Welcome – I don’t know if there is a more dog-friendly course around, but I’m sure you’d struggle to find a more animal-friendly course anywhere than New Forest. Four-legged creatures freely grazing far outnumber the mere iron-toting bipeds. The myriad of dog-walkers crisscrossing the area were the least of the animal kingdom represented. The video above provides a bit of a flavour of the farmyard experience – horses on the green (though pretty much always on the fringes as the green itself simply doesn’t have long enough grass to nibble). All of the herd seems pretty non-plussed by the golfers passing by.
Wildlife – The whole eponymous New Forest area is defined by its distinctive pastoral “wildlife”:
- “The New Forest is one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in Southern England, covering southwest Hampshire and southeast Wiltshire. It was proclaimed a royal forest by William the Conqueror, featuring in the Domesday Book. Pre-existing rights of common pasture are still recognised today, being enforced by official verderers.Commoners’ cattle, ponies and donkeys roam throughout the open heath and much of the woodland, and it is largely their grazing that maintains the open character of the Forest. They are also frequently seen in the Forest villages, where home and shop owners must take care to keep them out of gardens and shops. The New Forest pony is one of the indigenous horse breeds of the British Isles, and is one of the New Forest’s most famous attractions – most of the Forest ponies are of this breed, but there are also some Shetlands and their crossbreeds.” – Wikipedia
Walk – On the courses, New “Forest” is a bit of a misnomer given how few trees there on the course itself. New “Prairie” is a bit more like apropos with its general flat topology and especially with the herds of wild horses, cattle and deer roaming all day. While the fairways are mostly wide open, there are plenty of trees on the fringes to provide shade at most of tees and greens.
Water – No really natural sources on the course and no return to clubhouse. The course map shows a small stream in the middle of the course (touching holes 9, 1, 15, 16, and 17) as well as a water hazard between 11 and 12, but they were all pretty desiccated. So fill your canteens before setting out.
Wind Down – One of our catalysts to coming down to the south coast was to visit some dear friends we have not seen for some time. As a result, our wind down was a BBQ in their sumptuously manicured garden. The course itself was open and serving beers and other refreshments which would have otherwise tempted us had we not been anxious to join our friends.