Aylesbury Vale Golf Club attracts many members from Milton Keynes as it is just a 15-minute drive from Bletchley, and it is actually closer to MK than Aylesbury. During lockdown, the club kept on its team of six greenkeepers to work full-time on the picturesque course, and the results have wowed new and old members alike. Celebrate:MK editor Jon Boyle took along Ray Pantling to try it out…
Legendary British golfer Harry Vardon once said, “For this game you need, above all else, to be in a tranquil frame of mind.”
It is just a shame that the six-time winner of The Open Championship never got the chance to play at Aylesbury Vale Golf Club, because peace and tranquility is what sets this course apart from any that I have ever experienced.
The course snakes through tranquil countryside, the greens are like carpets and the fairways are lined by tall trees, giving you the impression that you have the course to yourself.
There is no road noise, just the occasional woodpecker, fox, deer, kingfisher and red kite to keep you company.
I took along my good friend and Celebrate:MK columnist Ray Pantling (pictured right), who said that it was the first time in years he had been able to fully switch off from the stresses of daily life.
Ray was so impressed with the stunning course, the relaxed environment and the friendly nature of the members and staff that he picked up a membership leaflet on his way out.
The prices are cheaper than most I have seen, with a full 7-day membership priced at £925 per year (£799 + VAT + EGU fees and no joining fee), and an even cheaper 5-day option available. You can pay monthly too.
What really impresses me is the golf club’s dedication to quality, which is emphasised by the way they reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic.
When the course had to shut, they decided to keep on their entire team of six greenskeepers to work fulltime throughout lockdown.
It was a gamble that has paid off handsomely as the lavish condition of the coursehas attracted several new members.
We met Chris, Leo and Jason (who play off handicap 9, 19 and 5 respectively) who run the club, and they described their continued ambition to re-invest in the course, including three massive irrigation tanks this year, whilst maintaining a truly friendly environment for all to enjoy.
We chatted to members while we were playing – plus afterwards while enjoying an ice-cold pint of Stella Artois to cool down from our round in the sun – and they were all very friendly and happy to help when we had any questions.
The club has many young golfers too, as people aged under 33 receive a discount, as well as nearly 100 female members.
Another bonus is that the club clearly treats Covid-19 safety very seriously. They have closed their 10
bay concrete driving range due to Covid but opened up 14 new grass bays that average 5 metres wide each.
There will always be an outside area where seating will be over 2 metres apart, even when the UK is allowed a smaller distance, to ensure that all customers can feel at ease with the risk.
Head chef Heinz offers a variety of home made delights such as pizza and fish ’n’ chips that can be eaten in paper disposable packaging, removing the need for cutlery and plates.
The club also has excellent practice facilities, and resident professionals Russell Phillips and Terry Bunyan can tailor packages for individuals, groups or playing lessons.
Aylesbury Vale Golf Club is linked with 31 other clubs too that you can play with your membership. They also discount the bar, catering, driving range, shop goods and buggies by 10% for members.
I have visited a number of different courses over the years but this one offers a lot of bang for your buck, as well as the sweet sound of silence out on the fairways.
I thought the club would be in Aylesbury but it is actually closer to MK, situated in between the triangle of Stewkley, Soulbury and Wing.
As for our round, Ray thrashed me as I spent more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff!
If you haven’t played ‘The Vale’ yet you need to discover it for yourself. Or, if you played it 30 years
ago you need to return as its transformation is complete!
Phone 01525 240196 to book a tee time, then why not treat yourself rotten by joining this impressive,
friendly club whilst memberships remain.
Call Aylesbury Vale Golf Club on 01525 240196 and quote ‘Celebrate:MK’ for £20 off a new membership, with no joining fee. The club is located on Stewkley Road, Wing, LU7 0UJ. For further
info visit http://www.avgc.co.uk