The Cowdray Estate hosts corporate entertainment, hospitality events and multi leisure activities events on our 16,500 acre Estate, a large proportion of which is forestry and agricultural land.
The Cowdray Estate is near Midhurst, West Sussex close to the borders of Surrey and Hampshire, just one hour from London. The Cowdray Estate offers leisure activities such as fishing and wildlife experiences – including badger watching.
The Cowdray Estate also offers filming locations, venues for your events, wedding reception venues – please contact the Leisure Office at Cowdray Park Golf Club for more information.
The Cowdray Park Polo Club is now one of the largest in Britain with over 700 non-playing members. The main event of the year is the Gold Cup, which is held in July and has become gradually bigger and better each year.
SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2015 : Our Summer newsletter is now in circulation. Pick up a copy when you are next at Cowdray or download it here: Summer Newsletter 2015
SUSSEX LIFE MAGAZINE: Lady Cowdray is pleased to be writing a column for the county magazine Sussex Life. See below the May article and click links to previous editions.
Over a century ago, my husband’s great grandfather founded Cowdray Park Golf Club to be enjoyed by his employees. Today, the beautiful site that he chose, in parkland originally laid out by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, is much appreciated by its wide variety of members, a thriving junior section, and many visiting players. The course is playable virtually all year because of the lighter sandy soils in our part of the South Downs. However, its excellent condition has much to do with the skill of Jonathan Smith, Head Groundsman, his assistant Leigh Holloway, and the other members of Jonathan’s team. Jonathan played golf as a youngster and knew from an early age that he wanted to work in the sport. On leaving school he undertook the necessary courses to become a specialist green-keeper.
Both Jonathan and Leigh have worked at the Golf Club for 15 years whilst General Manager Phil Stevens has been steadily implementing a programme of improvements. Chief amongst these has been the planting of large numbers of shrubs and trees, some to provide windbreaks, some for screening and many to create greater interest on the course. Evergreen oaks planted 12 years ago provide protection around the driving range and also shield the first hole, whilst beech and chestnut planted in clumps permit spectacular views over the parkland. Set-aside has been introduced so that there is increased ‘rough’, the narrower fairways making play more interesting and challenging.
Winter is a time for maintenance, repairs and construction, although mowing continues once a week until the grass starts its spring growth. After that mowing is a full time job. Although the course is particularly dry, three holes have a clay content, and during the record- breaking wet winters of 2013 and 2014, had to be closed. A major drainage project to cut into the ground, install multiple pipes, and repair with sand, topsoil and grass seed will ensure that all 18 holes are playable all year.
In line with the general desire on the Estate to rely as little as possible on chemicals, the fairways receive no weedkillers or fertilisers. Frequent mowing means that clippings help re-generate the grass. Jonathan is also a big believer in aeration and scarification. Greens, however, have to be managed to keep up the very high standard needed for a championship course, but treating and fertilising only the greens means that just a small percentage of the total acreage receives chemicals and the abundant wildlife can flourish. A recent initiative has been the installation of a bio Loo accessed from both the 7th and 14th holes. Not only does it work efficiently, I’m told it’s completely odourless and, with solar powered lighting, its green credentials are impeccable!
The staff tell me that they get up every morning looking forward to their day. They enjoy a word with the regular players and particularly like to see visitors enjoying the course for the first time – the universal reaction being one of admiration for its particular challenges and the spectacular views. I’m sure that every player also appreciates the magnificent efforts of the grounds team.