I have played most golf courses in Dorset and I am writing a series of articles on my experiences and knowledge of them losing lots of balls and sometimes temper on some of them.
This is Part 1 of the series.
"The best kept secret in Dorset" Peter Allis
Ashley Wood is a course in the northern part of the county and has been developed over the years from initially being a 9 hole course. The last time I played there it was in superb condition and was a credit to the green keepers. the course is almost in 2 parts the first 9 holes being quite hilly and the back 9 has relatively flat terrain.
The first hole is a par 5 and is just the thing you need to start of a game when not properly warmed up. The 2nd is a straight hole with OOB on the left and a plantation of trees on the right. The 3rd hole is my favourite, you tee off from a tee situated behind a dense growth of bushes. Hole4 is a par 3 with enough strategically placed bunkers to cause trouble. The 5th is another interesting and up and down hole. A good drive is needed on the 6th hole , too far right and there are some annoying grassed banks usually with longish growth. On to the 7th which is a shortish par 3 and until recently protected by a full width bunker which has now been modified into 2 seperate bunkers leaving a nice route into the green between them if you happen to duff your tee shot. Leaving this hole you play the next hole a par 4 straighish hole with a drainage ditch which seems to attract my ball like a magnet and a green well protected by deep bunkers. The 9th hole is my least favourite, another longish par 3 with not very good visibility of the green because of stategically placed trees and bushes. If you are lucky you will find the Halfway House open after you finish this hole so you can sit and study the 10th hole which is the SI 1 hole whilst taking a well earned break. This hole does not appear that difficult but requires a drive slightly to the right but missing all of the trees on this side. The left hand side is bordered with trees growing through thick undergrowth, so don't go there. The 11th,!2th and 13th are all straight par 4s and are probably the easiest holes on the course and is where you can make up a few points. Leaving the wooded part of the course you play the 14th which is again a straight hole but has a quite narrow fairway with dense vegetation olong the right handside which is great for us slicers to lose another ball. After playing out this hole you turn round and play the 15th whose green is at the most easterly part of the course. The 16th is a par and is played up a gently sloping hill with a slight left dogleg. The last long hole on the course is the 17th and a good drive is needed to get across a grassed valley onto the fairway. OOB runs along the left hand side to protect people using the driving range. Finally you get to the 18th a long par 3 which I believe is not very common on golf courses. I have only reached the green from the tee once using a 5 wood. If you do manage to achieve this the people sitting on the patio adjacent will surely be impressed.
Any golfer who is thinking of taking a holiday in Dorset would be well advised to visit this challenging and interesting course.