The original golf course at Donnington, located midway between Newbury and the M4 motorway, was owned by the Cox family who built the course themselves and turned part of their home into a bar and committee room while the pro shop and changing rooms were housed in two temporary buildings.
From those humble beginnings back in 1988 have come a 4 star hotel with 58 bedrooms, a clubhouse located in a Grade II listed Victorian building and an 18-hole, 6,353 yard golf course where the Southern Region of the PGA will be holding a tournament event in June.
These developments started when industrialist Sir Peter Michael bought the original course. The hotel was built first, on the site of the original clubhouse, and initially incorporated the golf club facilities within.
In 1995 Sir Peter acquired the adjoining estate of Snelsmore House. This provided sufficient land for the extension of the golf course which was redesigned and rebuilt by Mike Smith, the newly-appointed director of golf, and Andy Burnham, head greenkeeper, with his team of seven staff. The work, which included the installation of a full irrigation system, took from 1998 to 2000 to complete.
Snelsmore House, which is approached by an impressive drive through the golf course, now houses the Donnington Valley Golf Club and is surrounded by mature trees which date back to the time when the house was the weekend retreat of Lord Zetland and his family.
Over the next few weeks several events will mark the public launch of the extended golf course and new clubhouse. “We are very proud of our new course and the efforts put in by everybody to make it a success,” said Mike Smith. “We now look forward to seeing the course mature and the membership grow.”
Donnington Valley Golf Club www.donningtonvalley.co.uk