West Sussex Golf Club

Leckford Golf Club - Old Course

England, SE England, Southampton
Designer: Harry S. Colt
Course Opened: 1929

Leckford Golf Club is set in the charismatic village of the same name, sited overlooking the River Test; the river world famous for the quality of the trout fishing.  The golf club is unique in many respects, comprising two distinct nine hole courses, each of which was designed by the most influential course architect of their age. In the Edwardian era, Harry Colt was supreme, and in the modern Elizabethan age Donald Steel reigned, and the work of both is captured in the two courses at Leckford.

The estate and the golf club is owned by the John Lewis Partnership, it is operated primarily for the use of Partners, their families and guests. The Old Course was opened in 1929 and it has remained much as Colt designed it. It is recognised as one of the finest and most challenging nine hole courses in the country, and fully justifies the description of being a 'hidden gem'.  The New Course is modern and creates the ideal complement to the Old, and the terrain of both is ideal, flint based chalk downland, with perfect drainage and excellent turf growing characteristics.  This means that the course is playable all the year round, and only snow or very severe frost close them for play.

There is no pay and play option at the club, but visitors can play the course as members of golf societies, who are welcomed at the club. Many are regular visitors, returning each year to enjoy the challenge of the Leckford courses.  A minimum number of eight players are required to book for one of the society packages.

The Old Course

The Old Course at Leckford, designed by the world renowned golf course architect Harry Shapland Colt, first opened its doors in 1929.  Harry Colt was in his prime when he arrived at Leckford with over 20 years experience in designing golf courses including Wentworth, Muirfield, Royal Lytham and St Annes, Sunningdale and Trevose. The layout of the course has largely been preserved since 1929, with the exception of some remodeling or repositioning of bunkers and some tee extensions mainly due to the improvements in golf club technology.

The Old Course is reported to be one of the finest and most challenging 9 hole courses in the country, if not Europe.

The course climbs the chalky downland valley toward a high down plateau, which has three very good par fours before returning down to the clubhouse.

The first two holes are unusual, as both are par fives. It was a maxim of Colt that the first hole should not have too much difficulty, but many question whether he applied that principle in this case.  For the first two holes bunkers await the opening drive, both right and left. The first fairway is flanked by a magnificent stand of beech trees, that continue almost to the green.

The third is a striking hole, a classic par 3, the green is elevated, and well contoured and bunkered. Following this there is a run of par fours, varying in length from 331 yards to 400 yards, all of which are good two shotters, with greens that need great care if three putting is not to be on the agenda.

It is a feature of the course that Colt used “key” bunkering. The fifth has a bunker situated on the approach line just short of the green, so careful club selection is demanded.

The finishing two holes are regular favorites; the 8th from an elevated tee to a hole running parallel to the first, with the beeches standing sentry on the right, and having a magnetic pull down the sloping fairway. The green is long and narrow and well bunkered, sitting tightly into the hillside, it will be a well-earned par here. 

The finishing hole is a par three, back to the clubhouse. A downhill shot to a large but very well bunkered green, with the cosy little clubhouse looking down on it, and the beautiful thatched cottage sat majestically behind it, a superb picture and a tough finishing hole.

A demanding standard scratch of 71 (72 for ladies), when the course is played twice, and a double treat to play.

From the golf club website.


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