This semi-links has some fine features, a handful or daring green complexes and I suspect offers good playing conditions for the majority of the year although the putting surfaces, in stark contrast to the firm fairways, were surprisingly spongy on my visit in late-October.
Gorse is in abundance on most of the holes, especially on the western side of the layout and this is its main defence along with wind and a few wild putting surfaces.
Overall there is a consistent feel to the course; almost every par-four and par-five is arrow straight and accurate driving is required to stay away from the whins and patches of heather. I found myself poking a 2-iron down many of the holes as I feared my wayward driving would result in a lost ball.
One of the best holes on the front-nine is the sixth which actually dog-legs gently to the right and is the only hole where you are required to shape the ball from the tee for any noticeable benefit.
Other highlights of the round include the driveable fifth, the wonderfully shaped green at the ninth, and the excellent 11th – played through a secluded, gorse lined valley to a fantastically fluid green.
Indeed, the run of holes from the fifth to the 13th is when Powfoot is at its very best and coincides with where the terrain has the most movement on what is an otherwise flat layout. But there are other good moments too including drop-off greens at the 14th and 16th.
The start and end to the round are not quite as exciting as the middle part and this is where we find a number of more genteel, straight-away holes which do little to quicken the golfing pulse.
The trio of short holes (7, 12 & 15) are pleasing to the eye though and play well with some good variety to them.
Created in 1903 by Sandy Herd, then redesigned by the legendary James Braid in 1923, Powfoot plays better into the greens than it does from the tee and I’d certainly prefer it this way round than the other.
Par is 71 and the yardage maxes out at 6,250 – it’s not a long course but if you try and overpower it you must be straight.
Personally, the course just doesn’t quite do enough of the good stuff, often enough to make this a must play course but it makes a convenient stop off for golfers heading from England to Ayrshire or anywhere in Scotland really if they are using the M6 and would make a decent trip starter. Alternatively, and like I did, if you are staying in the Lake District it is not too an inconvenient place to get to.
It's a long time since I've walked off a golf course and been as impressed and surprised, compared to what I was expecting, than at Newbiggin.
A family holiday brought me to Whitby Golf Club. After stuffing myself with fish & chips, losing most of my money on the penny slots and catching umpteen crabs in the harbour it was time for a round of golf!
Planning a round of golf in late October can be a dicey affair, especially in my home county of Yorkshire where the vast majority of courses are built on heavy soil or clay, so it was very refreshing to discover when venturing down south how well East Berkshire played at this time of year.