Wokefield Estate

Wokefield Estate 1

Wokefield Estate is a palatial complex with hazards of a size that rivals its sprawling country house namesake. A new benchmark for largest lake was the body of water on the 12 hole completely as long as the hole itself. For birdie position on this par 3, you have to traverse every inch of it. It reminded me of the dreaded 5th hole on the Shangri-La Villingili course in the Maldives. And the water extends further from there with rivulets extending from each end linking it to yet another sizeable body.

The sand traps are just as a leviathan sometimes larger than the greens themselves. In fact, Lori referred to them as “sand lakes”. Sort of the Morecombe Bay of golf courses (and just as dangerous). The trap at Hole 2 is like some runaway deformity with random appendages protruding in various directions like some giant, ball-eating, flat-world octopus. And the size of so many traps doesn’t mean the sand has been sucked up into a few big pits. There’s plenty of sand left for a huge number of smaller traps as well (71 in total to be precise).

Welcome – When I originally contacted Wokefield, they said that dogs were “welcome on a lead or under control”, but when a booked the tee time, the pro shop mentioned the lead again. As a result, while I have included the comment “on a lead or under control” in the Notes section of their profile, I have ticked them as a “Lead Required” course. Given all the wildlife around, it’s probably not a bad thing to have a bit of extra constraint to guard against temptation.

Walk – After so many hilly courses, Wokefield was a welcome relief as a nearly flat landscape.

Water – Eight water hazards in total, many of which are quite sizeable (see above) means that you are never very far from a sip of water for the dogs (and most quite accessible with gentle embankments in places to set down to them).

Wildlife – A virtual menagerie. Pheasants in all the rough. Rabbits too.. Water fowl galore. And even llamas by the exit!

Wind Down – For the first time since starting this site, we took our wind down at the halfway point with a tasty lunch and refreshing drink at clubhouse itself near the 9th Hole. Being a hotel operation, they had an extensive menu that was available all day long. The burger on brioche and very crunchy chips quite exceeded our expectations (though admittedly a bit pricier than your typical pub fare).

Expand your mind as big as the traps that surround you and get Woke to dog golfing.

Wokefield Estate 2

Wokefield Estate 3

Wokefield Estate 4


Sedgley 1

Welcome – Off to the dog golfing desert of the UK – the Midlands. My wife and I have long wanted to visit the Lake District and Blackpool to dance in the Tower Ballroom. Our previous dog golfing expeditions this year have taken us to coastal extremes – Norfolk to the east and Cornwall to the west. Now it is time to try the northwest coast. The outset of the trip underscored the challenges keeping information up to date. We originally planned to stop off at Brookfield GC about two-thirds (bit over 2 hours) of the way up to Blackpool, but when we set off and called for a tee-time, it turns out that they had shut down operations since I spoke to them last year. We then tried Enville and Burslem and both no longer allow dogs (the website database has been updated). We finally found Sedgley (aka Mark Butler Golf Academy) just past Birmingham. They are happy to have dogs, but are concerned that they be properly controlled with a lead and looked after (eg. cleaned up after) which they make clear when you arrive. That said, everyone there seemed very happy to welcome Rusty and Grace.

Walk – It’s mostly all downhill from the expansive vista at the clubhouse (see photo above). Unfortunately, you do have a Matterhorn like climb back up to the 8th and 9th at the end of your round (but being a short course it was all quite manageable).

Water – No water on the course, but again, being a short course you don’t have too long to go before you are back at the clubhouse for some water.

Wildlife – And not a lot of wildlife to speak of.

Wind Down – The doggie pubs situation in the area is nearly as limited as the dog golfing. We turned to our trusty site, DoggyPubs.org.uk, and went through about the first dozen without any luck to find one open and serving. So we had to make do with proceeding on our way for our northwest passage and simply stopping at a motorway services for some refreshment.

Sedgley 2

Sandy Lodge

Sandy Lodge dog golf 1

Welcome – The pro shop was most enthusiastic when I double checked about the dog friendly protocol. His response was that “most golf courses are aren’t they?” Well, unfortunately not (only about 15%), but it was encouraging to hear him think of it as “normal”. During the round, we also noticed a few local dog walkers passing through so the players must be used to dogs on the course.

Walk – The course is laid out on mostly flat countryside. The few elevations seem to be reserved for some precision shot par 3s. Except for the sand bunkers. Or should I say “sand abysses”. The course designer Harry Vardon made extensive use of “sleeper faced bunkers”. That means, like coal mines, the hole is so deep that you need to prop it up with wood planks. In fact, Hole1 has two bunkers with stairs going down into them (see below). Some sand traps seemed like they would benefit from lifts descending into their depths. But Hole 1 is nothing compared to the hole right after. Hole 2’s entire fairway is a sunken hazard topped by an edifice of sleepers more intimidating than Pointe du Hoc. Like baleen plates of a Blue Whale that has beached itself on the course and has taken to gorging on golf balls instead of krill. Throughout the course, some side of the bunkers are more suitable for abseiling than pitching.

Water – No natural bodies of water on this savannah like plain, but the course has provided water fountains at the 6th and 12th holes (which provided a fresher drink for the girls that the water in the bottles getting tepid in our carts).

Wildlife – We didn’t really encounter much in the way of wildlife except the obligatory squirrel here and there.

Wind Down – We decided that after a parching 32 degree round (even well supplied with drink), a doggie pub wind down was not only going to be too late for dinner, but too late for our urgent thirst. So we decided to grab a drink at the Sandy Lodge clubhouse. They have a particularly comfortable outdoor seating area and some alto-cumulous clouds were making for a Sistine Chapel like sunset worth savouring as much as our ice cold beverages. On his own initiative, the bartender also came out with a bowl of water for the girls which was especially considerate.

Sandy Lodge dog golf 2
Rusty and Grace hanging their heads in despair at the sand pit chasms.

Sandy Lodge dog golf 3

Calcot Park

Calcot Park dog golf 1

WelcomeCalcot Park is quite content to have dogs are long as they are on leads and looked after (euphemism for ‘make the mess is cleaned up’).

Walk – And the course is quite picturesque with gently undulating ups and downs in the landscape.

Water – Calcot Park has only one body of water, but it is a doozy. One of the biggest ponds (nearly a proper lake) I have seen at a golf course. And quite accessible to the dogs (over on the bridge side) to grab a sip.

Wildlife – Oh deer! This big body of water has attracted some big creatures. Notably deer. We saw deer about a half dozen times during our round.

Wind Down – For our wind down we opted for another DoggiePubs recommendation, the semi-eponymous Fox and Hounds Pub.

One caveat is that you might need to use your hounds’ sniffing skills to find the pub as it is not actually where it says it is (The British have the reputation for being the worst at giving directions, but actually it really the case that they are terrible with creating addresses. They are all vague and inconsistent. Numbers going up one side of the street and then down the other side, streets stopping and then starting again after some hiatus, vague addresses that have some house name on a street several miles long, etc.). The official address on their website and most listings is “Station Road”. Except that the pub isn’t actually on Station Road. It is sort of near Station Road (again, the British with the approximate addresses), but Station Road isn’t even the adjacent street. You take Station Road, then you go on Hangar Road and then you get to the pub which is actually on Deans Copse Road. I asked why their address said “Station Road” and the publican replied, “Oh, years ago this street used to be called ‘Station Road’.” History preservation I guess.

Their sign announces – “Furbabies Friendly – dog beds, water bowls, toys, paddling pool, poop bags, towels, free treats, ice cream @£3.50, and lots of fuss from the staff.” We were welcome by a couple of sweet resident French bulldogs accompanied by a jack russell and availed ourselves of the free doggie treats at the bar. We also ordered up the doggie ice cream. We have read about this stuff, but never tried it. Grace enjoyed it thoroughly (see photo at bottom).

A sign on the bar says “Vote for us for the Dog Friendlist Pub of the Year 2018” so they are setting their bar high. They’ve got (all) our votes! It was there that we found out about the competition and entered it ourselves, so while you are on the site, vote for DogGolf too!

Calcot Park dog golf 2

Calcot Park dog golf 3


Dog Friendly vote

Dog Golf UK is nominated for the annual Dog Friendly Awards in the UK. Please vote for us to help raise the profile of dog golfing in the UK and make it even more welcome.

Since 2003 we at DogFriendly have been helping businesses to open their doors to responsible dog owners and have given our members access to the largest database of dog friendly places to visit safe in the knowledge that their dogs will be as welcome as they are.”

Please vote HERE.



Chobham dog golf 1

WelcomeChobham gave us a delightfully warm welcome and noted that quite a number of members bring their dogs around for rounds. That is more than we can say for the first course we tried to golf at that day – Pine Ridge. We arrived and double checked on the dog protocol and they responded, “No, we don’t allow dogs”. Now actually, I had Pine Ridge’s dog (friendly) protocol down verbatim in more detail than just about any other club from when I called them some months ago – “We do allow dogs to walk around the course with the players however your dog would need to be on a lead. If your dog barks excessively we would ask you to take your dog off the course. No water on course.” That’s not something you make up or accidentally jot down. Fortunately, we were able to pull up DogGolf.info on the phone and find Chobham just down the road. But the incident did raise a few caveats.

  1. 1. DogGolf.info isn’t perfect – I try to research and update all the information, but mistakes can get made (not least of which by the club itself, in fact the golf pro implied that a previous employee might have been misinformed).
  2. 2. Always double check – Protocols and be fluid and change over time. Or the club might have special rules on the for the day due to and event or some other reason (we had tried to call Pine Ridge several times, but their phone system was on the fritz so part of our problem was getting hit by the double whammy of faulty info combined with inability to double check as we usually do).

Walk – Chobham GC is a remarkably picturesque course with dimension and variety in the landscape without alpine peaks to climb, and enough trees for shade without threading the needle through leafy couloirs.

Water – Water, water everywhere…and plenty of drops to drink. In fact, perhaps the most watery hole in the entire UK (at least the most of the many dog-friendly courses we have played) is at the 6th hole. There you will find an accessible lake (a nice graduated bank the dogs and walk down to get a drink), a toilet building (with a sink for refilling water bottles) AND a water fountain outside. A regular Minnesota of golf courses with its land ‘o lakes – 5 to be exact. Not pokey little water hazards, but proper, expansive ponds. Despite the scorching UK heat wave, these bodies of water were still ample and the dogs had a great opportunity to refresh along the course.

Wildlife – Like the oases in the desert and the water holes on the savannah, where there’s water, there’s wildlife. And Chobham was more a Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom than just about any course we have seen. The standard line-up of woodland creatures, ie. squirrels, rabbits, but also a teeming range of water fowl, ie. big gaggle of geese marching across the 4th fairway, moor hens, blue heron. It was a good thing that the course had a lead required policy because I think even Rusty and Grace’s biddability would have been challenged.

Wind Down – Too late for dinner service, but too parched to carry on home without a stop at our own water hole so down the road to a Doggie Pub recommendation, The Crown. A fenced in area at the front, a beer garden out back, and a welcome to dogs in the pub. A malamute puppy (and a big as Grace and Rusty combined) who is a regular greeted the girls with enthusiasm, but the girls were a bit less impressed.

Chobham dog golf 2

Postcards From the Edge of the Green

Dog golf postcard 3

(especially as dogs should be kept off the green)

A bit of a hiatus for some overseas holidays (where the dogs can’t join us and there is actually not hardly any golf). But I thought I would send a postcard (or postcards) nonetheless to our readers. Some vintage cards depicting dog golf in various guises.

Dog golfing originates from the earliest days of the sport when it was a gentlemen’s pursuit. Well-heeled gentry would hunt in the winter and golf in the summer. Or in other words, shoot birds in the winter and shoot birdies in the summer. So it was quite common for a golfer to take his trusty hounds, who had served him so well in shooting season, when he had a sunny outing on the course. I recently saw some fun vintage golfing postcards displayed at St. Enodoc and wondered if any such prints had been done which included dogs. The ones I uncovered are shared here.

Dog golf postcard 1

Dog golf postcard 4

Dog golf postcard 2