|Hole||White Yards||Yellow Yards||Par||Stroke Index||Red Yards||Par||Stroke Index|
Course review written by Peter Masters of Golf World Magazine
For Club golfers, Saffron Walden ticks an awful lot of boxes. It’s demanding without being dastardly, tricky without being tricked up, fun without being frivolous and long enough without being too long. You need a driver, your utility wood, a lofted wedge - in fact just about every club in the bag gets an outing on a layout that forces you to think strategically. There is a pleasing balance to the design...
The only holes that are vaguely similar are the 8th and 16th, but they vary by 40 yards. While the par-3s, so often a yardstick to the strength of a design, offer good variety. It’s an awkward course, a teasing course, a course that offers opportunities, but doesn’t let you settle for one minute.
Jack Nicklaus once remarked that golf is best played downhill, but that can pose a problem for course designers who need to go up before they can come down. But this is where Saffron Walden, quite a hilly site with stunning views over Audley End House and the wooded glades of Northern Essex, is designed with great ingenuity.
The upward holes are all strong - there are no “cardiac hills” here. The 1st, 3rd and 14th represent the major inclines and of those, the former is one of the best opening holes in the county, while the 14th is a real scoring opportunity, especially when the tees are moved forward - something that would please Ernie Els, who is a fervent believer that the “driveable par-4” is an integral part of an architect’s armoury. The finish though is a potential card wrecker. The 15th and 17th holes are tough par-4s, both of them doglegging to the left with a fairway camber that throws you in the opposite direction. Pars here should be cherished, while the seemingly innocuous par-3 finisher has the clubhouse in such close proximity that it’s a good job the glass in the windows are shatter resistant.
Golf World Magazine