Hello all. This is my first post on GCA, but certainly not my last. Just so you know, I am an English golf course architect, based in Scotland, whose notable claim to fame (infamy?) to date is that I redesigned the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch, which has been mentioned on several occasions here.
I will post on that subject soon, but this is all about one of my very favourite courses, Painswick, which I am astonished to discover is a bit of a cult favourite here. You see, I used to live in Painswick and played the course week in, week out and to be honest thought I was the only person around who thought the course was outstanding. If you have never been there then you really must, as it is possibly the best really short golf course in the world (only 4800 yards).
I actually reviewed Painswick for a British golf magazine (FORE!) about seven years ago, as my way of getting knowledge about the course out in the public domain. It's a bit like Pine Valley's stunted twin brother - on Ecstacy! If you like your golf to be full of thrills and surprises then you will love this place, but remember to bring plenty of ammo, as Painswick will swallow your balls quicker than a shoal of piranhas.
Love the idea of a Painswick Ryder Cup. If there are any drop-outs then please count me in. I would love to play my old home course again.
Incidentally, Painswick features heavily in a new book entitled 'Britain's 100 Extraordinary Golf Holes'. The 5th makes it in at No.7 on the list, though the authors concede that it should probably fill five places in the Top 10.
Has anyone else commented on the par sequence of the front nine? I think Forrest Richardson would appreciate a course that goes 4,4,4,4,3,3,3,5,5. The first is only 224 yards long, but I never reached the green. Play it and you will see why.
If you are near Painswick you must try and make time to go a few miles up the road to visit Cooper's Hill. Every May Bank Holiday they hold a Cheese Rolling race, which involves several dozen usually inebriated locals throwing themselves down a near vertical hill after a giant Double Gloucester. The ambulances line up at the bottom with the doors open to catch the out of control cartwheeling victims. It really is quite a sight. Apparently the first one down wins the cheese. I was never tempted myself - don't like cheese.
If you have time then try out nearby Minchinhampton. I co-designed the Cherington Course whilst working for Hawtrees and it's a nice, rustic little track. For more Painswick like thrills, try Cleeve Hill, north of Cheltenham. Skip Minchinhampton Old Course. They spoiled it when they redesigned it a few years back to make it safer, though I would enjoy walking you around the old layout. Now, that was something else. It's still an authentic 19th century golfing experience, but somewhat sanitised.
That's it for my first post. Do I get a gold star yet?