The Club, located in tranquil Oxfordshire countryside, also have a third course, the Blue, which although newer is reputed to be of the same high standard as the two that I played.
The Green course stands at just a smidgen over 6,000 yards at its maximum length but with a par of 69 is no pushover. And whilst there are several holes that require placement from the tee, usually just a long iron or fairway metal before a pitch or short iron into the green, there are holes such as the seventh, 14th and 16th; all par fours measuring over 440 yards. Couple this with a fine set and good variety of par three’s and you have a really nice balance and enjoyable course.
There are no real stand-out holes, that take your breath away, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. What you have here are 18 very solid golf holes and plenty of strategic value. This is particularly prevalent at the first, the only par five on the course, where a large bunker must be carried by those going for the green in two. And the slope of the putting surface at the short sixth also gives the player options by allowing him to conservatively feed a shot in from the left or fly it straight over a greenside trap. The ninth is a classic risk-reward short par four that has a small raised green and is surrounded by deep bunkers; even a conservative lay-up at this 271 yard hole leaves a tricky pitch.
The course enjoys a strong start whilst the toughest stretch of the course comes between the 13th and the 16th with a string of fine par fours, none better than the 16th which has an excellent view of the entire hole from the tee. At this point you have returned to the clubhouse and it almost feel as if the round should now end, however, there are two more holes to play; a strong par three with a two-tiered green and a short par four to a long, narrow green.
Meanwhile the Red course, generally regarded as the best of the trio, is of a similar mould to the Green, however, it’s a much sterner test.
The par for the course is 72 whilst SSS is 74 from the championship tees. Stretched to almost 7,000 yards you not only have to be straight off the tee to stay out of the many gorse-lined fairways but at times length is also essential. However, due to the fast running nature of the fairways, the course doesn’t play as long as other inland layouts of similar length and there are a handful of relatively short par fours thrown into the mix too.
Once again you have 18 solid and mostly very good holes but without any approaching the truly outstanding mark. After a slow start I particularly liked the stretch of holes from five to eight whilst the 10th and 15th are also superb holes. There is certainly more variety in the shots you will need to play on the Red course versus the Green.
The condition of both courses was of an exceptionally high standard with the ground playing firm and fast with slick greens. The sandy fairways were a delight to play from and whilst you won’t find any heather off the fairways there is plenty of wispy grass and gorse awaiting an errant shot.
There are few changes in elevation throughout both courses (I suspect the Blue is no different) and this makes for an easy walk. 36 holes are easily achievable in a day for most whilst, for the fitter and/or keener, three rounds may even come into the equation at this excellent 54 hole complex.
Following a 4:00am alarm call we’d already driven for more than six hours and covered over 350 road miles before boarding a ferry at Oban sailing to Lochboisdale.
The Halifax Golf Club, often better known as Ogden, is a course that divides opinion.