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Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Painswick - Astonished!!!
« on: February 17, 2004, 05:08:08 PM »
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?



2023: Aberdovey, Liphook, Mill Ride (x4), Hillside, Lytham, Delamere Forest, Formby, Birkdale, Carya, Maxx Royal, Cleeve Hill, Sunningdale (Old & New), West Byfleet, Hoylake

ForkaB

Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2004, 06:40:18 PM »
Robin

Welcome aboard!

I regret that I do not have permission from the Generalissimo to hand out gold stars, but I will award you a 3***Michelin rating in the "Best initial post by an Englishman living in Scotland who loves Painwick and knows Dornoch" category.

You are more than welcome to join us at Painswick.  Both sides could use reinforcements, particularly if there is a tragic cheese rolling accident in the cards, not to mention potential MIA's in Cat's Brain Quarry on the course itself.  The dates are 13-15 May.  Either post here or send me an e-mail to confirm, with your handicap.

I'd also love to sit down with you and tell you of my ingenious plans for the next phase of development on the Struie........... :-X

Brian_Ewen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2004, 12:36:18 AM »
Robin
Welcome aboard , and I look forward to more postings from you .

Are you the same Robin Hiseman that redesigned Auchenblae GC , a course close to my home in Stonehaven ? .

Brian Ewen

RJ_Daley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2004, 12:46:25 AM »
Robin, I also add my hearty welcome.  

We are an eccentric lot, and sometimes it gets a bit rude around this forum.  But, if you can hang in there and take things for what they are worth, I believe we will all benefit from your participaton.  Likewise, I hope you will make many new friends who share this passion about the subject of GCA and related matters.  
No actual golf rounds were ruined or delayed, nor golf rules broken, in the taking of any photographs that may be displayed by the above forum user.

ForkaB

Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2004, 05:39:35 AM »
Just to add a note for those who are or have been swithering......

......whilst we do have 24 or so people committed to the Painswick Ryder Cup, there are 120 golfing slots available over the 3 days, and I do not expect all 24 to play all the 5 rounds (2 4-ball, 2 foursome, one singles) available.  So, if you want to join in, please come, and just give me a little bit of advance warning!

With Robin (hopefully) coming, we will have an increasingly impressive group of industry participants, including:

Ronan Branigan
Tom Doak
James Edwards
Robin Hiseman
Line Mortensen
Brian Phillips
Russell Talley

There also may be more as I don't know the professions of a few of the people who are coming and there are others in the business who are still swithering.  We have at least one Q&A planned where these fine people will share their knowledge with the rest of us philistines.

NB--if I have missed anybody in this list, sorry!

Overall, I think that we could easily accomodate up to 40 players, allowing everybody at least 2 games over the 3 days.

So, if you want to join, let me know.


James Edwards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2004, 09:58:56 AM »
Rich,

The ROTW team are looking strong my friend....!!
@EDI__ADI

ForkaB

Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2004, 10:11:36 AM »
You are right, James, but every 2 years the USA looks like it is going to kick serious butt and gets thrashed by the Eamon Darcy's and Constantino Rocca's and Phillip Price's of the world.

We may look like patsies, but just wait until the singles on Saturday!

PS--I may join the ROW team if numbers don't add up properly, etc., etc......... ;)

James Edwards

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2004, 10:15:36 AM »
Rich, there may be a sudden influx of Irish, Italians and Welsh now to the team....

Joining the team, is an excellent decision...  But then we will be even mightier!!!
@EDI__ADI

Dan Kelly

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2004, 11:53:38 AM »
I ask you, ladies (if any) and gentlemen (if any) --

How can any of you seriously allege the decline-and-fall of gca.com when there's a brand-new contributor who can describe a golf course as "a bit like Pine Valley's stunted twin brother - on Ecstacy!" -- and who doesn't hesitate to describe, without apologizing for its OTness, the cheese-loving inebriated locals at Cooper's Hill cartwheeling out of control?

Welcome, Robin.
"There's no money in doing less." -- Joe Hancock, 11/25/2010
"Rankings are silly and subjective..." -- Tom Doak, 3/12/2016

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2004, 04:39:57 PM »
Thank you all for your warm welcome to GCA.  I've a bit of time before the England v Portugal football match warms up to post a few replies and to post a few more thoughts that have sprung to mind during the day up here in NE Scotland, which incidentally has been a real belter - the first signs of Spring in the air.

Rich

I am thrilled to be invited to the Painswick Ryder Cup.  I really can't wait.  I'm a lapsed 9 handicap, but joining Royal Montrose in April.  May I also thank you for your unfailingly positive comments on Dornoch's Struie Course.  I too have been concocting schemes for the next phase of works, but I guess they will remain stored away until I am asked to formalise them.  It was always intended that the 5-hole extension was an interim measure, but with lots of talk of a new clubhouse it is a possibility that club funds will be diverted to that aim before thought returns to building a full 18-hole second course and restoring a 9-hole Struie Course close to the town.  We can only hope and we shall talk more.  

Do you think that foursomes golf around Painswick is such a good idea?  Maybe partners should indemnify one another before they start against the distinct possibilty of severe personal injury caused by scrambling down 80-foot wooded ravines to retrieve your buddy's errant shots!  I can foresee a few solid and new found friendships being sorely tested.

Equally, anybody who can manage 5 rounds of Painswick in 3 days is deserving of a medal, if not a week in rehab, so you are right to say that you will need more than the minimum numbers to keep to the programme.  My advice is to keep tabs on those who have played 5 rounds and invite them to play for a shed load of money the day after (at any course - it won't matter) for I can guarantee that their long game will be shot to bits - Painswick does that to you.  It took me a year to recover after I left.

Brian

Yes, I did design the new holes at Auchenblae.  I could hardly refuse - I only live two miles away.  

A Few Tips re Painswick:-

1.  If you are coming down from Scotland by train, you can avoid London and instead catch a direct train from either Dundee or Edinburgh to Cheltenham, which is only 15 miles from Painswick.  From Cheltenham you can catch a train directly to London Paddington.

2.  The Painswick Hotel is very nice, but pricey.  I used to wash the dishes in the kitchen and my wife was a chambermaid (jobs during college), so we know the place very well.  Just one condition, if you do stay there I insist that on one night you club together to give the pot washer a tip.  5 hours of washing plates, pots and pans is no fun at all, even for £3 an hour!

3.  If, after 8 holes, the golf is getting too much for you, be advised that the Royal William pub is just a couple of hundred yards down the track behind the green.  You can get a taxi back to the clubhouse.

4.  Practice your golf swing with one foot on the bottom stair and the other on the 4th (bungalow dwellers use the roof).  This will acclimatise you to the slope on the 1st tee!  

5.  Practice your golf swing whilst simultaneously clenching every muscle in your body.  I don't care how laid back you think you are, Painswick will eventually bring out the twitch in you.

Finally, nobody has yet mentioned the comedy value of Painswick.  Where else would you find a public crossroads in the middle of the fairway...blind from the tee...and on the perfect driving line.  No kidding.  On the 17th a good drive will bounce on the tarmac and get an extra 40 yards.  I'll post a picture if I can work out how.

And where else, after the science fiction epic of the previous three hours, would you find the most mind numbingly mundane 18th hole.  It is the golfing version of the film credits.  A succinct description would be...Tee, field, flag.  It is so boring that it is actually quite a relief.  After a long battle against the elements, Mother Nature and your inner demons, the guns fall silent and it is just you and 126 yards of unrelenting blandness.  Believe me, you'll learn to really look forward to this hole.  You'll still bogey it though - the greens a killer.

Time to go.  The match is 15 minutes old, still 0-0.  
2023: Aberdovey, Liphook, Mill Ride (x4), Hillside, Lytham, Delamere Forest, Formby, Birkdale, Carya, Maxx Royal, Cleeve Hill, Sunningdale (Old & New), West Byfleet, Hoylake

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2004, 05:29:16 PM »
Robin Hiseman-

I am delighted you have become a GCA participant. I am very much interested to read whatever you wish to contribute re: current status & future plans for the Struie Course, Dornoch. If all goes according to (my) plan, I expect to be spending a fair amount of time in Dornoch in the coming years and the Struie will be a healthy portion of my golfing diet. Thanks.

DT    

Paul_Turner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2004, 08:49:22 PM »
I will definitely try and find the defunct hole behind the current 3rd.  I bet it was a cracking par 3 in the quarry works.  Shame it can't be put back, the current 18th is truly hopeless-in either configuration.

Robin

Good to read about the pub behind the 8th.  Just the place for a quick half.
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

ForkaB

Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2004, 12:21:28 PM »
Yes, the pub behind 8 is GREAT news!  Even better is the fact that it is virtually all downhill from there!

PS--Robin, I sent you an instant message.  Let me know if you received it.

allysmith

Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2004, 02:11:24 PM »
Robin,

You do surprise me I would have thought living close to the Pebble Beach of the North you would not have been intimidated by mother nature and slopes. Perhaps you need to stray a little closer to the sea side before making your debut at Painswick!!! Brian and I play on the Cliffs of Stonehaven where mountain goats fear to tread. Sounds like it would make a good training ground for Painswick ;D

I was very interested the first time I played the additional Deeside holes how the designer had dispensed with the feel of the old holes and provided a complete contrast to the existing. What were your reasons for this??

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2004, 06:00:01 PM »
Ally

I know Stonehaven well, and its Pebble Beach comparison is no exaggeration for those of you yet to sample its delights (including the fog), but it is much, much easier than Painswick.  In fact I would go as far to say that Painswick is the most penal golf course I have ever played (until I play Pine Valley I guess).  If it were 2000 yards longer it might be the hardest course on the planet.  It's charm is that all the action is condensed into such a small package.  You can get into an awful lot of trouble, but you are usually not too far from the green.

As for Deeside, I think that the difference between the old holes and the new ones is mostly down to maturity.  When you are trying to stitch new holes on flat, treeless land into a course of 90+ year old holes with mature trees aplenty, then the difference will be obvious.  With each passing year the thousands of new trees are getting bigger and in time the difference will be far less distinct.  The modern contouring was necessary to elevate all eleven new greens above the anticipated flood level of the River Dee.  We didn't want to see over a hundred thousand pounds worth of USGA rootzone washing out to sea!  With eleven different greens I adopted eleven different solutions to tying the elevations back to the existing levels, so that no two greens were similar.  

There was no opportunity (or budget) to go in and modernise the old holes to match the new ones (13 new and only 5 old holes by the time it was finished).  The difference would be less stark in the short term if we could have done that.  
 
2023: Aberdovey, Liphook, Mill Ride (x4), Hillside, Lytham, Delamere Forest, Formby, Birkdale, Carya, Maxx Royal, Cleeve Hill, Sunningdale (Old & New), West Byfleet, Hoylake

Paul_Turner

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2004, 06:07:56 PM »
If you go to the main UK course guide website:

http://www.uk-golfguide.com/england/26254_reports.html

A review by another architect, Adrian Stiff, who also loves Painswick.  I've played one of his courses-The Kendleshire which is nearby, just north of Brtisol
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2004, 06:28:29 PM »
If you thought I was even slightly exaggerating about the Cheese Rolling Race then take a look at www.cheese-rolling.co.uk.  They had to cancel last years race because they couldn't get enough ambulances!

Another Painswick like course for you to check out is Church Stretton, in Shropshire.  I've never played it, but seen it from the road and read magazine reviews and it looks to be v. similar in genre.
2023: Aberdovey, Liphook, Mill Ride (x4), Hillside, Lytham, Delamere Forest, Formby, Birkdale, Carya, Maxx Royal, Cleeve Hill, Sunningdale (Old & New), West Byfleet, Hoylake

Marc Haring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2004, 04:07:39 AM »
Paul.

I noticed the Adrian Stiff review on Painswick a while back. I have a vested interest in this due to the fact that he designed the course I am involved in at the moment. That review gave an insight into our 3rd nine, which is similarly quirky with several blind tees shots and hidden hazards. Unfortunately this comes over as a major criticism from the punters with the result that this is the least played nine holes we have. Perhaps they do not have Robinís sense of humour.

I noticed you did not offer an opinion on the Kendleshire. I'd be interested to know what you thought?

The other course they are all talking about in my area is the latest of Adrianís creations, The Players Club. http://www.theplayersgolfclub.com/. This is the longest course in the UK and to say the least tough. This is a quote from Adrian on the clubs website:

"I've tried to create 18 very different holes, some resemble classic links land and shapes that I've spotted at two of my favorite courses, Burnham and Painswick. Other aspects of the course are very American while some of the holes have just been worked out on the drawing board with ideas that I have always wanted to try!Ē

They have made the statement that it will become a course of international repute. If anyone has played The Players, I would dearly love to know of their opinions.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2004, 04:53:40 AM by MH »

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2004, 05:28:41 AM »
Here's the Church Stretton website

http://www.churchstrettongolfclub.co.uk/

And if in that part make sure you also play Llanymynech and Llandrindod Wells.  I posted their websites in the recent Winter Browsing series.

ed_getka

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2004, 02:21:50 PM »
Man oh man, this Painswick trip is sounding better all the time! Should we bring rope for rescues?
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

ForkaB

Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2004, 03:29:25 PM »
Ed

It might be a prudent idea.....

ed_getka

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2004, 05:47:21 PM »
I thought I was going on a golf trip. This sounds like some place they could shoot Indiana Jones IV. :o
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2004, 11:33:31 AM »
Thanks to everyone for respondng so enthusiastically to my first post on GCA.  It's been a lot of fun checking in to see what you have had to say.

Before I am accused of overegging Painswick's pudding, I shall make this my last post (for the time being) extoling its virtues.  But for those of you who are coming over here are a few facts and figures about the course to whet your appetite still further.


It is true that the entire course lies upon common land, so during the course of your visit you will encounter some or all of the following:

Dogs (lots of them)
Walkers / Ramblers - The serious ones are those with their trousers tucked into their socks.
People on Horses (and the stuff horses leave behind)
Picnicking families - the 3rd green is popular for this
Kids on Bikes
Bikes on Kids
Ambulances dealing with kids under bikes
Kite Flyers
Joggers
Trials Bikes
Cars everywhere
Courting Couples (the woods beside the 2nd and 12th best for this)
and the occasional golfer.

As you might gather it is a very sociable course.  It is also a very dangerous course so you will have to be patient - the public have priority.

Now some numbers for you to conjure with.

2  -  The number of blind Par 3's
5  -  The number of all or nothing penal carries from the tee.
8  -  The number of drop shot drives
10 -  The number of holes where ravines and quarries will seriously influence your thinking.
10 -  Check this.  The number of crossing holes on the course.  You've got to love this place.
11 -  The hole number of one of the most perfectly strategic short par 4's you could ever wish to play, and its only 246 yards long!
3 - The number of holes where you have to drive across a public highway (and can't always see what's coming).
FORE!! - Self explanatory
90 -  My guess of the average width in yards of the double fairway that runs throughout much of the course.
9  -  How wide that fairway looks after a couple of rounds
170 -  Your heart rate by the time you reach the 1st green
0  -  Your heart rate if you don't make it to the 1st green
21 - The number of yards to the nearest graveyard from the 1st fairway
5 - The number of miles to the nearest hospital
999 - The number you have to ring for the hospital to come and fetch you from the bottom of a ravine.
100 - The number of miles you can see from Painswick beacon
2500 -  The approximate age of the iron age hill fort that four holes play through.
720 - The area in square feet of the 10th green
7200 - The size it might as well be for all the chance you have of hitting it first time out.
0 - The chance you have of playing to your handicap if not on top form
200,000,000 - The age of the hills you will spend much time scrambling over.
1 - The number of days it will take you to fall in love with this place forever.


On top of this Painswick is well bestowed with great pubs and eating places and it all resides in some of the most beautiful countryside in England.  Why did I leave?

Those of you who are coming over to Blighty to see Painswick for the first time are making a seriously fine choice.  I can guarantee that it will be one of the most memorable golfing excursions of your life and I look forward to meeting you all.



 
2023: Aberdovey, Liphook, Mill Ride (x4), Hillside, Lytham, Delamere Forest, Formby, Birkdale, Carya, Maxx Royal, Cleeve Hill, Sunningdale (Old & New), West Byfleet, Hoylake

ed_getka

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2004, 01:25:13 PM »
Robin,
  Are you in marketing? Painswick sounds more appealing with every post you make. BTW, what sort of helment and body armor do you recommend or can you rent it at the "pro shop"? 8)
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Painswick - Astonished!!!
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2023, 12:28:19 AM »
A fine ancient thread engineered by Doc. It made me laugh.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2023: Cardigan, St David's City, Clyne, Panmure, Kinghorn, Harrogate & Ladybank

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