The Course at Barkway Park was built on set-aside land belonging to the Pigg family (who are still freeholders), a member of which John Pigg, was one of those conceived the idea of a golf course in Barkway, and put it into reality. The gently undulating terrain was well provided with ditches and, hedges, both of which, particularly the ditches, remain as stroke-gobbling hazards.Designed by Vivian Saunders the 18 holes have always posed a challenge, enhanced by the almost ever present wind. At just under 7000 yards off the white tees with only three short holes, the par is a tough 74. Just after the course was opened in 1990 Vivian visited to see if there were any problems. She was told that most of the men were grumbling that the 2nd was to hard – the carry over the ditch was beyond them. “Take me out there to the back tee.” She said. A buggy was summoned and out she went. On the back tee she pulled out a three wood. One smooth swing later the ball, into the wind, sailed over the ditch. “I see no problem,” she said, subject closed. The men are still laying up short of that ditch to this day.
No bunkers were put in until the course had been in play for a while - with laudable result that those on the course now all present real difficulties for the average golfer of reasonable standard. Trees were planted by the thousand, and have been slow to establish themselves due to having to put down really deep roots to get to the water table. This feature is however a plus - due to the subsoil structure the land is excellent at draining, and it is Barkway’s proud boast that except in conditions of actual flood or snow the course is always open, and uses the main tees and greens all year round.
The course remains as almost as designed, although the 15th hole has been shortened to a comfortable 141 yards, and three of the greens (1st, 7th, and 15th) have been considerably increased in size. The greens generally are now acknowledged to be the finest in the area – due to the excellent policy of the current owner in putting the state of the course as an absolute priority.
Barkway Park has a really friendly atmosphere. This was a wish of John Pigg’s from the outset. The first committee meeting was held – before the course was open or any clubhouse facilities were available – in the nearby Woodman pub. The minutes of that meeting record that those present emphasised that there were to be no cliques, absolute equality for all members, and that the object of the exercise was to create a club where all would feel welcome and enjoy themselves and their golf. All competitions, and all informal meetings during the week are held on a draw basis, so the new member will quickly get to know all the other members. Ladies sit on the main committee.
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