It was Mark Twain who was famously quoted as saying that golf was “a good walk spoiled”. Clearly, he’d never taken part in the relatively new past-time of ‘Pub Golf’, which can maybe now be described as “a good walk, made even better”.
For the uninitiated, pub golf involves walking to various 18 holes (pubs) of a given area, or mapped out course, and having a drink of choice in each. Alcohol is usually the chosen drink at many holes, though to last the course (no pun intended), soft drinks, water or caffeine is sometimes chosen. The ‘par’ score at a hole is the-number-of-times-you-take-a-swig-of-your-drink. The better golfers may enjoy plenty of ‘holes-in-one’, the less experienced players may treat every hole as a leisurely par 5…..its your score, you decide. The event is made a lot more fun if proper golfing attire is worn i.e. badly fitting v-necked tank tops or jumpers, colour clashing trousers, white shoes, caps, etc. Actual golf clubs are an optional extra, though plastic toy ones are always handy (at certain holes they may be a life-saver) or as the event turns boisterous later in the round
There are many different routes to play pub golf in Dronny, but here’s just one:
Hole 1: Hearty Oak, Par 4.
Nothing special about this hole, just gets you in the swing of it. Apparently, you can get a buffet for about 300 people for £23.50, so may be wise to get your stomach ‘lined’ here.
Hole 2: Miners, Par 4.
Much as above, steady hole, bit out-dated, needs re-laying & re-designing. Negotiate it & move on.
Hole 3: Talbot, Par 3.
Due to lack of players, this hole has been shut in the past. Now with a new green-keeper, its a decent par 3, with a big wide landing area.
Hole 4: The Farmer, Par 5.
Well known, busy hole, just let down by junior members scampering around the fairway and green. Green keepers here are two very nice young men, and no-one seems to really mind at all.
Hole 5: Hyde Park, Par 5.
It’s a long yardage walk from the Farmer, all uphill, and in all honesty probably not worth the effort, though the view from the green is excellent. Uncommitted fair-weather golfers may be tempted to miss this hole out completely. So would I be.
Hole 6: 3 Tuns, Par 4.
Another long walk, though its all downhill, as it has been for this hole in recent years. Strange concoctions of liquids are used at this hole. ‘Spire’ green-keepers swear by them. Many others just swear at them.
Holes 7, 8 & 9: Dronny Bottom Bunkers
Hole 7: Swan, Par 4.
The music hole, kept afloat by an 80s pop musicians’ dedication. Also tends to stay open long after other holes have shut. You will often find people playing ‘around’ (pun intended) into the early morning hours, sometimes until “Fore”. Look out for the noises from the dogs in the nearby junkyard, and a roaming fox.
Hole 8: The Sidings, Par 4.
AKA Dronny Arms, but to true golfers this hole will always be The Sidings. Nice greens, nice green staff, nicely maintained. A nice hole, unfortunately in a not-so-nice part of the course.
Hole 9: The Bridge, Par 3.
Watch out for the rough. The green is rough, the fairway is rough, the green staff are rough, and the rough is rough. Its all rough. Its a very quick, short par 3, maybe a ‘hole-in-hole’ should be attempted here. And you may need your clubs if the hole gets a bit ‘lively’.
Hole 10: Dragon, Par 4.
Once a key hole on the course, now just another name on the card. There isnt a Dragon on the green either, in case you were wondering.
Hole 11: Manor House, Par 4.
Despite the name, its not a house, though the weary golfer can find a place here to rest his head. I’d advise not to fall asleep on the green however, as beds are available at this hole. Beware the cougars lurking in the long grass, especially at weekends.
Hole 12: Stoops, Par 3.
Currently in transition from being a popular hole to an un-loved hole, and is now just a hole, hopefully soon-to-be a decent hole. Another quick par 3.
Hole 13: The Vic, Par 4.
Small, but now perfectly formed. An inviting hole, green well manicured and cared for. A few hazards to watch out for, mainly the locals on the practice green outside.
Hole 14: The Coach, Par 5.
A shared green with local football team, but remains a pleasant popular hole. Acclaimed ‘Thornbridge’ greenstaff keep the well-watered hole to a good standard.
Holes 15,16, 17, & 18: Coal Aston Corner
Hole 15: The Yew Tree, Par 3.
Another long uphill walk, but neccessary yardage to get to this closing stretch of holes. Having completed this hole, you’ll wonder why you bothered. Move on.
Hole 16: Chequers, Par 4.
‘2 for 1’ this hole screams at you from outside. Luckily thats the food offer. One drink is enough. Move on.
Hole 17: Royal Oak, Par 5.
Golfers are sometimes pigeon-holed as mature, slow & ‘a bit-past-it’. This hole is their natural home. You can come back here when you’ve retired, for a slow, mature time on the green. For now, move on.
Hole 18: Cross Daggers, Par 4.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve made it to the end! (or the start, if you’re doing the course the other way round). A traditional hole, lots of character, lots of warmth, and played by warm locals, offering a warm welcome, wearing warm clothing & drinking warm beer. You have been warmed!