On arrival in Heathrow, we did our covid arrival test and headed off to meet our friends from Portugal to play St Pierre Golf Club. Located a short 15-minute drive from Celtic Manor, this parkland curse was a great way to fight off the fog from our overnight flight and get in a few swings.
St Pierre is a parkland course and former host of the Solheim Cup. Treelined and tight, it presents a challenge for better golfers while also being an enjoyable outing for everyone. While a good length golf course at 6500 yards from the “regular” tees (it stretches to over 7000 yards from the back tees), accuracy is the key to scoring well at St Pierre.
The first hole is a good example of this. At 554 yards, only the longest of platers will go for the green in 2 but for the rest of us, an accurate layup with a long iron or hybrid is required and it need to be precisely placed to give yourself a shot at the green that isn’t blocked by the large tree on the left side of the fairway just short of the green. The second hole requires a drive placed on the left side as the right side can be blocked by another large tree. The third hole calls for a precise mid iron to a small green, the 4th hole is just plain long and mean as a 440 yard par 4 followed by the dogleg par 4 5th that requires a well placed tee shot to have a decent line into a green perched nicely on the side of a hill.
We only played the front nine (we had to get to the patio for a few beers with our friends) so we missed out on the signature 18th hole at St Pierre but our favourite on the front nine was the 6th hole, a short but scenic par 3. Measuring a respectable 163 yards, it plays significantly shorter as you face a downhill shot to a well bunkered green. It’s the view of the countryside that makes this hole so wonderful though. We were there on a chamber of commerce type day and the view was absolutely spectacular!
St Pierre is a challenging and fun to play parkland course set on a beautiful property with the Marriott St Pierre there ready to provide you a full-service visit. In speaking the General Manager, we were told extensive renovations are planned to the property with a long-term goal of hosting a European Tour event at some point in the future. With such a strong foundation, it will be interesting to see the course when the work is done.