- Paul Graham-Fielding
Rye Hill Golf Club is a traditional parkland course, with heath land features and panoramic views. As a EuroPro Tour venue, it is testimony to the high calibre of this championship 6,904 yd. par 72 course.
Benefiting from free drainage, the course is playable throughout the year and it will test the abilities of both high and low handicappers with its strategically placed bunkers to catch wayward shots and the often large and undulated .greens.
A place where you can really play golf.
Rye Hill is a hidden gem, nestled in the idyllic county of Oxfordshire. There are plenty of courses in this region that receive far more plaudits than Rye Hill and it’s a shame, set in 200 acres of rolling countryside, with dramatic lakes and both park and heath land features, it’s a hidden haven and one of the nicest courses in the region.
When arriving at the club you are surprised to find out just how well catered for you are, the beautiful old stone built club house leads you to believe that Rye Hill is plodding along in life, but once inside it’s like a tardis. The ground floor of the versatile club house is an open plan design with the bar, reception and pro shop all merging into one to offer a welcoming and friendly environment, and its expansive function room on the 1st floor is a large enough for any society or social event.
Rye Hill also has a host of practice facilities on hand to ensure that you can find your game before any competitions or a match. A 240 yd. grassed area is open for you to warm up or practise your swing and a separate area is available for you to practise your putting. You can even head out on the 3 hole academy course to get your eye in before your tee time.
If you like to have a go with the big stick then this is the perfect place. The par 72 championship course is a smidge under 7000 yards, its expansive fairways mean you can get the driver out on the majority of the holes and really attack what’s in front of you.
That’s not to say that Rye Hill isn’t a challenge, although the driver can be used on a large number of holes you’ll still have to pick your spots to aim for. Having hosted a number of EuroPro events it’s a tour standard challenge, wayward tee shots will be gobbled up by the long rough and when you do get to the greens they are no easy feat to conquer.
The landscape’s natural undulations are what provide the technical challenge for any player, run your drive out to the wrong spot and the curvatures in the fairway can see you trail in to the bunkers that are in play from most tee boxes.
Approach shots must be taken with care, many of the holes at Rye Hill present fairly open target but the tail end of each is set up to catch you out. Getting to the green in regulation is the key here, most of the pins are protected by hazards that lie in wait and when you do hit them you’ll need the ball to stick, the greens are quick and true but the fringe very quickly turns in to an uneasy lie.
There are some great holes at Rye Hill made even better by the fact that no houses or suburban developments can be seen from any point on the course, only the picturesque church at Bloxham can be viewed on a few holes, acting as reminder that golf played in the right location is truly blissful.
The par 4 15th is one of the most picturesque holes in the area, and a true challenge. The fairway runs very steeply from left to right, you’ll have to hug edge of the short stuff to stop the ball rolling into the hedgerows & bunkers on the right. However, try to play to safe and away from the slope and you risk pulling your shot left in to the tall grass banking running the length of the hole. Tp really ensure you focus the mind there’s length to think about it, catch a driver well and you’ll run right up to the lake that cuts into the fairway around 140 yards from the hole, leave yourself short and you’ll need one of your A game shots to carry the water and land on the putting surface.
We played on a beautiful summer’s day but having spoken to its members and a number of visitors to the course Rye Hill is playable all year round. Its chalk footing and natural undulations provide perfect drainage, even in the grim months of winter its greens and fairways keep the puddles at bay.
You feel truly welcomed at Rye Hill, its members are proud of their club, its quality and its history and they should be, it’s one of the finest in Oxfordshire and not enough people know it.