Donnington Grove Country Club

Donnington Grove Country Club, Newbury, South East, England, RG14 2LA

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18 reviews of Donnington Grove Country Club

I played at the Donnington Grove as part of Fore-Business.com National Open last month. Although I had a terrible round (the heat of competition just got to me too much), I really enjoyed the event.
And think this was partly down to how well the club is set up for corporate golf days. The staff seemed really friendly and clued up, and the venue sorted out drinks and snacks and a decent space for all the prize-giving afterwards, and obligatory photos and speeches, etc.
So yes, would recommend if you get an away day invite there

Posted by Geoff Roy on 24/11/2014
5
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Overall Rating 5
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  • Green conditions4
  • Clubhouse5
  • Course challenge4
  • Staff service5
  • Value for money5
  • Green conditions4
  • Clubhouse5
  • Course challenge4
  • Staff service5
  • Value for money5

Dec 2011, the course played beautifully, the greens were fast and true, even after substantial rainfall. The tees were still quite a long way back making it a proper test. OK, the walks are only there because the by pass was put in after the course was built so nothing the club can do about that. The walk between 9 and 10 is a lovely walk with a good chance of seeing kingfishers, herons and other wildlife. The only negative thing for me is the need for someone of limited intelligence, butchering the landing area from the 18th tee putting silly bunkers in which have the design of a seaside pitch and putt course. Please remove the two on the right of the fairway and totally flatten to remove all scars. If you must put in a bunker then at least go with one which is of a Dave Thomas design, it's not that difficult. If the person whoever decided to put those bunkers in there was in charge of the Mona Lisa he would probably paint a bogey hanging from her nose and think "oh! that looks better". All great golf courses should be looked upon as works of art and the people and committees in charge are only the keepers. Sort the area on the 18th out and you have a 100% perfect golf course which cannot be improved upon.

Posted by Tony Williams on 21/12/2011
5
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  • Green conditions5
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  • Green conditions5
  • Clubhouse5
  • Course challenge5
  • Staff service5
  • Value for money5

Played Donnington Grove in Mid March on a glorious spring day with 20+ others on a Society visit. After much confusion and wrong turns, we found that we had to follow the signs to the changing rooms to find the bar area where we were all meeting....better signposting needed here!
A stiff walk from the pro shop to the 1st tee, a mid length par 4, where anything pushed left fell off down the slope and more likely than not a lost ball. Then we found somnething that was to be sadly, synominous with the course, a route march of nearly half a mile over the A34 to the next tee. Now let me say here that I was "persuaded" to share a buggy as it was hinted that there were a few long walks, but I had not been told that the buggies had to stay on the tarmac paths.......even after 5 weeks of no rain, and the course beeing as dry as it could be .... we did in fact venture over one fairway to get to the correct "cart track" only to have a greenkeeper gesticulating in a Hitlairian attitude to get off the fairway. "We don't let carts onto the fairways until April 1st, I was frostilly advised" ...hmm, who runs the club here, the owners or the greenkeepers..better work that one out one day folks! -don't you have allowances for weather?....big minus point. This one thing detracted more than anything from my and I know many other members enjoyment of the day. After a very bobbly first green, I thought that this might just have been an exception, sadly it was not, and the greens were in fact the worst that I have seen so far this year.....I know work has to be done, but these were very darn poor indeed. Saying all this though, there are some very attractive and playable holes, but then after the 8th, another long long trek over the A34, and through the woods to the 9th tee.......this was well in excess of 1/2 a mile - ridiculous. After that, well another huge trek past the clubhouse to the 10th tee, by this time, many members were well taken back with this ridiculous layout, OK I suppose if a buggy was used and one could use it on the fairways, but to have them only on the cart paths which most of time were 150 odd yards away on the other side of the fairway, well most unenjoyable indeed.
Overall, Donnington Grove has some fine golf holes, but the route marches twixt some of the holes completely negate this, also the greens and tees were pretty darn poor, even for March. Other minuses, well the promised halfway hut, wasn't, even after finding it tucked away, and as for the signposting in the building, well that left a lot to be desired. Our group visit incorporated a breakfast as well, well, a few beans, a burnt sausage, one rasher, slice of black pudding and an egg, well it barely covered a plate. Bar food prices afterwards, well Ham Ehh & Chips nearly £8, dream on baby!
Overall, I got the impression that Donnington Grove is trying to be something that it is completely not.....If its a Hotel, let it be a hotel, if its a golf course, let it be a golf course, pretty uniformed hotel waiters and the like don't do much for golfing groups whilst uniformed teenagers in the pro shop saying things like "next time you visit, you'll have to wear white socks".......get a grip Donnington, you have more than enougth things to sort out before before this respondant visits again.........get back to the basics and stop having so many draconian thoughts....you are not Wentworth, and never will be

Posted by David Thomas on 25/03/2011
2
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  • Green conditions1
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  • Course challenge4
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  • Value for money3
  • Green conditions1
  • Clubhouse1
  • Course challenge4
  • Staff service1
  • Value for money3

24 of us (Handicaps from 8 to 28) made our annual Spring tour trip to Donnington Grove, and despite a mixed bag of Spring Weather, a great weekend was had by all, not one of us played to handicap over the 5 rounds that were played on what i can describe as a truly well maintained course.The two 9's are so different with the front 9 on the highest part of the course and when the wind is blowing it can be very difficult to steer you drives and approach shots through the various bunkers that are well plotted, and you are well advised to use all your course management skills, and take an iron as opposed to a driver on some of the holes because if you managed to avoid the bunkers but strayed of the perfect fairways you always had the rough to contend with !!! not realy thick or long but enough to grip your clubs as we all found out.The back 9 was into a more woodland course and various lakes but again some really wonderful and diffent holes.The only negatives about the course is the very long walks between 1&2,8&9 and 9&10. We had buggies for the 2 days we had 27 holes and it was very appreciated, but even though many of us struggled on the course it was commented how good the course was.
And it will be on our list to return.

Posted by kev mundy on 01/06/2010
5
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Overall Rating 5
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  • Clubhouse5
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Played Donnington this weekend in a club match. Although there was a very stiff breeze, the golf course was in great condition. Every hole was challenging and you had to be on your A game to score well. The only thing that let the course down was the lack of a couple of 360 - 380 yard par fours on the front nine and a short par three. Having to boom your driver and then still be faced with a rescue club for your second shot was a little frustrating, none the less, the club was very welcoming and a great day out was had.

Posted by John Stockings on 12/04/2010
5
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Overall Rating 5
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  • Clubhouse5
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Having last played the course five years ago when the Japanese owned it I had memories of it being in fantastic condition with great attention to detail so what a difference five years make's!! They used to have 13 green keepers back then but it's down to only 4 now according to the club pro and at £15 for a round I should have smelled a rat which is exactly what the place has turned in to. The state of the course was was awful with bare areas all over the place with the front nine being in a terrible state. The once immaculate greens and approach areas were uncut and most bunker faces badly worn and in desperate need of repair so I would advised anyone not to waste their money even at £15 per round and go to one of more renowned Berkshire courses.Please please somebody ask the Japanese to come back.

Posted by Adrian Jakeman on 07/10/2009
2
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  • Clubhouse1
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I have played this course a few times, and what a course of the back tee, I have played a lot of so called championship golf courses and courses in surrey which live on reputation only, this is a top layout, and will measure how good a golfer you are in the modern game. If the signs around the place and layout of the bar/patio could be sorted it would be a better vist, but the course is a great course.

Posted by Brian Goodwin on 05/09/2009
4
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Overall Rating 4
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  • Clubhouse2
  • Course challenge5
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Our society played here on a 3 day golf break. We were lucky enough to have good weather. The course itself and the practice facilities are excellent. The course is challenging, even the lower handicap players in our group were impressed. Whilst the hotel itself is a little bit in need of some TLC, the staff were great, the food was excellent and the whole package was the best value for money I have seen in a long time, even the bar prices were reasonabole.
On the course, the walks between tees, 8th-9th and 9th-10th are very long, however, the scenery was very pleasant and there are plenty of buggies available. Every hole on the course presents its own challenge, lots of bunkers and a bit of water, undulated fairways and well positioned rough! The tee boxes and the greens were in amazing condition, especially for the time of year (end of March) and some fo the greens were very tricky indeed. Prior to going there, I had read a lot of reviews which claim that this is a course of two halves; some even claimed that the front 9 was outstandingly better than the back 9. We on the other hand, felt that the whole 18 holes were of exceptional quality and if anything, the flatter terrain on the back 9 is very welcome after walking the steeper front 9. I would like to tell you about the downsides but there really weren't any. I would recommend this place very highly, especially to anyone planning a society day/weekend. I will be returning there for sure!

Posted by Staplefield Golf Society on 30/03/2009
5
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  • Clubhouse5
  • Course challenge4
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We played Donnington Grove on Sunday 8th March.
As you turn into the driveway from the road it takes you along a winding road which crosses one of the fairways. This was our first impression and provided us with an insight that this golf course would be of a high quality.
There is currently some building work being carried out which made the car park and clubhouse area quite messy in appearance, however the new clubhouse complex (to segregate it from the hotel) is new, smart and easy on the eye.
We didn't stay at the hotel and so can't comment although the previous comments about it being a bit tired could have some merit still, although it does look like they are making strides to improve the situation.
The facade of the hotel is very stylish and looks out over the extensive practise facilities, with long game area, short game area and putting green in close proximity.
The course is long and on the day we played most of the yellow tees were with the white towards the back. Coupled with the soft fairways this made it a very long test.
Unfortunately on the day we played this course, the weather conditions played a significant part. We played in a 2-3 club wind and for about 4 holes in a torrential hailstorm as well! However to its merit, this did not stop us enjoying a very good game of golf on a quality track - even if the scores didn't reflect this..!!
Despite the weather the course conditions were first class. Bearing in mind we are in March the fairways and greens were excellent. Indeed, for any time of the year the fairways and greens could be considered of the highest order. Before the rains came, the greens were slick and this wasn't slowed much by the deluge either. The undulations also made for a stern examination. Tees and bunkers were also in very good condition.
The vistas were in abundance and very pleasing for all that, with views across the Berkshire countryside and of Donnington Castle and the clubhouse from various vantage points around the course.
The downsides have been highlighted in previous comments and amount to poor signage (although there is a course map on the back of the scorecard) and long walks between the 1st and 2nd, 8th and 9th and 9th and 10th. I'd also make comment that there are some holes that run alongside one another and on more than one occasion our party were in serious danger of being hit be wayward shots. This could easy have been exacerbated by the strong winds but we didn't hear one call of "fore" from anyone on any of these occasions and did put a small dampener on our day.
Would we return (in Summer)? Most definitely.

Posted by Martin Eady on 09/03/2009
5
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Overall Rating 5
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  • Clubhouse4
  • Course challenge5
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Played on a midweek golf break 12 - 13 September, which can only be regarded as excellent value for money.
My overall impressions of the set-up are broadly in agreement with Mr Smith's below....excellent course, but could do with better sign-posting and hotel is a little tired and shabby.
I think our rounds took somewhere just over 4 hours to complete, but given the lovely weather and the setting, that was no hardship. Whatever delays encountered were pretty temporary, as slower groups readily allowed following players to play through as soon as practicable. What I did note was the usual plethera of buggy-driving groups intent on spoiling this wonderful game for everyone else, by combining their own version of Formula 1 with Tiger Woods Golf and charging around the course as quickly as possible.
The service in the hotel was excellent and the food far better than average. Contrary to what has been said elsewhere, we found the staff in the pro-shop to be genuinely helpful.
I look forward to returning when the improvements works have been completed.

Posted by Stephen Parker on 16/09/2007
4
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I'll start with the good. This is an excellent course, with lovely fairways and some very good holes. My favourite was probably the 14th, which had gorgeous views from the tee of the hotel and the castle, but there were lots to choose from.
I wasn't totally convinced that the greens were that good, but maybe they'd have looked better with a cut so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
The bad comes in the time it took to go round. 4 and a half hours and a long wait at every tee. This really isn't a course for anyone that strays from the fairways, and if you can't hit it a long way then don't expect many pars either. I'm sure I didn't see many pars in the group in front when I played.
I don't know why courses like this don't have a varity of shorter tees like courses in the US. That way players can play handicap suitable tees rather than have to play off the yellows or whites, when even the yellows here will have you looking at a course of almost 6600 yards in length.
The ugly was the condition of the inside of the hotel. I'm guessing it's being refurbished at the moment, but with the power cut when we were there it was hard to tell. The temporary changing rooms were in darkness, and from what I could see that was probably a plus.
One small point, and maybe it's being a bit picky here, but the tills were out of operation in the bar so you had to have the right money if you wanted a drink. Only being able to find £1.70 or £1.90 for a £1.80 drink, they made my playing partner pay the £1.90. I know it's only 10p, but wouldn't it have been better to have just let it go and charge him the lesser amount? Okay, okay, so I'm being picky...
Overall I'd say it's a course for better players only, and if you've any doubts about your game then go elsewhere. I know I will in future.

Posted by Nev Smith on 12/09/2007
3
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  • Clubhouse2
  • Course challenge5
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Great course, very challenging, excellent greens BUT ....4 1/2 hours to play 13 holes on a Saturday afternoon. Course marshall told us there were 17 society fourballs in front of us!! We walked in - couldn't stand the hanging round any longer.
We were on a golfbreak and the hotel looks stunning but is a bit shabby. Evening meal was good but breakfast was a disgrace; cold reheated food from what looked like 3 days ago!
Pity because there is great potential there.

Posted by Eric Browett on 19/06/2007
3
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  • Clubhouse2
  • Course challenge5
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Driving down a quiet residential road on the outskirts of Newbury you could be forgiven for thinking you might end up disappointed by your visit to Donnington Grove, that is until you turn into the entrance. Whilst stunning would probably be too dramatic, the site that greets you is certainly very pleasing on the eye. This course smacks of quality.
The meandering driveway takes you to the hotel and splendid views over parts of the course, the river and incredibly spacious practice area.
Finding the Pro shop to pay our green fees was a minor challenge (signage isn’t in abundance at Donnington Grove!) and once we did, the reception was slightly above average (what is it about people if Pro shops you always seem so disinterested??).
Making our way to the first green we were more than pleasantly surprised by what greeted us. Broad sweeping fairways, slightly funnelled as you would expect of a course of this standard and immaculately maintained.
As has been mentioned by others, the course is definitely a course of two halves, maybe even thirds. The first runs alongside the 9th then you cross the A34 (by footbridge) to the 2nd – 8th before re-crossing back to the 9th. The 2nd through 8th are spectacular, challenging holes every one. Quite hilly and not for the faint-hearted with all the holes, even the par 3’s fairly long. Great fairways, even better greens, nice touches like seats on some tees, shrubs and a general air of quality combined with spectacular views over West Berkshire make this a real treat. Even the rough and wooded areas are well manicured. So much so (and this is rich coming from someone of my standard) you would have to be pretty bad to lose a ball here!
Leaving the 8th takes you back across the A34 and a long trek through the woods to the 9th tee.
After the 9th you have an even longer walk to the 10th. Probably my only criticism of Donnington Grove is the distinct lack of signage to the 10th, although the path through the woods over narrow bridges spanning crystal clear streams is a joy in itself.
The 10th – 18th are in equally good condition but a little disappointing after the first eight. Ordinarily these would be really good holes but as you are somewhat spoilt by the first eight they are a bit of an anti-climax even if there are some great views of Donnington Castle to be had.
Overall a pretty faultless course that comes totally recommended. Add it to your ‘must play’ list, you won’t be disappointed.
Phil
PS As we enjoyed a ‘trial membership’ at a ridiculously low rate the visit was even more exceptional!

Posted by Phil Knott on 07/04/2007
5
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An excellent, long, well maintained parkland course. Be warned there are long walks between some of the holes, particularly across the A34 (by bridge) from 8 to 9 and then past the club house from 9 to 10. Buggies are available for hire, but they have to stay on the paths, which can be inconvenient. Also be warned they operate a strict soft spike only policy. If you are into length the 10th is a mere 600yd+, with inconveniently located mature trees; I can't think of any hole that doesn't represent an interesting golf challenge. Magnificent value on a 241.

Posted by Ian Thomas on 12/07/2006
4
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I find it strange that having lived and played on most courses in this area that i have never found the time to venture down to this course. My regular playing partner made the journey first and came back more than pleased so we arranged a 4 ball for what turned out to be a stunning june day. I'm glad i did and cross with myself for not playing here sooner. It accepts 2-4-1 vouchers and is one of the best i have played using the scheme. Its set in a private estate just outside newbury and is kept is stunning condition ( it was the 1st course i have played this year with no pitch marks in the green) and from the looks of it is not to busy. Yes the A34 runs right through it and yes there are some huge walks between holes 1 - 2, 9 - 10 and back to the clubhouse but it really is worth all the hassle. Dave Thomas has laid out a tough little course here that really does make u think off the tee. my one niggle is i feel the par 3's just let it down, the 15th is a solid par 3 but none take advantage of the settling to create a hole with character. As i've said this course is well thought out and has a good mix of holes. the two nines complement each other well and the view of the castle when playing the back nine provides the course with a perhaps deserved back drop. If your in the area i would say this was a must play course. but take a 2-4-1 voucher so u can put the saving back into a buggy.

Posted by Chezza Jones on 13/06/2006
5
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Played an enjoyable 18 holes in mid June. Despite dry weather the fairways still retained some 'give' and were not rock hard like others at this time of the year.
The course plays in two halves and i can't work out if it was 9 holes expanded or 18 cut in half and remodeled as a result of the Newbury bypass. The pro shop were very friendly and keen to hire buggies - £20, and i can see why. After the first hole you walk across a footbridge above the Newbury bypass, and then back to play the last nine. Inbetween there are some long walks between holes. OK on a fine day, but perhaps wearing carrying your bag.
The course played nicely and was much tougher than it looks, the bunker placements are fiendish, and the undulations in both the greens and fairways are difficult to read. Their signature 8th hole with a blind drive over the crest of a hill with spectacular views is the best. Again on the 16th a massive bunker guards the green requiring a good strike to leave any chance of par. The stroke saver can be down loaded from the web site and is worth doing before you set out.
Good general facilities which are shared with the hotel. Plenty of parking, driving range. £37 for a mid week round felt a little pricey

Posted by Alistair How on 28/06/2005
3
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  • Clubhouse4
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Great greens that are in play whatever the time of year and weather. Front 9 hilly whilst the back 9 is typical flat Berkshire parkland. One of the best Berkshire courses that is never over crowded. As a result of the course improvements of the nearby Donnington Valley course then green fees have become more reasonable, plus Winter offers advertised on their web site and vouchers from local news publications are noteworthy. The par-4 4th with the large fairway bunker, the up-hill dog-leg par-5 6th, the down-hill par-4 8th, the drivable par-4 9th, the fairway oak tree par-5 10th, the watery short par-4 12th, the up-hill well bunkered par-3 15th and the 200 yard par-3 17th are holes of worthy mention. Good Japenese cuisine served in the hotel.

Posted by Richard Mcmurdo on 17/11/2003
0
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I played the course with two friends in January this year (2001). The course was in excellent condition, regardless of the time of year and we shall be returning in the summer without a doubt. It provides a challenge to all levels of golfer and the white tees will prove a tough test in the summer months. There are some long walks from tee to green but a buggy is not a necessity. The greens were in great nick for January and the course is generally well drained.
As younger golfers (aged 20-21) we were welcomed by all members of staff and I strongly recommend a visit. (NB: Soft spikes must be worn at all times)

Posted by Nick Church on 17/01/2001
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Course information

Number of holes 18
Year opened -
Designer -
Style Parkland

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Men's 7045 72
Ladies'

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