Course review: Basset Down GC, Swindon

This is a review I did for Basset Down is a course in Swindon. Details and pictures can be found on their website:

Design and condition

Basset Down is a relatively new, 9 hole parkland style layout, which despite its youth is still an attractive and challenging course for all golfers.

Featuring six par 4s, two par 3s and one par five, of which includes one of the UK’s longest par 5s at 593 yards, Basset Down has a pleasing mixture of holes.

The signature hole comes early in the round, a short par four with a large water hazard guarding the front of the green, offering longer drivers a great risk/reward opportunity.

Around the greens is where the course lets itself down. The bunkers are extremely shallow, to the point that many shots into the bunkers will run out. Hardly a challenge. Furthermore, the greens are not renowned as being amongst the best in Wiltshire. They can get very hard and bouncy in summer, and it is difficult to hold approach shots on them. Contrarily, winter conditions can make the greens very boggy and soft, which at least solves the problems faced in summer! In either instance, the greens often run slow, but are acceptable.

Generally speaking, the course is well maintained and in good condition. It makes good use of its surroundings, using a small copse to form a short par 3, whereby players must fire a short iron over the trees to a blind green.

There is also scope for development into an eighteen hole course in the future, which is something that members anticipate will go ahead at some point.


As mentioned, the course can be solid and bouncy in summer but, conversely, it can be terribly boggy in winter. Having said that, the course generally plays well. The holes all have a different challenge; length, blind shots, avoiding water hazards, small greens etc. It allows an enjoyable round of golf, which will challenge all abilities.

Fairways are set up with higher handicap golfers in mind, with generous wide landing zones which are all mostly flat. Greens are also equally generous, with most possessing run off areas as their main defence.

Facilities and Welcome

The owners of the course all appear to be extremely helpful and friendly. When we have had to wait for tee times, they have offered us complimentary range baskets so we can warm up.

The practice facilities are basic. The putting green bares little resemblance to the greens on the course and even manages to play slower than them! There is a chipping green, complete with the deepest bunker you will encounter on the complex (still not steep). The driving range is, however, better. There is an option in summer to hit off of either mats or turf, and the hitting area is grassed. Playing slightly uphill, balls are hard to follow past 200 yards, and there is also no automatic ‘power tee’ facility I’ve become used to at my home course.

Lessons can be taken with two knowledgeable and friendly professionals, which are well respected in the area.

There is a café, which produces refreshments and meals, and there are often offers on in conjunction with your round, all at reasonable prices.


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