over the quarry.  The green site is still very much in evidence.  It was VERY close to the road, which is often quite busy, especially at weekends.
(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchOldold10.jpg)

The old 14th used to play OVER the main road and I can remember now waiting for a gap in the traffic!  I've guessed at where the tee used to be to give a yardage consistent with the old card.  The old line in white, the current in yellow.
(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchOld14.jpg)

I think 15 played back over the road, as Adrian suggested.  Old line in white and current line in yellow again.
(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchOld15.jpg)

I never knew that story about the Open championship, but a century ago this would have been quite a beefy golf course.  It is great fun and extremely basic.

Finally, James, here is a an aerial of Cleeve Hill, near Cheltenham.  Very much of the same genre but much wilder, more undulating terrain.  You might struggle to even pick out a course from this picture, but there are some really thrilling shots to be played, coupled with spectacular views.  i'd love to join you and Sean down there for a knock.   
(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/CleeveHill.jpg)
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: James Boon on July 05, 2011, 08:53:15 AM
Robin,

Excellent stuff! I imagine if the roads around Painswick were busier some similar changes would also have been made by now.

These discussions about changes to courses over time are fascinating and when they are kept civil  ;D are one of the great assets of this site! As golf course history and historians often seem more interested in who was Captain in 1957 or whatever, perhaps these discussions are more golf course archaeology?

Thanks also for the aerial of Cleeve Hill. On a closer look, you can see the holes, but fathoming out the routing is tricky.

Cheers,

James
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Robin_Hiseman on July 05, 2011, 09:18:35 AM
James

No time for photoshop but how does this work for you?


(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/CleeveHilllayout.jpg)
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Giles Payne on July 05, 2011, 09:36:50 AM
Sean

Great tour, thanks for this.

The other course that I have played that might be similar is Beverley in Yorkshire - a great fun course.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: John Mayhugh on July 05, 2011, 12:35:08 PM
Sean,
Nice tour.

Were the cattle walking on the 8th green?  Seems that some greens had fencing and some did not.  

I like the look of a number of the holes.  Worth filing away for another time I'm in the area.

The photo of the horses on the 18th made me wonder if those are an underused hazard.  I guess positioning can be a bit tough to control.


Robin,
Thanks for pointing out the link to the club's website.  Some incredible photos.  Makes me want to see the course even more.


Giles,
I was near Beverley a week or so ago, but opted to go see Flamborough Head instead for my Ganton warm-up. Wish I had time for both of them, but the prospect of some sea air won me over.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on July 05, 2011, 01:49:07 PM
Sean & Robin - I dont remember the Hole 17 date change. Its a great hole now and certainly no worse, it crosses 16 now of course and it did not before, the green sits beautifully from the new angle. This hole may have changed before the safety audit, that road at 17 is pretty busy and it seems an obvious thing to do. 270 yards or so would have been the distance from the old tees across the road, it was certainly driveable, I think it was very slightly downhill, but Robin might remember probably had he played from those tees. This is one of those great courses for finding the old features and theres lot to be had. I think hole 6 was played across the road too, google earth might show up some tees adjacent to the 5th green. I seem to remember the 6th as a drive and short iron hole. The 9th tee has crept back as the club lost distance at other holes and the first used to be a long 4, not a short 5. I vaguely remember some talk of playing 2 holes to the left of 11 to replace the problem 12-14 area. It would appear that 15 from Robins scorecard that has not lost length, merely an angle change. It certainly makes me want to go and play this course again.

Robin- I am not 100% sure your diagrams and numbering are right unless its changed recently at Cleeve Cloud, it used to be different than that. I think 3 and 8 are similar uphill holes and the 7th is a downhiller to the clubhouse. It would make some sense if they ommitted 7 and 8 as they create an unesscary tough walk back up to 8. I think 9 to 14 used to follow a big sweepy loop and there was a green set at the edge of the escarpment semi blind as I remember. Certainly room for extra holes here to make way any front nine losses. The 2nd has been altered over the years too, though I seem to recall its back where it was pre 1976. I only played it twice, I must pop up and see Dave Finch the pro, we were assistants at the same time back in the 1.62 days!

In the late 1880s, golf was branching out and the Open looked for new homes and it was looking for English homes, Westward Ho! and Minchinhampton were the strong contenders in the SW, Minch was a strong club with good players and allied strongly with the R&A as it is today. Hoylake and Sandwich became the added two courses to the early rota and in the end the Open never came West, Lytham did not feature until 1926, Birkdale was going to be 1940. Several times Deal has got the Open, 1909, 1920, 1938, 1949 but its been unlucky. Minch is featured in Darwins book and he speaks fondly of it.

Stinchcombe Hill is another course that you would enjoy if you are in the area. It has similar charms but now cows and is more manicured, its a little under 5800 yards though I have just suggested some changes to the club that would see the course just go past the 6000 yard mark and at par 68 would be a very good test. They recently played the county championship here and +7 or something won for 72 holes, thats a dozen strokes more than normal.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Bill Brightly on July 05, 2011, 08:40:08 PM
Sean,

What a charming course. Thanks for another fantastic photo tour.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: JNC Lyon on July 05, 2011, 08:50:01 PM

Minchinhampton's first par 3 is a hum dinger and maybe the best hole on the course.  Humps block out the approach from the right so one must hit near the treeline.  
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/Minchinhampton%20Old%20GC/044.jpg)
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/Minchinhampton%20Old%20GC/045.jpg)



This is what golf is all about.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Robin_Hiseman on July 06, 2011, 04:09:15 AM
Adrian is right about the 17th.  One can just make out the old tee platforms on Google Earth.  Don't remember this angle...it was a long time ago!

(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/MinchOld17.jpg)

Can't see any evidence for a tee near the 5th green but it is quite possible that it was there.

My Cleeve Hill annotated layout is correct as of my last visit there in 2004.  The club website doesn't help with any information on the current layout.  The 13th hole has the green set amongst the old hill fort embankment.  You can see it on the following photo, which gives a good impression of the nature of the course.

 (http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/3396869018_cb5200c615_b.jpg)


And this is the green of the par 3 16th hole, which is played from a tee on the escarpment in the distance.

(http://i992.photobucket.com/albums/af45/jronimo/3914669903_5a8af1abde_b.jpg)


Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on July 06, 2011, 01:20:15 PM
Sean,
Nice tour.

Were the cattle walking on the 8th green?  Seems that some greens had fencing and some did not. 

I like the look of a number of the holes.  Worth filing away for another time I'm in the area.

The photo of the horses on the 18th made me wonder if those are an underused hazard.  I guess positioning can be a bit tough to control.


Robin,
Thanks for pointing out the link to the club's website.  Some incredible photos.  Makes me want to see the course even more.


Giles,
I was near Beverley a week or so ago, but opted to go see Flamborough Head instead for my Ganton warm-up. Wish I had time for both of them, but the prospect of some sea air won me over.

Tucky

For some reason the cows made a beeline straight across the 8th green and one even sniffed the flag.  There were only a few greens fenced off and they seemed to be the most beaten up ones.  I think of Minch Old as a course which deserves a significant day trip...so well worth going out of your way if heading to/from the West Country or London environs.   

Robin & Adrian

Thanks for the comments and images.  Does it strike you as odd that the 17th crossed the road when there was an obvious place for the tee where it currently is?  I would think a cross-over (especially concerning a par 3) is much preferable to crossing a road - twice no less. 

Ciao   
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on July 06, 2011, 03:59:07 PM
I spoke to one of our members today and he is a member at Minch also and lives very near the common.

The 17th was changed quite a long time ago and at that same time the 15th got shunted to the left to avoid the road cross. This road is quite busy I suspect traffic has doubled in the UK in 20 years, sadly the Safety measures were essential. I asked him about 6 and it did play across the road and was quite a meaty hole, I vaguely do remember playing it, but struggle to remember the next one which was once quite tough. My friend also told me that the club are only allowed to fence a green off in order to repair the damage and that only a maximum of 6 at any one time can be fenced.

The old 17th tee position was just over a less used road I suppose and so it made less difference. It was a good hole from there, you could drive the green and you needed to take on the grass quarry, great architecture really in biting off as much as you dare, with old fashioned sticks I guess it needed a good blowy wind to make it and at other times it was not possible. The tee elevation was a fair bit higher than the green and old 17 was very much a stand out hole, possibly the signature hole (lol). Fortunately with the new tee its a good hole, overall it might have been a tad better in its former, but not lots in it.

As a further point I think crossing holes in routings is often taboo in some minds. You will see one Sunday Sean.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Paul_Turner on July 06, 2011, 08:49:36 PM
Nice thread Sean,

This resurrects some fond memories of playing Minch several times when I lived in nearby Horsley in 1995.  Re the changes I definitely remember some of those greens in transition.:  2nd, 7th, 10th.  Perhaps the 13th too but I don't remember the 15th change.

The original 10th was amazing but the 16th was always the favourite there.  It was the first hole I spotted on my first drive up from Nailsworth and left a strong impression....a course that was unique and demanded a second look.

But I did once get chased of the course by a swarm of horse flies (presumably attracted to the cows),  had to leg it from the 14th to the car park!
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on April 02, 2012, 07:12:07 AM
Just bumping for now. For some reason the Search facility won't work on my home computer.

More later.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Niall C on April 02, 2012, 07:44:37 AM
Sean

Great to compare your photos to the tour of the course yesterday where the course was a lot bearer and no livestock wondering about. Not sure which look I prefer but I do know that I preferred Minch to Cleeve Cloud. Possibly because at Cleeve I was getting anxiety attacks every time I looked at the views. Not a course to play if you're scared of heights and wide open spaces ! Mind you I've never played a course with more space than Minch which makes its somewhat ironic they had to move some of the greens for safety reasons.

It was great fun also playing as a fiveball and with no one behind or in front.

Robin

There was an old black and white aerial in the clubhouse which showed the old 13th and 14th with the old 14th green clearly visible. I'm sure the old tee can be identified but unfortunately can't remember where it was and didn't take a photo either, mores the pity.

Re the old tenth, I had a look at the raised area immediately back of the 9th green to see if it was maybe an old tee for the current 11th on the basis that the current tenth was a later addition and what is now the 11th was once the 10th. Knowing now that the old tenth was over to the right makes me wonder if at some point that area was used as a tee for the 10th. It certainly would have been a great shot and simnilar to the 16th.

Niall

Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on April 04, 2012, 04:39:04 PM
Let’s not forget Minchampton.  Initially I thought it might provide a gentle let down back to more usual  golf after the other two, but like Niall I really enjoyed it. 

The course looks beautiful in your pictures Sean but for us there was virtually no difference between the fairways and rough.  With the course spread over a huge area this was the purest form of golf I’ve ever seen.  A  tee and a green.  Perhaps I’d learned from the previous day but I did carefully choose a spot to hit it too and it worked.  The greens are great fun and there are several cracking holes.


I’m back in the area in September and if my brother in law brings his clubs along for their annual  airing, it will be the perfect place to take him. Fun for both of us.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on April 04, 2012, 07:28:58 PM
Spangles

I too have a lot of time for Minch Old as it offers a very pleasant game of golf in a unique setting.  I really like the grassland look and simplicity of holes like #s 4, 9, 10 & 12.  The 9th is one I especially like. 

If you do make it back to The Cots let me know.  If its a nice day I just may join you. 

Ciao
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on February 22, 2013, 10:06:22 AM
Sometimes you see photos of a course and you just have to play it.

That's how I felt when I read Seans piece about Minchinhampton Old, looked at his photos plus the comments and plans that others have kindly followed up his initial post with and also reviewed the photos on the clubs own website.

So I went and played it recently. What a lovely friendly and relaxed club it is and what a delightful treat to play a well, almost entirely natural course. I can't think of another word to use to describe it.

No sand bunkers, no artificial ponds, no watering system, the landscape only significantly altered by iron age folk thousands of years ago with later changes from small scale quarrying to construct local buildings etc over the centuries. Great stuff. Humps and hollows around the greens built for golf purposes, yes, there are a great deal of these, and cunning they are too, but none seemingly made by machines, just men and boys with spades and horse drawn carts and scoops. And the course played great. Soft, lush, over-watered greens? No way!. Instead delightfully firm and fast and true putting surfaces. The par-3 8th and the par-3 16th are particularly memorable, but there are lots of good holes as well. Disappointingly there was no livestock to be seen on the course, removed for the winter period apparently.

Interestingly, I played with some juniors, lads who had never played or even envisaged a course like this before, and they just loved it. Perhaps there's hope for the future of the game after all.

All the best.
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tom Culley on February 23, 2013, 10:13:25 AM
Thanks for bumping this thread, it's a course i wasn't aware of and now must play it.


Website says that greenfees are only £20, it might be a nice place to arrange a GCA day in the summer!
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on February 24, 2013, 06:58:47 PM
Thomas & Tom

Glad you enjoyed the course Thomas.

I am happy to meet up for a game at Minch Old.  Lets plan on a weekend date in the near future.

Ciao
Title: Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tom Culley on February 24, 2013, 07:11:30 PM
That sounds like a good plan Sean.

I have Easter break coming up and so will be back in Buckinghamshire, the drive to Minchy shouldn't be too bad. Will the days be long enough to tie in a game at Cleeve on the same day?
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on October 13, 2015, 06:58:17 AM
Returned recently to play one of my favourite courses.


While going round I attempted to photograph the positions where folks believe some of the former greens/tees, as mentioned above and in various sat-maps etc, were located.


Below - the site of the former par-5 (?) 2nd green, hanging off the side of the hill, now with cattle trough installed!!
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1030025_zpssze68ggo.jpg)


Below - 5th green with just about visible former tees for the par-4 6th hole. These tees meant the drive on the 6th would have had to carry the road and also the quarry workings plus later on cross the iron age fortification ditch. Some shots with hickories and a yee olde golf ball.
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1030027_zpsozgyjqqk.jpg)
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1030028_zpsbngmagg0.jpg)


Below - the 7th green was on the far side of this quarry, approx in the area where the top of the earth pathway is in the centre of the photo. The hole didn't play across the quarry but rather came in from the left hand side. I wonder if the 8th tee was in a different location to the present as well?
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1030035_zpslpolbaij.jpg)


Below - the par-3 10th formally played across this quarry to the plateau on the far side very close to the road. Cool shot, shame about the road. The old green is now sometimes used as a carpark.
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1030036_zpsnmmcvw1b.jpg)


Below - the par-5 12th - the former green was over the iron age fortification bank close to the road. Again, cool shot, shame about the road.
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1030043_zpscjwpkcub.jpg)
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1030044_zpssusyra4a.jpg)


I didn't get to photograph any other greens or tees although I realise that some of the other holes later in the round have been tweaked over the years (as can be seen from the maps posted above).


Splendid course to play. One you ought to be able to learn quite a bit about architecture and construction from visiting and enjoy good golf as well.


No reason for the following photo other than it highlights rather nicely some aspects of what to expect at Minch' Old.
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1030054_zpshkqp5ia3.jpg)


atb





Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on September 20, 2016, 04:53:45 AM
A mention on another thread has prompted me to post a couple of pre-1900 photographs of Minch' Old showing two greensites that are no longer in play but are still visible to the eye (see also post above).


Firstly, the original par-3 10th hole, a hole NLE due to the very close proximity of the then green to the now road. The 10th hole though is still played as a par-3 but from a different tee to a very different, although rather nice, greensite.
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1040746_zpsnp7fa7lx.jpg)


Secondly, although numbered the 17th in the olde photo I suggest this green perched on the side of the hill could be what was later re-numbered as the 2nd hole until it (the 2nd) was itself moved to its present location higher up the hillside.
(http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/thomasdai/P1040747_zps8zutlyrr.jpg)


atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tom_Doak on October 01, 2016, 05:29:50 PM
I played 14 holes at Minchinhampton Old today with Thomas and his son, before we were run off the course by a large thunderstorm.  What a treat!  What a shame there is no golf in America anything like it ... Garden City is probably the closest approximation, but Garden City doesn't have nearly as many interesting hazards as Minch Old does.


If I were writing The Confidential Guide again today, Minchinhampton Old might be in the front somewhere.  It's a relatively easy course because you can find the most wayward of shots, but it's great fun and wonderfully natural, even though most of its "natural" hazards were made by men long before the golf.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on October 01, 2016, 07:03:47 PM
Tom

Glad you enjoyed Minch Old...it really is a good design even if a bit rustic.  If you are gonna keep seeing the wee courses of England I will have to drag you to Church Stretton.  Some thrilling hilly golf which makes it a bit better than Minch Old, but plagued with a few terrible downhill holes. Of course, first up has to be Cleeve Cloud....

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on October 02, 2016, 12:44:09 PM
Glad you enjoyed visiting Minch' Old Tom. It really is rather unique and quirky and has a certain yee olde charm what with the vast open expanse of the circa 800 acre common it plays on and the humps and hollows and quarries and Iron Age fortifications that you are required to play around and over on many of the holes. A wonderfully laid back place as well and with only two greenkeepers and the cattle to maintain it.
There are some wonderful photos here - http://old.minchinhamptongolfclub.co.uk (http://old.minchinhamptongolfclub.co.uk)
Atb


Later edit - here's is Tom D's summary of Minch' Old -


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E0Poj9sXEAABtJW?format=jpg&name=large)
 

Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on October 02, 2016, 06:54:47 PM
Its only a fraction of the course it used to be. The H & S rules wrecked it 20 years ago. Quite sad you never saw her properly.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Robin_Hiseman on June 11, 2017, 04:46:30 AM
Time to bump this back to the top.


There are rustic golf courses...and then there is Minch Old.


Paid a return visit to Minch yesterday in the company of Tom Kelly (a first timer) and Sean Arble (an old hat). It had been far too long since I'd acquainted myself with the place, but assuredly, as the thread title suggests, nothing much had changed.


All the usual Minch charms were on show. Before we'd even reached the 1st green, Sean had baptised his Ecco's with a moist cow pat. The 3rd green was colonised by a full herd of cattle, one of whom, as Sean later put it, had "lost its guts" spectacularly across the putting surface. The electric fences around the greens were just a tad too high to hurdle comfortably. Alarmingly close to the old wedding tackle. We teed off on the 6th over an assortment of cows, bullocks, calves, horses and even a donkey. Tom thought it a good time to hit a 3 wood off a low tee. I couldn't tee mine high enough, with the inevitable skyer ensuing. The ice cream van was there. The roads through the course were packed. Tom hit an approach shot to the 11th underneath a van, which was parked...some...way..to the left of the hole! It rained for a couple of seconds, causing the Tin Man much distress and between us we nobbled it around quite effectively, with Tom striping it down the wafer thin fairways and putting like a God on bumpy, slow and somewhat organically supplemented greens. The heavens opened as we walked off the course, which always feels like you've managed to put one over on the Big Man upstairs.


We spent a fair amount of time looking back at the abandoned features of the old layout, which is why I've brought this thread back up. I'd forgotten some of the changes, particularly the fact that 14 played across the road on the approach. The replacement par 3 is the weakest hole on the course. I remembered that the par 3 10th was a new hole and showed Tom the old green ledge hard against the roadway. The abandoned 12th green is much missed. This was an extraordinary green site, set blind beyond high earthworks with a hidden moat surrounding the front and left of the green, with the busy road not 5 yards from the right edge. I played it once, back in 1992 and it was unforgettable.


We debated the current layout of the 13th hole extensively and as I thought, the fairway used to play between the high ridge and the road. That's where I massively blocked my drive...in honour of past times!


It's a shadow of its former glorious layout, but retains more than enough charm to make you want to come back. We played at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and they charged us just £12. British golf offers value like nowhere else can if you venture off the beaten track.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Mark_Rowlinson on June 11, 2017, 10:16:17 AM
As usual, Sean gets it just right. I like the way he is able to see greatness in lesser courses. I'm happy that he enjoyed Welshpool, some posts ago - even if he went without me. I would like him to make a foray to North Wales and to Holywell in particular. It's not a great course and there are one or two also rans, but there is a terrific stretch of moorland golf of the highest quality for a minimum green fee. I think he'd appreciate the sheep roaming the course.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on June 11, 2017, 11:42:49 AM
Shame I wasn't able to come along.
Minch' Old is pretty cool now but as both Adrian and Robin suggest it must have been really something more when the 2nd played to the green above the cliff (see old photo above) the 6th played over the road, the 7th went left to the old green site (where was the 8th tee then?), the short 10th played over the quarry (see other old photo above), the 12th played to the over-the ramparts green right next to the road, the 13th with a tee-shot right of the diagonal ditch-rampart, the 14th crossing a couple of roads and both the 15th and 17 crossing one road as well.

Love the phrase "organically supplemented greens". Very apt :)
Fascinating place, golf as it once was, maybe not for every golfer what with the animals etc and best in the week rather than at a weekend, but a unique golfing experience, one I would encourage all to try if the opportunity presented itself.
I like the thought of the Icecream Van - "Two choc ices, a Magnum and a 99 please"!
Atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Duncan Cheslett on June 11, 2017, 02:47:00 PM
As usual, Sean gets it just right. I like the way he is able to see greatness in lesser courses. I'm happy that he enjoyed Welshpool, some posts ago - even if he went without me. I would like him to make a foray to North Wales and to Holywell in particular. It's not a great course and there are one or two also rans, but there is a terrific stretch of moorland golf of the highest quality for a minimum green fee. I think he'd appreciate the sheep roaming the course.




I played Holywell earlier this year on Mark's recommendation, and can confirm that it is of terrific rustic quality - particularly the epic back nine. If you fancy making Holywell our venue on July 16th Sean, I would be delighted to make the trip.


http://www.holywellgc.co.uk/ (http://www.holywellgc.co.uk/)


Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on June 11, 2017, 07:42:05 PM
Mark

Welshpool blew me away...it went straight into the top 10 of my Happy 100. Nobody ever mentioned how interesting the greens are. Thanks for the kind words and reco all those years ago.

I had a strange happening after getting back from Minch Old.  I definitely wasn't enamoured with the course as much as previously due to quite narrow fairways mixed with rough.  But, I noticed more cool stuff and think more highly of Minch Old than previously....it offers a very pleasant game.

I played Cleeve Cloud in the wind today...brutal!  In 30mph wind one really notices the three longest par 4s (4, 12 & 13...all 430+) are into the prevailing wind...and none were remotely reachable for me today. 

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Peter Pallotta on June 12, 2017, 03:46:48 AM
Made me sentimental, this thread did -- remembering what's special about golf. That the game and its fields of play can encompass/ express both the Minhinhamptons of the world and the Augustas, the Painswicks and the Pine Valleys, makes it unique, and lovely.
And smack dab in the middle (give or take): the Cleeve Clouds and Sherwood Forests and Notts. Something very sane and healthy about such courses; it's not a surprise that someone like Sean gravitates towards them. If a man loves even one thing, just for itself, and cares not a whit about what anyone else thinks of it, he's thereby armed against most of the devil's snares.
Peter
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 12, 2017, 04:22:17 AM
Made me sentimental, this thread did -- remembering what's special about golf. That the game and its fields of play can encompass/ express both the Minhinhamptons of the world and the Augustas, the Painswicks and the Pine Valleys, makes it unique, and lovely.
And smack dab in the middle (give or take): the Cleeve Clouds and Sherwood Forests and Notts. Something very sane and healthy about such courses; it's not a surprise that someone like Sean gravitates towards them. If a man loves even one thing, just for itself, and cares not a whit about what anyone else thinks of it, he's thereby armed against most of the devil's snares.
Peter


Notts has _very_ little in common with the likes of Cleeve and Minchinhampton, Peter -- it is an honest to god championship course, ranked in the top 20 in England (and many would say it should be higher) and measuring 7,250 yards off the back tees.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Peter Pallotta on June 12, 2017, 04:30:56 AM
Adam - yes, probably way too much golf course for me, even though I picked it recently as my imaginary ideal club to belong to! I just included it because, in its way, it looks to me to lay almost as gently upon the ground as do so many of the (much more modest and much less heralded) inland courses. Nothing much in common with Minchinhampton certainly (or even with the in-the-middle courses like Cleeve Cloud for that matter) - more like a less august version of Walton Heath, to my eyes - but they all share an aura of peacefulness and simplicity that's very appealing.     
Peter
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Matt Dawson on June 12, 2017, 08:16:56 AM

All the usual Minch charms were on show. Before we'd even reached the 1st green, Sean had baptised his Ecco's with a moist cow pat. The 3rd green was colonised by a full herd of cattle, one of whom, as Sean later put it, had "lost its guts" spectacularly across the putting surface.

Robin, can you confirm whether this particular high-maintenance greenkeeping regime is only in force for the “annual member-guest tourney”, or can the cattle be relied upon to maintain this presentation schedule year-round?

 ;D
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Robin_Hiseman on June 13, 2017, 06:01:22 AM
Matt

Minch has consistently shit greens during the summer months.  ;)
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: jeffwarne on June 13, 2017, 07:12:20 AM



All the usual Minch charms were on show. Before we'd even reached the 1st green, Sean had baptised his Ecco's with a moist cow pat. The 3rd green was colonised by a full herd of cattle, one of whom, as Sean later put it, had "lost its guts" spectacularly across the putting surface. The electric fences around the greens were just a tad too high to hurdle comfortably. Alarmingly close to the old wedding tackle. We teed off on the 6th over an assortment of cows, bullocks, calves, horses and even a donkey. Tom thought it a good time to hit a 3 wood off a low tee. I couldn't tee mine high enough, with the inevitable skyer ensuing. The ice cream van was there. The roads through the course were packed. Tom hit an approach shot to the 11th underneath a van, which was parked...some...way..to the left of the hole! It rained for a couple of seconds, causing the Tin Man much distress and between us we nobbled it around quite effectively, with Tom striping it down the wafer thin fairways and putting like a God on bumpy, slow and somewhat organically supplemented greens. The heavens opened as we walked off the course, which always feels like you've managed to put one over on the Big Man upstairs.


.


Top 5 GCA paragraph ever.


Great thread
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on June 13, 2017, 08:17:15 AM
No cattle over the winter. Early May to late Oct is when they're usually out and about.
atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on August 11, 2018, 07:58:32 AM
Well, ATB dragged Ran and myself to Minch Old for a bit of golf.  We'll see what Ran makes of the place once he wipes the drool from his chin.  My opinion of the course continues to rise despite playing over what I hope will be the worst greens I see in a long time! Golf is an outdoor game, but jeepers.  That said, the greens were comfortably the fastest I have seen in quite some time.  It would have been great to see them before the recent rain because I am told they were at 13+.  I didn't believe it until I whacked several putts...well long.  However, tee to green, the course was in top nick with the best rough I have seen in years. Anyway, see the significantly updated tour. 

www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48765.msg1101368.html#msg1101368 (http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48765.msg1101368.html#msg1101368)

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 11, 2018, 08:24:28 AM
Some great updated photos in Sean’s photo tour above. Well worth scrolling through.
As to the greenspeed, more like 13++++, and that was uphill! :) :) Decidedly bumpy and uneven putting surfaces though as there is no irrigation system and only a limited number of greens have fences around them to keep the grazing cattle off and this summer in the U.K. has been unusually hot and dry.
From tee to green this course is a bit special though. Narrow fairways but wide playability given the whispy but easily ball-finding rough and no sand bunkers.

A course with charisma.
A unique golfing experience.
Once played, never forgotten (in a good way).
If you like your golf courses manicured and immaculate, go elsewhere, but if you like to experience something out of the ordinary, something akin to how golf was 100+ years ago, then find a way to play this remarkable course.
Minch’ Old is probably at its best during the winter and in March-April-May the greens can actually be a real pleasure to putt on as the animals aren’t on the common during that period and the putting surfaces won’t have dried out as they inclined to do in the summer, especially a summer as relatively severe as this year has been in the U.K.
Play this course!
Atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on August 15, 2018, 05:00:07 AM
ATB

I am one to think that all courses could benefit from some bunkering even if very light.  The trick at a place like Minch Old is to keep a good balance.  At Cleeve Cloud bunkers could help separate the many blind tee shots...instead bunkers are greenside and don't do much help the design.  At Painswick bunkers could be used to save balls from death on the more severe holes to counterbalance the terrain.  At Minch Old I can imagine good bunkers going in

1. 1 between the turf wall and the green
12. for the drive
14. Something to visually help the hole
15. See 14.

However, when I see only four holes which could really use some help and I imagine help could also be provided using other features, I am left wondering if ALL courses really could be helped by sand without risking a muck up.   

Are folks easier on evaluating places like Minch Old because of no bunkers, earthworks and maintenance au naturel? I love the course, but it wouldn't make my 100 best GB&I.

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tom_Doak on August 15, 2018, 12:19:21 PM

Are folks easier on evaluating places like Minch Old because of no bunkers, earthworks and maintenance au naturel? I love the course, but it wouldn't make my 100 best GB&I.



Oh, no question about it, we tend to be charmed by a little place like Minch Old and look for strengths of the course, instead of looking for weaknesses.


It's human nature.  When somebody opens a brand new course with aspirations of greatness we start looking for flaws, because they're asking for it with their marketing and naked ambition.  Cows and sheep are easier to forgive.


There is no question you could make Minch Old "better" if you added some bunkers or redesigned a few greens or the like.  But it's not the place for that.  Its appeal is that it calls into question whether anyone really needs "better" or whether we are all trying much too hard.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 15, 2018, 12:46:26 PM
I wouldn't add sand bunkers to Minch' Old not only because I think they'd be quite simply inappropriate - I wouldn't add them to Painswick either and I don't think much of the ones that Cleeve Cloud already has - but because it's an upland Common rather than a native sandy area and also because the folks who walk and play on the Common and the animals that graze it and are exercised by their owners on it would trash them which would not only be a hassle to playing golfers but also to those who maintain the course/Common.
For example, a cow or horses misplaced hoof can do considerable damage to a bunkers face which will cost time and money to repair and animal shit in bunkers (ie hazards) isn't the most edifying material to interact with when your ball or stance are effecting it and there's no free drop available.
The only things I'd change about Minch' Old is to have fences around every green plus some form of decent greens irrigation, both of which I believe are not acceptable to those who oversee the Common.
atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Peter Pallotta on August 15, 2018, 12:55:08 PM
Ah, what we 'want' vs what we 'need' -- the ubiquitous choice/struggle of the modern, western world so historically unparalleled in riches. A saint who was assigned onerous administrative & public duties when he was naturally suited for and much preferred the anonymous contemplative life was asked about it - and he answered 'Oh, yes, I'd like to be at a secluded forest retreat - but of course I don't want what I would like'. For the rest of us, I suppose we all have our duties and destinies -- yours, Tom, appears to be to try hard to do "better", so keep doing what you're doing. There are others whose (equally honourable) task is to create the 'good enoughs', to meet our needs instead of our wants, so it all works out just fine. The best of all possible worlds.
P
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tom_Doak on August 15, 2018, 04:39:32 PM
Ah, what we 'want' vs what we 'need' -- the ubiquitous choice/struggle of the modern, western world so historically unparalleled in riches. A saint who was assigned onerous administrative & public duties when he was naturally suited for and much preferred the anonymous contemplative life was asked about it - and he answered 'Oh, yes, I'd like to be at a secluded forest retreat - but of course I don't want what I would like'. For the rest of us, I suppose we all have our duties and destinies -- yours, Tom, appears to be to try hard to do "better", so keep doing what you're doing. There are others whose (equally honourable) task is to create the 'good enoughs', to meet our needs instead of our wants, so it all works out just fine. The best of all possible worlds.
P


Oh, Peter, I disagree.


I've long since come around to the idea that golf needs more of the "good enough" projects and fewer of the "better", and I've been trying to direct people's attention in that direction.  Indeed that's what my books are all about.  And anytime we get a chance to build something alternative and smaller and less "better" I jump on it.  But I've never had the opportunity to lay out something on a Common.


But when a lot of your clients are billionaires [or, trying to compete with the billionaires] and they are asking for "better" and "top 50", you are just not going to sell them on a course grazed by animals and there is little point in trying. 


P.S.  Mike Keiser [who is not a billionaire, or at least wasn't then] actually tried some sheep at The Sheep Ranch, but it did not even last until the course was opened.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on August 15, 2018, 06:19:17 PM

Are folks easier on evaluating places like Minch Old because of no bunkers, earthworks and maintenance au naturel? I love the course, but it wouldn't make my 100 best GB&I.


Oh, no question about it, we tend to be charmed by a little place like Minch Old and look for strengths of the course, instead of looking for weaknesses.

It's human nature.  When somebody opens a brand new course with aspirations of greatness we start looking for flaws, because they're asking for it with their marketing and naked ambition.  Cows and sheep are easier to forgive.

There is no question you could make Minch Old "better" if you added some bunkers or redesigned a few greens or the like.  But it's not the place for that.  Its appeal is that it calls into question whether anyone really needs "better" or whether we are all trying much too hard.

Tom

The appeal of Minch Old for me is the beauty of the site and shared land, a concept which I find one of the coolest I have seen in golf.  So, making it better doesn't seem like a chore to me even though I know it ain't gonna happen...Minch Old is what it is.  Yet to me the course is out of balance, probably because there isn't much elevation change to overlook the repeated use of earthworks and flatish greens.  If I lived nearby it may be good enough to join if the price is right, but I bet membership is expensive relative to a cost of a round.   

ATB

I reluctantly agree re Minch Old and Painswick, but certainly not Cleeve Cloud. The course has bunkers, but its a bad bunker scheme.  A better scheme would greatly enhance the course.

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Ira Fishman on August 15, 2018, 06:21:41 PM
Peter,


Back to your one word, two word recent thread about the best of all possible worlds.  I said "no" because of "money". And what I had in mind is largely what Tom's post articulates.  We have a bifurcated world: wonderful developments that are very expensive to play and unfortunately not a lot on the other end of the spectrum or even in between.


Ira
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on August 15, 2018, 06:35:28 PM
Ira

I can't presume to know anyone's financial situation and I do understand your point about the current trend of building expensive resorts in far flung places which are not environmentally friendly in terms of the travel carbon footprint.  I do, however, find if one is willing to dig there are plenty of affordable courses which are both good and provide lasting interest.  Sure, one must lower expectations in terms of design and maintenance, but that is the case for any product...no? 

The really interesting thing I have discovered this summer is the best courses have suffered just like the wannabees have.  It would seem even relatively rich clubs don't want to spend their way through a drought and ask their members to put up with much less than ideal green conditions even though fairways are excellent and required less attention than normal.  I have played only one course this summer which has kept its greens in decent nick through the drought and it had a horrible fire!

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Peter Pallotta on August 15, 2018, 06:38:19 PM
Ira - yes, I understand and in my heart I agree; but as Tom's (very interesting) post suggests: the billionaires always want the best, and, since the world will always have billionaires (and since 'the poor will always be with us'), it sure feels like bifurcation is an inevitability in this best of all possible worlds. Now, that's not to say that I don't want or dream about the impossible...just that I'm expecting to have to wait quite a while longer for it...
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on August 15, 2018, 07:08:29 PM

Are folks easier on evaluating places like Minch Old because of no bunkers, earthworks and maintenance au naturel? I love the course, but it wouldn't make my 100 best GB&I.


Oh, no question about it, we tend to be charmed by a little place like Minch Old and look for strengths of the course, instead of looking for weaknesses.

It's human nature.  When somebody opens a brand new course with aspirations of greatness we start looking for flaws, because they're asking for it with their marketing and naked ambition.  Cows and sheep are easier to forgive.

There is no question you could make Minch Old "better" if you added some bunkers or redesigned a few greens or the like.  But it's not the place for that.  Its appeal is that it calls into question whether anyone really needs "better" or whether we are all trying much too hard.

Tom

The appeal of Minch Old for me is beauty of the site and shared land, a concept which I find one of the coolest I have seen in golf.  So, making it better doesn't seem like a chore to me even though I know it ain't gonna happen...Minch Old is what it is.  Yet to me the course is out of balance, probably because there isn't much elevation change to overlook the repeated use of earthworks and flatish greens.  If I lived nearby it may be good enough to join if the price is right, but I bet membership is expensive relative to a cost of a round.   

ATB

I reluctantly agree re Minch Old and Painswick, but certainly not Cleeve Cloud. The course has bunkers, but its a bad bunker scheme.  A better scheme would greatly enhance the course.

Ciao
It is interesting that Painswick & Cleeve Cloud have made the English top 100 courses in a recent magazine. I like both of these and I like Minch old but........very few Gloucestershire golfers like them enough to join them, those that do often do it because the price is very cheap, we just played a seniors match against CC, a few of our team absolutely hated it, they disliked the sharing with sheep, they hated the slopes and ball movement, they hated the unirrigated greens, they hated the blindness. I managed to convince a few of some merits of CC but overall the main dislike was the quality of the green surfaces, in the discussion we had it was hard to find over riders for this. A few did like the overall architecture of CC, Painswick and Minch old (also known as Amberley). Painswick can't raise a seniors team which is kind of a worrying sign, I am not sure we could raise a team either for the away fixture, whilst a few love it many many more loathe it, even the ones that love it still cite the green surface quality as the reason they would not join or want to play more. I know hundreds maybe its more than a thousand golfers that live within 30 minutes of Painswick that have never played it, yet if I posted a pic on my facebook of a hole at Painswick it would get loads of likes and people would ask where it is, when I try an get people to play it one of the fourball will talk the others out of it. Booking groups there is the same problem they think about it and listen to the condition problems, lack of length, lack of buggies. Those that I have convinced to give it go range from love it to hate it, but people golf in packs of 4 or more and its hard to get them to return as 4 that loved it. Minch Old has the most fans as it plays pretty normal and at times is in good nick. In a wet summer with the rough up and cattle out, it is about as horrible as a round of golf can get. In April they have a pro-am and the pros give it a big tick. Hard to know who is right and who is wrong Minchinhampton GC has 54 holes and have 1500 members but nearly all would have the 'Old' third best.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Peter Pallotta on August 15, 2018, 07:45:23 PM
Adrian - thanks very much for such an in depth, detailed and interesting post. I have to admit: while the variety of fields of play make me a little weepy and sentimental, 'Timeless Minchinhampton' looks to be much *too* Timeless for my tastes. Call me boring and bourgeois, but I think I'll take Reigate Heath instead....
Thanks again
P

Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Ira Fishman on August 15, 2018, 08:06:44 PM
Ira - yes, I understand and in my heart I agree; but as Tom's (very interesting) post suggests: the billionaires always want the best, and, since the world will always have billionaires (and since 'the poor will always be with us'), it sure feels like bifurcation is an inevitability in this best of all possible worlds. Now, that's not to say that I don't want or dream about the impossible...just that I'm expecting to have to wait quite a while longer for it...


Peter,


I am loathe to introduce political economy into this terrific thread (although I do Chair the Board of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth which has deep insights on the topic of inequality) so I will limit my point to the fact that there was a time not all that long ago that plenty of “good enough” public courses were being built in the US. That no longer is the case and many of the existing ones struggle.


Ira
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tom_Doak on August 15, 2018, 08:35:17 PM
Adrian - thanks very much for such an in depth, detailed and interesting post. I have to admit: while the variety of fields of play make me a little weepy and sentimental, 'Timeless Minchinhampton' looks to be much *too* Timeless for my tastes. Call me boring and bourgeois, but I think I'll take Reigate Heath instead....
Thanks again
P


I think you underestimate the course.  There are several holes and features that would make anyone who appreciates architecture giddy with delight.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Duncan Cheslett on August 16, 2018, 01:12:18 AM
Minchinhampton GC has 54 holes and have 1500 members but nearly all would have the 'Old' third best.


I've not yet been there but I  did play with a member of Minchinhampton in an open at Tenby in June. He was effusive about the place but on questioning it was clear that the Old course seldom featured in his golfing schedule!


Edited to add;


On perusing the club website I see that "Full Membership" does not even include playing rights on the Old course - merely concessionary green fees.


http://minchinhamptongolfclub.co.uk/join-us/membership-categories-and-fees/ (http://minchinhamptongolfclub.co.uk/join-us/membership-categories-and-fees/)





One gets the distinct impression that the rather dull looking new courses outside town are where the action is...

Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 16, 2018, 03:25:31 AM
Minch' Old, Painswick and Cleeve are different to the norm, they are marmite courses, some love them, some hate them and Adrian sums this up nicely in his post above.
As to the other 2 modern courses near Minchinhampton, I'm not a fan of the Avening but like the Cherrington.
There is actually an all 3-course Minchinhampton membership deal but it's rather confusingly called a "3-course Joint Membership" which kind of suggests more a meal for a couple than individual membership at a golf club! The difference between a full 2-course and a full 3-course membership is just over £200, which doesn't seem excessive to spread some marmite to your usual toast, if you like marmite that is!
The Cherrington incidentally held regional qualifying for The Open last month and the participants murdered it, crazy low scoring.


atb


PS - I wonder if Saunton and Westward Ho!/RND were only a couple of miles apart on land instead of across the wide estuary and were 1 club what percentage of play would be on the S-East, S-West and WH/RND? Again the marmite question. Curiously enough I myself can't stand marmite but am rather fond of the course at WH/RND and at Minch' Old as well.


Later edit - a couple of my photos of Minch' Old.
From the 10th tee in May/Springtime -
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EITLo_ZX0AACODC?format=jpg&name=small)
From the Clubhouse balcony of the 18th green and fairway in late Summer -
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EIXYiSbXUAAPZgO?format=jpg&name=small)

Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on August 16, 2018, 03:30:02 AM
Adrian - thanks very much for such an in depth, detailed and interesting post. I have to admit: while the variety of fields of play make me a little weepy and sentimental, 'Timeless Minchinhampton' looks to be much *too* Timeless for my tastes. Call me boring and bourgeois, but I think I'll take Reigate Heath instead....
Thanks again
P

I think you underestimate the course.  There are several holes and features that would make anyone who appreciates architecture giddy with delight.

+1 

Because I don't think Minch Old is top 100 doesn't mean it ain't good and obviously so with anyone who cares to pay attention.  I suspect RAF was built with Minch Old very much in mind and if one likes RAF Minch Old should be enjoyed as well.  As an aside, it is interesting to see how different the two courses became over time.  RAF retained much of its man-made penal nature while Minch Old lost some of it.  Perhaps more importantly, RAF developed fairway/rough boundaries while Minch Old has managed to retain their old world blurred lines. I don't see any discernable difference in quality between the two courses, just a difference in membership and thus reputation.  So, RAF is perennial top 100 and Minch Old never gets a mention....

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 16, 2018, 04:21:41 AM
On Common land courses the stance of the body that supervises the Common and the relationship of the club with the supervising body is pretty much the key to what any golf club/course that plays over the Common is able to do and at Minchinhampton the overseeing body is the National Trust.
As a generalisation some of the supervising bodies, and it’s not always the NT, in Scotland there are Links Trust for example, have powers that are even embodied in long ago statutied Acts of Parliament...although it’s probably doubtful that this governs such details as pin positions (!!) but modifications to earthworks can be included. And then there are other factors like SSSI’s etc etc.
Not so simple unfortunately as digging a pit and filling it with sand or installing electric fences around 18 small areas or ploughing a trench to provide greenside irrigation.

This is the clubs summary of its relationship with the Common - http://old.minchinhamptongolfclub.co.uk/club/ecology (http://old.minchinhamptongolfclub.co.uk/club/ecology/)/

Atb
Later photo edit.
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EWnQcXaX0AA8uEQ?format=jpg&name=medium)
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on October 21, 2018, 01:51:24 PM
Took the dog up for a walk to Minch and also Painswick today.


The greens on both courses are really bad, both displaying huge bald patches from the 'no irrigation' of the hot summer.


Largely both courses still looked beautiful aside from greens.


Did not see one person at all playing at Painswick I thought I had remembered a no play on Sunday policy but apparently there were three green fee payers, just saw 1 4ball at Minch. On day like today basking in beautiful sunshine it must be getting close to times up for these courses. Cleeve Cloud has joined the Playmoregolf scheme (something I loathe) so for £325 per year you can play up to 50 times displaying golf at £6.50 a round, Dave Finch (a mate of 40 years) and the pro there said they were down to 200 members, I begged him not to join PMG but he said they were pretty desperate. I have not seen CC greens but I would imagine these clubs will lose a good few of their members with the current state of the greens.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tom_Doak on October 21, 2018, 02:40:27 PM
Adrian:


It's an interesting paradox, but the older something is [if it's not a living organism], the more likely it is to survive.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Ryan Coles on October 21, 2018, 03:13:18 PM
Adrian


It doesn’t help that the Governing Body, England Golf is promoting Play More Golf to the gullible Clubs. Some think if England Golf are on board, it must be good. Never mind that EnglandGolf are on side because it ticks their box of getting an affiliation fee from nomadic golfers, and to hell with more money leaving the Clubs.


I’m bored of all the reports of ‘new members gained’. They should survey on membership revenue, calculate out the annual increase and it will show the true picture.



Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on October 22, 2018, 04:46:34 AM
Adrian


It doesn’t help that the Governing Body, England Golf is promoting Play More Golf to the gullible Clubs. Some think if England Golf are on board, it must be good. Never mind that EnglandGolf are on side because it ticks their box of getting an affiliation fee from nomadic golfers, and to hell with more money leaving the Clubs.


I’m bored of all the reports of ‘new members gained’. They should survey on membership revenue, calculate out the annual increase and it will show the true picture.
+1. Our club has decided not to play any friendly matches against clubs that have joined the PMG scheme but it is hard when England Golf have gifted their logo to them. I could see Painswick joining up!
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on October 22, 2018, 04:52:54 AM
Adrian:


It's an interesting paradox, but the older something is [if it's not a living organism], the more likely it is to survive.
Minch will survive on the back of its other two courses that bring in the honey. Painswick & CC  I am not so sure if very few people are playing it on a brilliant autumn day then what is the point.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on October 22, 2018, 01:35:13 PM
I am not overly concerned about the survival of Minch Old.  Somehow, I think things will work out.  And if not, then folks have voted with their wallets and deserve what they get...which will most likely be less interesting golf for far more money. You can lead a donkey to water...

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on October 22, 2018, 03:10:46 PM
I’m maybe somewhat biased but I reckon that if golf generally were to go belly-up its places like Minch’ Old that would most likely survive.
Rustic courses with no particular frills or airs and graces which if pull came to shove could be maintained by a combination of one or maybe two staff with members helping out as well. Kind of like the origins of many yee olde period or rural clubs. And the golf would still be fun, which as a leisure pursuit is surely the point of the games existence.
Atb


Edit - some colourised photos later added.


Photo 2 is the old quarry hole which was replaced by the current par-3 10th. The original green is now used as a carpark.
Photos 3 and 4 are what was once the 2nd green on the current routing. This green is now the location of a water trough for the grazing cattle.


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D9CXaalXoAApnsQ.jpg)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D9CXaaxXoAAckWF.jpg)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D9CXaarX4AAdHNv.jpg)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D9CXaauWwAAT84D.jpg)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EI3WBzyX0AASTnS?format=jpg&name=small)
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Adrian_Stiff on October 22, 2018, 03:42:25 PM
I’m maybe somewhat biased but I reckon that if golf generally were to go belly-up its places like Minch’ Old that would most likely survive.
Rustic courses with no particular frills or airs and graces which if pull came to shove could be maintained by a combination of one or maybe two staff with members helping out as well. Kind of like the origins of many yee olde period or rural clubs. And the golf would still be fun, which as a leisure pursuit is surely the point of the games existance.
Atb
Minch old will be ok on the back of Minch new. Painswick has flown close to sun a few times, if it has a few that will keep it going without pay it might keep going but on a day like Sunday (both our courses had near full times) it can't be a good sign that both these courses were near empty. Perhaps the walkers and golf just dont mix on Sunday and whilst not technically closed it might just be no fun golfing. I don't know the economics of Painswick or Cleeve Cloud but cheap green fees do not bring in much money. Apart from the condition of the greens both looked great.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 17, 2019, 04:12:52 PM
Three intrepid GCA posters and I ventured to Minch' Old recently. Three of us were on re-plays, although one not for several years, plus we had along one who had traveled 3,000 miles from across the ocean to the west.

Course conditions on the day were somewhat unusual, they normally are in some way or another at Minch ' Old, but more of that as the photos and text progress.

As an aside, from discussions the Club were most appreciative of Ran's visit last year, his Courses by Country review and the inclusion of the course within the 147 Custodians listing. If such helps unique clubs like this survive then all the better.

Here's the par-5 1st green from the left side. Spring flowers galore spread over the humps and hollows. You'll see more of this as you scroll through the photos.
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D6wZ16ZXoAAa-lx.jpg)

Ground conditions for our visit were firm. The greens were very firm and fast, trickily so on approach shots, the ball making a delightful "thump" sound on first landing .... and then running on and on and on! Forget about spin, it was friction that was ultimately stopping approach shots and putts! There was a lot of rough present, and it was thick rough too. Hosel grabbing hack out style. Covered in flowers as well. With no cutting of the rough and no cattle on the common until a couple of weeks ago there's been no way to limit grass growth.

Here's the par-4 6th green as seen from just short of the green
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D6wZ16WWwAEjkwm.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/l5ekKGgX4vVbklsrcPXdjPeonvCJTRqPyq3IUa4aBSyonEXGeyjNZAQH-fTcfMZAvo5J3emmo7Cim1kKGg7xnlMqtnin6B3cqUmo8cMMznCy4i860chA--6Rbw1o19287oenNCKRMqeijjf-Pf6nJMm85dJ-P3lCggTbGeySsqjdP2NdTewPL1nHBcI_pBSccnuJt9SSk0qTCTnJWGFL9I_suO0eNvTHgk0cS-HdGcefsMuR8Q-dv-I6fXFVQLhVZIMWqhr1_sq3A3K2qWQZDaAck2bUopubHhLQnurOoR4JzSItvAvQTx5rtr8ESEb0nocVtjUPgTK8MA0Pyc11ju2UzaZq_t9JeTGbl3w6lfbLdrRhugZzPkEYA8EAap22GlVB-fxKRA_8nC79Ivq0ubDAYykE0rc4NaltaSUPixnzaPXkbRhaZ0crHMLxRL1aVnZtSR_pvCs3RDQ693FzJBURGArilk_5Fe_-PQVUbSaXRbijK56Bqo3QHxfcRDmFyLP3eB9aCBnGFeS_FoQib6z_0SPeCa219iFocZW7g6nztjsan-0wrxZH6wnahfX2GTSTZjbc6OrfveKJ1ozzoABG_vwa4ahE6jGp44TbruZhe-yGy0frVx1Zv3aqinMOdZXepY31qMpdU2ZuDhjzJHxkseGzO9s=w823-h610-no)
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/FcW04xcN-b1nvEkrHfOiTU-i0uSko0R_zqHysokylRhuzm6iUgnHYZRJP0iAerPQsyIGoAj4_by4YzJCBv7I7u5wsP4VxeOoptadoGy-77d8fY-DSN57DZa50_SnBAuNiMYjzVlw1SWtaMwIX_i9EtLaaI-a_xxhO5R91_ICB_C8PSjSjtQk_HKFyD4NdN_ws0i1ayhOAEriwpcu_syNHa2aPIMApvrCvz3LsUcqiFx2MdSpM0619wBE2rILn_nzWOxyONCohOORuUfstVvrmWXiIzWxmGI01z10w2KxzFm1Oe78nHRPv5ZoETXlbATU7ENVzHidGlz0LiHRwGrtOK4kMtAIsa5k-Rqhrb7t0btX_EN2pcfwIq1CzQoy6m__mPn0Vs3ZJKoeXeVHnX0lQKbp1kHfw2OKzRAbu2W8lF39rSn2WSlF019OWEdv4gN63qeWc1U5eyE5K_E_u5b9bsAbKHFEA8LYXKmT5zJHAwggHatXJ6eO7iHs88Ncn9yPr005utgTAmPG5-Lvv2ScmhWtS7VMMBsmmIoRn8BIAWn3bWvKRH1-UJ5laVXHhWdTpK4U4Bp1fHaq2JS72uuH8E01nEQJLrZoZ1K_RPnep656PiTG2l0JkGI4W60naBy_KO5quv67_HwcrvI7pYZTkdkTyuODBCk=w843-h610-no)
As you will see from the photos there wasn't a lot of definition between the fairways and the roughs during our visit.

This is because the course is on Common land, which is shared usage land (farmers, golfers, picknickers, walkers etc etc), and the authority that manages the land insist that the cattle that graze the property have priority during the Springtime when the grass is at its most suitable for bovines. The cattle usually return to the Common in early May and the Common authorities apparently insisted this year that no grass at all (apart form the putting surfaces) be cut for two weeks before the cattle return and two weeks afterwards, ie a four week period.
Now the rough at Minch' Old is never cut, but the fairways usually are, but during the period mentioned above, the fairways haven't been. Hence the fairways have become longer and shaggier than usual, although not unplayably so. And this was the conditions we found during our game.
Unusual? Yes! But hell it only cost £12 each for 18-holes on a unique course on a wonderful weather day in a splendid setting.

Here is the long par-4 11th hole from the tee. Flowers, flowers and more flowers with cattle grazing in the far distance.
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/h9AcGKVq6JEcpVknKEFHwqukv-r9KJFXuWeJHpVUpIUooW0LYCZzHjvvOosTptCxJux6uaEbkOaV_zz_DpBo0TiJKG6kTI-c39XQqNUjfEe3GK0_IGgbaIs_KCYwTGvaLZtr41PzwEFMfV7LOgfY7vJ1YbKCLqlQK825kE569dgj8D4JnHBz9S7EpqliH5UjUzss9ejOdI85uOO5IAJF_fktF1O-5qrl5RJNfEiH4IMZpH4-ZLyb8LksOAom-6OOQVN0-k3fzXHuXUnRxzJooCJMmyLlUJOe29VFg_NdKunc6oXw4ZbmUdmlAT6a1DUKgjUpt536bsUzjP1oUURQqfOG6wEbfe9F2pPYRq-6pC6xNgakbFrk2YEMzkeUGzyCtyhLhDCAitT-fcJhaTJ-3lJUpMZzdLpLnMkARIEGB6t1rNG3t844YL1LHgxqXDfUGrpxXkU8upClbh1JG2PHriMINUhfHFS0XnWreCScNqSFNLoguMMkY-u4kKaV-xT80A2HXiX0AWVHBFgN-U3A6kWdnxIywIjY61RCQCKR61F7jiQJnhkaNf76TMm8ARBO_tXecr3VShlsaVKJixInhg2jDjd0nzsxj5Svc_ljsPLSHDhIHiZDuEA_OBo11VbVhfjowBnfgE9SJCA5qOE0uIiHwEut65A=w878-h610-no)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D6wZ16ZX4AEc8Qn.jpg)

Now here's a thought, given the space available could the course be re-organised very slightly so it could be playable as a reversible routing? Answers on a postcard please!

Below looking from the rear of the 18th green. Again flowers, flowers, flowers everywhere.
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D6wZ16bWkAIUcWR.jpg)

Well that's an update on Minch' Old.

Unique. Spacious. Tranquil. Serene. Golf as it probably was 100+ yrs ago. Maddening and frustrating at times too. But a course that seems to have a special aura all of its own. A Marmite course no doubt, but put aside your golfing ego and vanity for a few hours and go and play it, or somewhere akin to it, and you may well find yourself falling in love with the kind of golf it represents. You never know, you might even learn something about the game too.

atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Jon Wiggett on May 18, 2019, 01:06:10 AM

Thomas,


Sounds like you had a good time. None of your photos are visible though or at least not to me.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 18, 2019, 04:09:19 AM
Thanks John. I'm far from good at posting photos but thought I'd got it right this time as
when I posted them last night they appeared. Um? Thinking cap on time.
atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 18, 2019, 06:17:11 AM
Following expert advice the missing photos have now appeared! See above.
Atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Michael Whitaker on May 18, 2019, 06:34:54 AM
Almost. A few are still missing the "width" instruction.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 18, 2019, 11:35:14 AM
Okay now, I think! Fingers crossed!
:)

Atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Jon Wiggett on May 19, 2019, 02:00:43 AM
Love the look of the course on the photos that are visible Thomas. Photos 3,4&5 still blanks though. ;D
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 19, 2019, 04:27:29 AM
The ‘missing ones’ are I think duplicates Jon. Even with a great deal of much appreciated help from a fellow GCA poster and fellow recent Minch’ Old player I ended up having to pretty much rebuild the whole thread.
Glad you like the look of the course. It really is a bit special, not that I’m biased!!
Long may it, and other courses of its type everywhere, continue to exist. Fancy-free pure golf.
Atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on May 19, 2019, 12:15:03 PM
Thanks for posting and great to catch up with you again.


Somehow a magical place was even more magical presented like that.   Easily ot overlook how many very fine holes it has, so hopefully it won't be such a  long gap until my next visit.
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on July 19, 2021, 02:03:23 PM
Make of the production and the presenters and their comments what you will but these and the additional parts filmed and to follow should give a nice insight into the wonders of golf at Minchinhampton Old -

Holes 1-3 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLfWR25EK2o (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLfWR25EK2o)
Holes 4-6 [size=78%]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HNhH39nvViQ (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HNhH39nvViQ)[/size]
Holes 7-9 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-R-2Z6IOAx8 (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-R-2Z6IOAx8)
Holes 10-12 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BSBkrKKqt3o (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BSBkrKKqt3o)
Holes 13-15 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hHlBVDtgdcU (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hHlBVDtgdcU)
Holes 16-18 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FDvmUjIatpA (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FDvmUjIatpA)



Enjoy.

Atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 12, 2021, 03:41:28 AM
Some recent photos. :)
atb
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxLJOXsAcn_US?format=jpg&name=medium)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxv28XsAAPoal?format=jpg&name=large)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxv2sXEAg1wS1?format=jpg&name=large)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxv2vWUAEjLaZ?format=jpg&name=large)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxv2uWUAMF8js?format=jpg&name=large)
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tim Gallant on August 12, 2021, 06:41:51 AM
Some recent photos. :)
atb
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxLJOXsAcn_US?format=jpg&name=medium)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxv28XsAAPoal?format=jpg&name=large)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxv2sXEAg1wS1?format=jpg&name=large)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxv2vWUAEjLaZ?format=jpg&name=large)
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E8hxv2uWUAMF8js?format=jpg&name=large)


Lovely photos Thomas - and what a lovely course. There's a house just off the (13th?!) that I sent a photo of to Ran. I think he should buy it and turn it into GCAHQ  ;D
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on August 15, 2021, 03:05:38 AM
Some recent photos. :)
atb
Lovely photos Thomas - and what a lovely course. There's a house just off the (13th?!) that I sent a photo of to Ran. I think he should buy it and turn it into GCAHQ  ;D
The Lady who does handstands was certainly very taken with the area during her and Rans visit. :)
atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on September 18, 2021, 03:42:04 AM
Here are some course routing maps going back to the earliest days of golf on Minch' Common. The source is the Clubs history book.
Further routing changes have taken place since the 3rd map (as posted below) to move some complete holes, some tees and some greens away from the public roads that cross the common.
There was once another course nearby. It comprised 9-holes on Rodborough Common and was located near The Bear pub/hotel just a couple of miles further north on Minch'-Stroud road - for more info see - https://www.golfsmissinglinks.co.uk/index.php/england/central-west/gloucestershire/729-glos-stroud-golf-club-rodborough-common-glos
atb


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E_g3neCWEAUpv7Q?format=jpg&name=900x900)


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E_g3qocXoAUD5pe?format=jpg&name=large)


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E_g3qodXIAIQsUv?format=jpg&name=large)
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Thomas Dai on December 03, 2021, 12:00:17 PM
Enthusiasts of Minch' Old and Cleeve Hill might like to know that the two Clubs are holding a joint 2-day/2-course pairs open competition on Wed 28th and Thurs 29th Sept next year, ie 2021.
Entry details are on the Minch' website - https://members.minchinhamptongolfclub.co.uk/competition.php?compid=11429
atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on January 18, 2022, 09:18:20 AM
Here are some course routing maps going back to the earliest days of golf on Minch' Common. The source is the Clubs history book.
Further routing changes have taken place since the 3rd map (as posted below) to move some complete holes, some tees and some greens away from the public roads that cross the common.
There was once another course nearby. It comprised 9-holes on Rodborough Common and was located near The Bear pub/hotel just a couple of miles further north on Minch'-Stroud road - for more info see - https://www.golfsmissinglinks.co.uk/index.php/england/central-west/gloucestershire/729-glos-stroud-golf-club-rodborough-common-glos (https://www.golfsmissinglinks.co.uk/index.php/england/central-west/gloucestershire/729-glos-stroud-golf-club-rodborough-common-glos)
atb


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E_g3neCWEAUpv7Q?format=jpg&name=900x900)


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E_g3qocXoAUD5pe?format=jpg&name=large)


(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/E_g3qodXIAIQsUv?format=jpg&name=large)

Cheers WW!

All

Please see significantly updated tour. The Winter Tour is slowly making progress!  The weather has been shocking until recently  :-[

https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48765.msg1101368.html#msg1101368 (https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48765.msg1101368.html#msg1101368)

Previous Stops on the Tour

Seaton Carew New
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,70404.msg1693517.html#msg1693517 (https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,70404.msg1693517.html#msg1693517)

Cleeve Hill
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html (https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html)

Scheduled Stops for the Tour

Hunstanton
Brancaster
Muirfield
Goswick
Renaissance
North Berwick

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on January 18, 2022, 04:46:21 PM
As usual, Sean gets it just right. I like the way he is able to see greatness in lesser courses. I'm happy that he enjoyed Welshpool, some posts ago - even if he went without me. I would like him to make a foray to North Wales and to Holywell in particular. It's not a great course and there are one or two also rans, but there is a terrific stretch of moorland golf of the highest quality for a minimum green fee. I think he'd appreciate the sheep roaming the course.


Holywell? Anyone else played there?


Timely bump of thread ;)
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
Post by: Sean_A on January 18, 2022, 05:47:33 PM
As usual, Sean gets it just right. I like the way he is able to see greatness in lesser courses. I'm happy that he enjoyed Welshpool, some posts ago - even if he went without me. I would like him to make a foray to North Wales and to Holywell in particular. It's not a great course and there are one or two also rans, but there is a terrific stretch of moorland golf of the highest quality for a minimum green fee. I think he'd appreciate the sheep roaming the course.


Holywell? Anyone else played there?


Timely bump of thread ;)

Spangles

Are you planning to play Holywell?

Ciao
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE: 2021-22 Winter Tour
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on January 18, 2022, 06:47:02 PM
Hope to, but not before March or April.  Will let you know.


Anyone else interested please IM me. 




I am planning a  return to Minchinhampton ;) .
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE: 2021-22 Winter Tour
Post by: Thomas Dai on January 19, 2022, 03:59:36 AM
Hope to, but not before March or April.  Will let you know.
Anyone else interested please IM me. 
I am planning a  return to Minchinhampton ;) .
Holywell sounds interesting. Another course named 'Holywell', the 2nd course at St Enodoc is worth playing as well.
Let me know when your return to Minch' Old is on the cards Tony.
Nice updated photos Sean. Shame I wasn't able to join you. Brrrrrr.....
atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE: 2021-22 Winter Tour
Post by: Thomas Dai on May 05, 2022, 04:59:35 AM
This Minch Old piece is so beautifully written it deserves to be shared - https://richardpennell.substack.com/p/simply-wonderful?s=r (https://richardpennell.substack.com/p/simply-wonderful?s=r)
Well done RP. :)

Atb
Title: Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE: 2021-22 Winter Tour
Post by: Mike Hendren on May 05, 2022, 10:37:14 AM
TD, thanks for the link - beautifully written. Wife and I hope to check out of the complexity of life by village hopping in the Cotswolds next spring.  Goes around Minch Old, Cleve Hill, Painswick and a run up to Sean’s Kington should enhance the therapy.


All the best, Mike.