At first you wonder what all the fuss is about.
The entry to the car park is uninspiring.
Yes there are a few trees in the distance but nothing really indicates that a truly wonderful golf course resides the other side of this old fashioned clubhouse.
You gather your clubs and head towards the archway to see if indeed there is a golf course here at all.
And then it hits you.
The 1st tee demands that you stop and stare.
To the left is the 18th green, to its right the 6th green and 9th tees. The place is suddenly a hive of activity as members chat on the putting green or ready themselves for the challenging opening tee-shot
There are two courses, The Old Course and The Presidents.
The Old is the 18-hole championship course currently residing at no.76 in the Golf World ratings. The Presidents is an absolute gem of a nine-holer which is a must play whilst here.
Your initial reaction on what the Old course has to offer depends on which tee you start your round from, as both the first and ninth tees are close together.
The 1st is an arrow straight downhill drive and a flick, whilst the ninth is a booming right to left dogleg that gives you zero visual assistance on the line you need to take.
Deeper into the course takes you to more curving tree lined holes with heather everywhere and I mean everywhere.
The 3rd is a peach of a four par enticing you to cut the corner followed by an arrow straight 4th which looks a generous fairway from the tee but appears to shrink when you start your downswing.
Par Fives that stand out
My favourite holes are the three par 5’s, all of which are reachable with 250 plus yard drives.
The 7th is my particular ‘honey.’
Threes are the weakest link
The par 3’s are probably Ferndown’s weak link, not visually – they always look great – but because during winter months a 7-iron will get you to most of them with ease.
Arguably the tees and greens are too close together but that’s what happens when you fit 6552 yards worth of quality golf terrain into a tiny footprint.
The Par 4’s hold no such weakness. All of them are different with the 11th being most challenging.
The finishing stretch is good too.
Risk and reward at the 16th
The 16th is a match play hole if ever there was one.
At a shade over 300 yards you can go for the green but danger awaits if you miss the target.
The 17th & 18th are 400-yard holes that narrow in at the drive landing areas and make it difficult to find the green from the rough.
You’ll enjoy your visit here, the members are friendly but traditional when it comes to golf etiquette and standards of dress and conduct, a quality I love in our blessed game.
Initial designs were drawn up in 1912 by the famous open champion Harold Hilton on heathland lacking in trees and drainage.
Nine years passed before its official opening in 1921. Some 600 visitors saw Harry Vardon, Ted Ray, Mr. Hilton and Mr. Hooman play the course for the first time.
Initial reaction from the media was that it had the potential to be the finest inland course in England
Ferndown has had its fair share of famous golfers too; Percy Allis and his son Peter have all represented the club over the years.
£55 – £75 Old Course (Monday to Friday unless playing with a member)
£20 – £30 The Presidents
For more visit: www.ferndowngolfclub.co.uk