My latest golfing expedition was to The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel & Spa, which is situated near the town of Thame in Oxfordshire – just over an hour away from central London (traffic permitting of course). My experience started from the office on a Friday night, the plan was to get there in the evening, have some food, stay the night and then enjoy a round of golf the following morning.

Before I begin on my experience of The Oxfordshire I’ll start by giving you a bit of background information on the place. It was originally opened in 1993 as just a Golf Course with a Clubhouse. It then proceeded to hold many prestigious events through the mid-to-late 90’s including the Benson & Hedges European Open four years on the trot – so it’s a course with true Championship pedigree.

In the summer of 2010 The Oxfordshire was transformed into The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel & Spa when the 50 guestroom 4* hotel & spa was added.

We received a warm welcome at the hotel when we arrived in the evening and the rooms were great – just the type of accommodation you would require for a short golf break. After dropping our belongings off we headed straight to the Lakes Lounge Bar – drinks were reasonably priced and the atmosphere was good, making it the ideal place for a pre-dinner drink. Food was served in The Sakura Restaurant – I opted for the smoked salmon starter, steak for main and the chocolate mousse for dessert – all-in-all a really top-class meal. After eating it was back to the lounge for a few more drinks then off to bed to get some sleep for the 10.00am tee time.

The rooms at The Oxfordshire are superb, especially the beds – which guarantee a good nights sleep!

When I woke up I was eager to get out there and follow in the footsteps of the likes of the Benson & Hedges International winners Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Darren Clarke and Stephen Ames. So got up early, had a superb buffet breakfast in the restaurant and headed to the range – where I planned on honing my golf skills in preparation for my first ever round on The Oxfordshire.

My initial impressions of the course were good, considering the amount of rain that had fallen the previous day, not much run on the fairways but the greens were in superb condition – so there were no excuses! I started well birdying the first two holes! But it was back to reality on the third as I proceeded to hit my tee shot high and right, on the dog-leg par-4, never to be seen again…

The signature holes at The Oxfordshire are the 8th and the 17th – they also both feature in “The 500 World’s Greatest Golf Holes”, and deservedly so. “Risk and Reward” is the 8th – a treacherous par-4 which measures 313 yards and doglegs around one of the many lakes The Oxfordshire has to offer. It’s putting surface is situated on an island peninsula where there is also a huge oak tree which stands guard on an island in the lake. The carry to the putting surface is just 280 yards, so if you are feeling confident there is the opportunity to drive the green. My first attempt was agonizingly close – just 5 yards short of dry land! Needless to say I didn’t walk off the green on this hole with a respectable score. On reflection I would definitely recommend playing safe from the tee and playing round the fairway instead of going for the risky option! As you walk up the fairway of the 8th you will notice the large oak tree which is situated on a small island protecting the green – when I was there it was almost covered with balls!

The 17th at is bound to be one of your most memorable holes from your round at The Oxfordshire

The 17th hole is named “Treble Chance” and like the 8th, it is another risk and reward hole. The par-5 measures 516 yards (600 from the back tees) and is dominated by a giant lake which borders the left side of the fairway. The hole leaves you with the decision of either playing your second over the water to the fairway on the left or to carry on down the fairway on the right. If you choose the first option you will leave yourself with a shorter approach to the green but the risk of carrying your second shot over the water needs to be taken into account. The second option is the safer one, although you will be left with a longer approach shot to the severely sloping green. I played this hole the conservative way, as I’d already seen too much of the water today, and I was very happy to take a par-5.

The 17th at The Oxfordshire also happened to be the stage for 3 time major champion Padraig Harrington’s worst ever hole as a professional – taking 13 shots just a week after he turned pro back in 1996!

My group and I thoroughly enjoyed our short break at The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel & Spa, my only regret is that I didn’t have enough time to sample the spa facilities (having heard that they are very good). The course is of proper championship standard and is certainly a tough nut to crack (I would definitely recommend bringing a handful of extra balls with you as the water is in play on many of the holes).

All things considered The Oxfordshire is a great venue for a short golf break away from the city. The accommodation is superb, the golf course is both challenging and in great condition and the food was delicious as well…what more could you ask for?

The 18th is a great finishing hole, and doglegs round to the right. It is only 390 yards, but plays considerably uphill so don’t assume that the finish is an easy one.

If you like the sound of planning your very own trip to The Oxfordshire then why not head over to our friends at Your Golf Travel. They’re able to offer some super golf packages to The Oxfordshire Golf Hotel & Spa starting from just £69! This includes 1 Night, 1 Round and Bed & Breakfast – superb value!