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Suffolk's Best Breaks 2011: Stoke by Nayland Golf Club

PUBLISHED: 15:49 20 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:31 20 February 2013

Suffolk's Best Breaks 2011: Stoke by Nayland Golf Club

Suffolk's Best Breaks 2011: Stoke by Nayland Golf Club

Richard Bryson tees off on one of the county's finest courses

Richard Bryson tees off on one of the county's finest courses



Forgive me a moment of reflection I will come to the hotel and its facilities later but .I can recall the birth of Stoke by Naylands two 18-hole championship golf courses back in 1972. If memory serves the Gainsborough came first with the Constable no less a test of golf soon to follow. Both have matured nicely. The young saplings planted on the Gainsborough have shot up in the past 38 years to nicely define the holes on this course as it stretches out towards Leavenheath..


Oh, and the Constable with its views of Stoke by Nayland church and tranquil ponds guarding seemingly easy to hit greens looks stunning and is never to be under-restimated.


But perhaps the biggest change has come with the clubhouse and hotel. When I was playing it was just the clubhouse and car park behind. Now there is an 80-room hotel, spa, pro shop and more dominating this site in an Area of Outstanding Beauty, no less. Business and commerce wait for no man (or woman) and such cracking golf courses were always going to be the starting point for a major development of supporting rest and recuperation facilities.


I played the Constable course again recently and was reminded of its attraction for every standard of player. I hadnt struck a ball for almost a year so inevitably I had a poor score on the water-edged first hole. But some broad fairways helped me find a little form and, buoyed by a few good tee shots and putts, I pieced together a round any very occasional player would describe as nudging respectability.


Better players than me will enjoy testing themselves here and no wonder the golf days and breaks are in demand in this part of south Suffolk. There are actually undulations in this part of the world adding visual as well as golfing interest to both courses.


I didnt mind the relaxed dining in the old clubhouse but I have to say the hotels newly-refurbished Lakes Restaurant (open to the public, members and hotel guests and commanding superb views over the lake and 18th greens of both courses) is exceptional. A friend and I sampled the food after a round and found it to be well above the standard of cuisine you find at many golfing establishments and since many clubs have upped their quality in the past decade or so that really is high praise.


Excellent parmesan creamed egg, wild mushroom on toast and Champagne pickled shallots doesnt sound like your average golf club starter but it was a delight. Similarly the Blythburgh pork and 28-day aged Aberdeen Angus steak with thank goodness - crisp and not greasy and floppy hand-cut chips werev in aleague of their own.


The restaurant opens out onto the south terrace which in the summer provides an idyllic area for al fresco dining, pre-dinner drinks and canaps, a barbeque, or simply the perfect place to relax and enjoy the magnificent panoramic scenery.


So if the golf and eating are both top drawer what about the hotel and spa? Well the rooms are spacious and very well equipped and the spa now offers almost every beauty/well-being treatment known to man and woman .If you dont want to walk the fairways there are exercise and pampering options galore, and, hopefully, to be reviewed another day.


The Stoke by Nayland Club, Keepers Lane, Leavenheath, Colchester, Essex, CO6 4PZ. Tel: 01206 262836.

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