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Sean_A

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Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #25 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
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #26 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.

Tom Culley

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Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #27 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!
"Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair. But to do what is fair, you need to know the Rules of Golf."

Sean_A

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Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #28 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
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Tom Culley

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Re: THE TIMELESS MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #29 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?
"Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair. But to do what is fair, you need to know the Rules of Golf."

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #30 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!!



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.




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?



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.



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.




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.



atb






Thomas Dai

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #31 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.



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.



atb

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #32 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.

Sean_A

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #33 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
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 08:58:24 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #34 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
Atb


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



 

« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 04:06:29 AM by Thomas Dai »

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #35 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.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Robin_Hiseman

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #36 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.
2022: Al Mouj; Cleeve Hill, Painswick, Minch Old, Weybrook Park, The Astbury, Silloth, Royal Balfron, Strathendrick, Archerfield (Fidra), The Roxburghe, Stoneham, Woburn (Marquess)
Coming Up: JCB, Dunes Club, The Loop, Arcadia Bluffs (South), Crystal Downs, St. Patrick's

Mark_Rowlinson

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #37 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.

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #38 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

Duncan Cheslett

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #39 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/


« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 09:51:09 PM by Duncan Cheslett »

Sean_A

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #40 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
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 07:43:48 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

PPallotta

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #41 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

Adam Lawrence

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #42 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.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

PPallotta

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #43 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
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 04:36:30 AM by Peter Pallotta »

Matt Dawson

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #44 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

Robin_Hiseman

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #45 on: June 13, 2017, 06:01:22 AM »
Matt

Minch has consistently shit greens during the summer months.  ;)
2022: Al Mouj; Cleeve Hill, Painswick, Minch Old, Weybrook Park, The Astbury, Silloth, Royal Balfron, Strathendrick, Archerfield (Fidra), The Roxburghe, Stoneham, Woburn (Marquess)
Coming Up: JCB, Dunes Club, The Loop, Arcadia Bluffs (South), Crystal Downs, St. Patrick's

jeffwarne

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #46 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
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #47 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

Sean_A

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #48 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

Ciao
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 04:42:15 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Timeless MINCHINHAMPTON OLD COURSE
« Reply #49 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

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