Golf at Dunstable Downs is like playing on the top of the world. They tell me that from there one can see, when the visibility is good, seven counties: Such is the panorama that if they told me seventy-seven, I should believe them. Never have I seen in this England of ours a patchwork quilt of fields of greater variety or more intense beauty: Never have I breathed purer air or seen so many larks trilling their song beneath so blue a heaven.
On a bright sunlit June day, the Dunstable Downs course is a very lovely place.
And for once man has not befouled nature’s gift. An utterly modern clubhouse, placed on very nearly the highest point of the course, drinks in every ray of sunlight and catches every whisper of the softest breeze.
In organisations and appointments this club house of the Dunstable Downs Golf Club leaves nothing to be desired. When winter comes again and I return from a round soaking wet, my thoughts will travel to the changing room of this particular club house to linger among its network of drying pipes.
And when I am disgruntled and feeling like nobody’s child, I shall think back on the warm and affectionate welcome that awaits any wayfaring golfer who happens to call at Dunstable Downs. The next time anybody tells me that Englishmen are not hospitable, I shall tell him he lies in his beard; if he is beardless; and if he is toothless – well, simply that he lies.
As regards the course I was suitably impressed. It measures 6,205 yards and has a Standard Scratch Score of 75. That seems a somewhat generous allowance. The person who thinks that way should play it once or twice in calm and in storm. Situated on chalk it is as dry as a bone always. The fairways are good and the greens very good. Architecturally it is a nice blending of the penal and the strategic, and with the exception of the first (572 yards) and the third (534 yards) it maintains a splendid level of interest. Those two holes I felt to be a little dull, probably because I now can’t hit the ball far enough to make them into anything but uninteresting fives.
Of the others I would pick the sixth (385 yards) and the seventh (350 yards), the eight (411 yards), the tenth (415 yards, the twelfth (433 yards), the dog leg fourteenth (325 yards), the sixteenth (425 yards) and the seventeenth (327 yards) as holes that will delight the heart of most golfers. I felt the sixth would be improved by making the seventh fairway out of bounds as the sixth fairway is for the seventh hole.
Of the four excellent short holes I was particularly impressed by the fifth (166 yards) and the home made ninth (110 yards). Both are highly entertaining holes.
In point of fact there are several home-made holes on this course, at least, so I understand. In the main it is James Braid’s work. All I have to say is that either James has a gift for imparting his knowledge or there are some people in charge at Dunstable Downs with a genius for golf architecture, for these home-made holes have about them the stamp of first-class architecture.
In my time I have been to many jolly clubs: I have been to none jollier than Dunstable Downs.