England’s green and pleasant
land has umpteen boutique
country house hotels with
rather ordinary courses, and
conversely, any number of excellent
clubs associated with
mediocre but expensive
hostelries. For Peter Swain,
both course and hospitality at
the Manor House Hotel and
Golf Club tick the quality and
value tee boxes
With a scenic 18 holes meandering
through the rolling Cotswold countryside, a sensibly
priced but still sumptuously appointed 48-
room hotel dating from 14th century and
Michelin-starred food, the Manor House in the
time-warp village of Castle Combe in Wiltshire is
something of a hidden gem.
After playing the Peter Alliss and Clive Clark designed
set-up recently, Luke donald said: “The
Manor House golf Club is a truly stunning course
and I will definitely be coming back.” My game
may not quite be on a par with the world number
one’s, but after visiting the parkland club in June,
I’m inclined to agree.
Having first played here 10 years earlier, I was
pleasantly surprised that, even in these recessionary
times, the condition of the course is still
immaculate. And the Pecorelli family, who own
the establishment, are constantly investing in improvements, starting at the 1st.
Instead of a dogleg round the trees, the tee
shot now requires a 220-yard carry over water
and what was once a mott and bailey fortification
to reach the fairway. Easy enough on, say, the
8th, but it’s something of a buttock-clencher as
the first shot of the day right in front of the
On the par-three 2nd, you discover what a fine
piece of golfing topography this is. From an elevated
tee up in the woods, you look down on a
smallish green surrounded by the Bybrook
stream and bunkers. It’s only 151 yards long, but
the 100-foot drop and a swirling wind make club
selection exceptionally tricky.
Not particularly long, the design of this set-up
calls for accuracy and skillful course management.
Without planes, trains or cars to interrupt
the birdsong, the five par-3s and five 5s provide
good variety, and a couple of the shorter par-4s
are reachable for long hitters.
I like the 498-yard par-five 12th, which demands
a good 3-wood off the elevated tee to a
plateau fairway, followed by solid hybrid or 3-
iron over the wooded valley up onto to the other
side. The small two-tier green, protected by six
bunkers, deters all but the most determined approach
The handsome 18th, with an Eisenhower tree
on the fairway and a skinny green flanked by
water, makes for a great finishing hole. A USGA spec
driving range and short game area, halfway
house, refreshment cart, new electric buggies and
a friendly clubhouse complete the exemplary
Close by the 18th green, the new Waterfall Lodge,
which sleeps eight, provides an ideal base for a
small group of friends or visiting golf societies.
The Virginia creeper-clad hotel itself has several
leathery snugs, a good collection of single malts,
ancient-beamed bedrooms, spacious cottage
suites and, in the Michelin-starred Bybrook restaurant,
the perfect venue for a celebratory dinner.
FACT BOX: Manor House Hotel & Golf Club
Where: Just off J17 of the M4, near Bath
How much: In Waterfall Lodge, from £109 per person for 36 holes,
bed, breakfast and dinner in
In the hotel, from £155 per person,
based on two sharing, for two rounds
with dinner in the Bybrook.
Green fees from £59.
Contact: 01249 782982,
part of Exclusive Golf
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine