Playing the best golf courses in Berkshire
Calcot Park does not follow the modern trend of opening with a gentle par five. The first hole is a testing par four of well over four hundred yards that demands two well-struck shots to negotiate the tree-lined fairway.
The second, at first sight, provides a measure of light relief but a well-guarded two-tiered green is receptive to only the most precise of pitches.
The water hazard traversing the front of the 3rd green is crossed by our new Millennium Bridge. The fourth is a par three of modest length, where strategically placed bunkers on the left and a large grass bunker on the right contribute to a tendency to come up short of the green.
The par four fifth relies on a constantly threatening stream and sloping fairway to trap the unwary.
The par three seventh, as well as being the most picturesque on the course, is also one of the most daunting. There is the small matter of a lake to be cleared from the tee! A sharp up-slope and front bunkers provide extra difficulty. Lest it be thought that the lake serves merely an aesthetic purpose, it should be noted that the esteemed Sir Henry Cotton once failed to clear the water during the News of the World Tournament!
The tenth offers a birdie opportunity to golfers of even moderate ability, which is probably just as well, as the long eleventh often requires a long iron to the green.
The closing six holes are scarcely less taxing and certainly no less scenic, with relatively benign par fours such as the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth contrasting with two superb short holes – the thirteenth and seventeenth.
The final hole provides a fitting and strenuous finish to the round and requires a well-drilled drive to clear the road that traverses the fairway. The green affords a splendid view of Calcot Park Mansion House, the Course's former Clubhouse.
Equipment: Best Bring a set of golf clubs and choose a warm sunny day. The course will be much favoured by all.
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Reading Football Club
Reading play professional football in the First Division of the Nationwide Football League.
They were established in 1871 and play their home games at the Madejski Stadium. The kit that they play in is blue and white hooped shirts, blue shorts and white socks.
My memories of going to Reading to watch football are a bit blurred as I was quite drunk. Reading played in the old Second Division then at their old stadium.
To be Continued
Equipment: A good pair of eyes to watch the game and a good pair of lungs to shout the teams on.
I know very little about fishing, but I do know that when I walk to and from work along the Kennet towpath, there are often lots of guys fishing, and I've never seen so many fish actually being pulled out of the water. So I guess that means the fishing is good :)
Reading Racers Speedway
Motorcycle speedway attracts little media publicity these days but there is still an enthusiastic following for the Racers in Reading.
The noise and the smell make it a terrific adrenalin-rush sport.
Equipment: The season runs from March to October
Messing about in boats
"There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
Kenneth Grahame wrote The Wind in the Willows in the village of Mapledurham, now within Reading's town boundaries. So Ratty - actually a vole - was a Reading Rat!
The River Kennet leads to the Kennet & Avon Canal, and thence to Bath and Bristol, for travellers by narrow boat - a great way to spend time on the water.
The River Thames can be used by larger cruising craft as well as narrow boats. The Thames leads to Oxford and the great canal systems of the Midlands via the Oxford Canal.
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