Carden Park – Cheshire’s Country Estate
Carden Park is one of Cheshire’s premier estates – a four-star luxury hotel with AA Rosette restaurant, an award-winning spa and two championship golf courses – one of which was designed by the great Jack Nicklaus.
Set within 1,000 acres of the countryside, Carden Park is a fantastic venue and caters to every golfer and every occasion. Team-building breaks are popular here, with activities such as archery and Segways available. For the family, spa breaks and golf are as popular as ever, and with a 198-bedroom hotel, enjoying yourself in the evening is easier than ever and will provide great memories.
Every time I have been here I have always got a great welcome and the staff have gone out of their way to look after me. I remember when I first drove up the winding entrance; I couldn’t believe how vast and spacious the resort is. Driving through the courses you get an idea of the prestige and quality of the entire venue. Then, turning the corner, you see the grand hotel in front of you.
I had arranged to play 36 holes last summer and was excited as I had heard many great things about Carden Park. When driving up through the estate, I saw the driving range, archery and Segways – I was almost tempted to cancel golf and just ride the grounds on a Segway all day! However, I resisted and decided to play instead.
The Cheshire course offers many challenges for golfers of all abilities. Being a golfer plus 2, I like a challenge and was pumped to get stuck in. The course is located at the back of the estate and has beautiful views of the venue and overlooking the Welsh hills. Cheshire is littered with natural hazards along the countryside and will test your shot with most of the clubs in your bag. Leading to a difficult and challenging finish, the bunkers have been designed to flow with the natural contours of the landscape. Due to this, I rarely had an easy stance or a simple up and down, but I suppose that means I should just hit better golf shots! For the rest of the golfers, though, you will need your best short game to win the day. The 11th hole was one to remember; a long, winding hole up to the left with trees and bunkers to protect the green … overlooking the course it is certainly a hole I will look back on fondly.
As you get towards the end of your round, all the challenges pay off at the 18th hole set upon a cliff and overlooking the full estate. I made sure I took some great photos!
In the summer, the greens were smooth and true, and the fairways were trim and well defined. The bunkers are positioned well and you will get punished if you are off line (as you would expect). Overall, a great 18 holes of golf to start the day and continue on to the main attraction of the Nicklaus course.
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Having designed hundreds of golf courses worldwide and been recognised as one of the greatest golfers in history, I was fascinated to see the course that the Golden Bear himself had described as “a thinking man’s golf course.”
The course starts with picturesque views alongside Carden Park’s very own vineyard, as well as views over the Welsh Hills. The course layout then leads you to the estate so you can get a taste of the other recreational activities available at the resort. The course isn’t all about the views, though; strategically placed hazards make for noteworthy challenges along the way. The 7th and 15th holes offer golfers a choice of fairways from which to approach the green, but choose wisely.
To finish things off in true Nicklaus style, the final holes are completed in front of the hotel where guests can watch everyone finish their round strong. That means a potential audience for your climactic hold, so hold your nerve and hit well before tipping the cap to any onlookers.
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