Is anyone a golfer here?

That was the extent of the message that landed in my in-box as part of a group circular.

Usually these emails are looking for volunteers to try out a new restaurant/bar/afternoon tea experience in London. This was my chance.

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Although I wouldn't call myself 'a golfer', I'm a sport editor who plays the odd round of golf now and then.

The Resident: The Springs Resort and Golf Club is a grand Tudor-style house, built in the late 19th centuryThe Springs Resort and Golf Club is a grand Tudor-style house, built in the late 19th century (Image: The Springs)

I've never been a member of a club - my dad has in Essex and Somerset - but there was a time, more than two decades ago, when I had got my handicap down to 17 thanks to regular outings with a golf-mad friend. And probably my proudest golfing achievement was to play to that handicap on a course used as a qualifying venue for The Open.

I've enjoyed golfing trips to Cumbria, Scotland and France with old university friends, plus a pilgrimmage to the home of golf - St Andrews - to watch some of the biggest stars in action at the infamous Road Hole.

But a golfer, me? Not these days.

The Resident: The bright bar area was filled with lush decor The bright bar area was filled with lush decor (Image: The Springs)

I need a full 28 handicap to have a chance of a decent score, but even then a few extra strokes wouldn't go amiss. Still, after a quick look at the invitation, I threw my hat - or should that be cap? - into the ring with a fairly quick reply of 'Me' and a few emails later, I was turning off the M40 towards Wallingford in search of The Springs Resort & Golf Club.

It was a very pleasant, meandering drive through villages such as Britwell Salome and Ewelme on a bright April morning, with red kites gliding above in the pale blue sky overhead, as a Chinook helicopter came into land at RAF Benson.

A quick bit of research by my co-driver (the wife) en route found that the par-72 golf course was originally designed by former Ryder Cup captain Brian Huggett MBE.

The Resident: The green sandpiper suiteThe green sandpiper suite (Image: The Springs)

"I interviewed him!", I boasted. "He used to be the professional at Romford in the 1960s. The article was for the club's 125th anniversary. Lovely man!" Cleary, I was meant to play this course.

As the turning off the B4009 approached, we passed a community of wooden lodges that form part of the resort and then pulled through the entrance towards the grand Tudor-style house, built in the late 19th century. Although early, the extremely friendly and helpful staff in reception - a wonderful welcoming space, with a classical sofa and books galore that instantly caught my eye - checked us in and gave us some of the historical background on the place.

It had been previously owned by Ian Gillan of the 1970s band Deep Purple - who installed a guitar-shaped swimming pool! - but had sadly fallen into decline, before being beautifully renovated in recent times, with eye-catching artworks and some rock memorabilia adorning the corridor walls.

The Resident: The green sandpiper suite's bathroomThe green sandpiper suite's bathroom (Image: The Springs)

Our room - the Red Kite Suite, no less - was one of eight in the main building and a welcome sight for sore eyes after six nights away from home: a big double bed, very tastefully decorated with arty bird images on the wallpaper, a walk-in shower, Villeroy & Boch bathroom furniture and a pretty view out to the grounds and lake. We even got a fly past from some of the resident Canadian geese.

Suitably impressed - and already looking forward to a good night's sleep - we made our way across to the clubhouse as my tee-time approached.

Ascending a short wooden staircase to the Ridgeway Restaurant, we were greeted with yet more lush decor of mixed furnishings and a bright bar area, as golfers discussed their rounds in the Spike Bar beyond, and an outdoor terrace I could easily have spent my afternoon lounging upon, had I not been due on the first tee in the immediate future.

The Resident: The Wittenham suiteThe Wittenham suite (Image: The Springs)

My wife, on the other hand, had the time available to order herself a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc and settle down with a book on a comfortable cushioned couch in the corner of the bar, as I made my way to the opening hole.

My plan was to try and get six holes under my belt before returning to the main house for our one-hour slot in the 1893 Spa. But despite not playing that great - a couple of good drives here, a decent long putt there - I actually managed 10 holes in around an hour and a half before walking in, wishing I could've finished the entire round - or at least come down the 18th which looked like a great finishing hole.

The phrase 'leave them wanting more' is always a good guide. It did.

The Resident: The resort's spa loungeThe resort's spa lounge (Image: The Springs)

Time in the hydrotherapy pool, complete with those underwater jets to target particular aches, was welcome, with the forest backdrop on the wall reminding me of time spent in Canada's Rockies, and visits to the sauna and steam room helped the legs, shoulder and hip!

A range of treatments are also available (massages, manicures, pedicures, facials etc) at a fair price.

Dinner for two vegan/vegetarian visitors was a delight, with my soup of the day starter arguably the best tomato soup I've ever had, as my better half devoured her sundried tomato arancini, with fresh basil pesto. The chickpea, courgette and lentil tangine with apricot and coriander couscous was just as flavoursome, while the missus enjoyed half of her beetroot, red pepper and quinoa burger in a toasted bun - with chunky chips and coleslaw - before kindly offering me the rest!

The Resident: The terrace and its scenic viewsThe terrace and its scenic views (Image: The Springs)

And I made sure to savour every mouthful of my dessert - chocolate and orange torte with orange sorbet - while getting the chance to finish off the apple and forest fruit crumble with clotted cream that somebody else couldn't!

The drinks menu was also extensive, catering to all tastes with wines, cocktails, beers, spirits, liquers and soft all available.

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The Resident: The resort's hydro poolThe resort's hydro pool (Image: The Springs)

Staff could not have been friendlier or more accomodating and, after that much-needed solid night's sleep, the veggie breakfast was equally satisfying - vegan sausage, eggs, hash browns, mushrooms, tomato, beans, toast - alongside a good Americano, with waffles, brioche buns, granola and various egg dishes also up for grabs.

We got a tour of one of the lodges before leaving, which was spacious, had great views of the lake and its own hot tub and drove off wondering who we would invite to join us at some future date: elderly parents, another couple, a few golfing pals? Probably all of the above.

Address: Wallingford Road, North Stoke, Wallingford OX10 6BE