Charley Hull led the chorus of praise for Woburn Golf Club on the eve of the AIG Women’s British Open, where the world-class field are hungry to tackle the Marquess’ course.
The Englishwoman has been a member at the Bedfordshire venue since 2011 and was disappointed not to challenge for the title when the tournament was held here in 2016, finishing tied 17th.
This year, however, the 23-year-old feels the longer length of the course – the set-up is 308 yards longer that it was three years ago – suits her game far better this time around.
Hull said: “I really like the way they've set the golf course this year. They’ve actually set it up a lot longer than last time, so it’s nice.
“I’ve only played (the Marquess’) twice this year. I play the other two courses a lot more because they’re a lot tighter, and I like them, but this one is real good. I think this golf course does suit a player who’s longer because the holes are designed for the back tees.”
World no. 3 Lexi Thompson was tied eighth in 2016 and, like Hull, believes she will benefit from the added yardage as one of the longer hitters in the field.
“It played a lot different in 2016,” said the American. “It was a lot firmer, and this year it’s obviously gotten a lot more rain, especially with last night, so it’s a lot softer and greener.
“They've moved a few tee boxes back, so it’s good. It’s just playing a lot longer. It’s probably in the best shape I’ve seen.”
England’s Mel Reid concurred, adding: “The course is playing long. It’s definitely playing longer than last time we were here, which I'm all up for. I think that’s how a Major Championship should be. It should be a good test of golf, and the course is in immaculate condition. I’m really impressed with the condition of it.”
The 31-year-old, who needs a strong week to force herself into Solheim Cup contention added: “Last year I made the mistake of practising too much. I think I did 20 hours in two days of practice. I’ve taken it a lot easier this year, so hopefully that's going to make a difference.”
The Solheim Cup is hard to ignore, with just this event and next week’s ASI Ladies’ Scottish Open remaining for the European players to grab a spot in Catriona Matthew’s team.
Matthew said: “Obviously this being a Major, there are loads of LET points and world ranking points on offer. If someone comes out and wins this event, or next week, as well, they could come out from nowhere.
“I've got a kind of group of people I'm looking at, but I’ve got half an eye on others who could still come out and have a great couple of weeks. It’s kind of a tense time for the players, and it’s obviously going to be tricky telling the ones who don’t quite make it, so it’s always on your mind.”