Golf Course Review of Oxford Golf Club
Oxford Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: A tidy parkland with a quality set of par 3s
Our 5 Star Rating: 3.8
Oxford Golf Club, formerly called Southfield and designed by Harry Colt in 1922, is an interesting parkland course situated close to the historic City Centre.
Surrounded by residential and commercial buildings it is packed tightly into an undulating piece of land that at times delivers some high quality golf. Despite the proximity to suburbia for the most part you have the feeling of being deep in the countryside.
We confront the best golf at the short holes. Four of the five are very good and if the remainder of the course lived up to their billing you would hear a lot more about this 6,318 yard, par 70 layout.
The first of the one-shotters is the fourth and it is a dainty, delicate affair played to a sloping green sitting on an angled ridge with a drop-off to the right and bunkers to further complicate matters. The uphill eighth is largely forgettable but the trio of par-threes on the back-nine are all top drawer material. The pick of the bunch is arguably the 12th which is played over a valley to a long and narrow green built into the right-to-left sloping hillside with danger to the left. The 15th is not dissimilar in style and, although the danger is not as ferocious, the green is even longer and narrower making it difficult to get close to the hole. The 17th is also a brilliant 144-yarder played into the corner of the property over another valley to a two-tiered green on a shelf which sits teasingly on an angle.
Other holes of interest are manifested by a stream running through the course creating something of a ravine. The uphill approach to the big dipping third is a little severe for my liking and features a large tree on the left which means you only have chance of hitting the green if you’re coming from the right-hand-third of the fairway. The 11th crosses the same hazard and is much more palatable whilst the 13th is the best two-shotter on the course as you fire across marshy ground from an elevated tee to an angled and sloping fairway where you can chew off as much as you dare.
The 11th, 12th and 13th are played in a little triangle and this is a great stretch of holes, indeed from the 11th to the 17th Oxford is at its finest. There are some interesting green complexes in this run of holes. The 14th and 16th are both pushed up and create interest for the approach and any recovery shots from around them.
What about the bad stuff? Well, there are far, far too many trees on several of the holes - many even partially obstruct your approach (from on the fairway) or even on your drive; the 3rd, 7th and 14th are particularly bad for this but there are others instances too. The fairways were well overdue a haircut on my visit and there were a few other unkempt areas but in truth these are trivial matters in the grand scheme of things. Oh, and there’s a blind pond just in front of the green on the par-five 18th!
The greens, which hold a lot of interest, were in superb condition. Most of them slope quite significantly but the 2nd, as it falls from front-to-back, the 5th, which has a pronounced step in it, the 6th, a more wibbly-wobbly affair, and the aforementioned 17th are four that stand out from the rest.
In summary the set of short holes at Oxford saves it from being just another run of the mill parkland course. It could just do with a little bit of TLC, and a chainsaw, to highlight some of its many features.
Club Website: www.oxfordgolfclub.net
Tournaments: Open golf competitions at Oxford Golf Club.
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