We tried the ‘very popular’ Sunday lunch carvery at Knowle Golf Club and it did not disappoint

‘You simply don’t expect to find such a tranquil and beautiful place so close to the traffic-choked Bath Road’

I shouldn’t have even been in there. After all, I’m not a member, I don’t own a club tie and I don’t know anybody I could bribe to sign me in.

In my defence, I do live in the area and I am genuinely considering a membership for Knowle Golf Club. Purely as a ‘social’ member, of course, rather than playing golf itself, but then you never know.

Apart from a quick pre-Christmas game of mini golf at Welsh footballer Gareth Bale’s new Bristol bar Par 59, I haven’t picked up a club for decades other than crazy golf on Weston-super-Mare seafront.

Not that the beautiful course at Knowle Golf Club isn’t a temptation. The tree-lined parkland, undulating hills and wide fairways make it one of the best courses in the region. But this is a serious golf club and they probably wouldn’t want the likes of me swinging their irons on the immaculate greens and digging holes into the hallowed turf like a JCB.

The first thing you notice about Knowle Golf Club is that it’s not in Knowle. Part of it is technically in Brislington and the far end is more like Stockwood, but it has members from all over the city and beyond.

As I arrived through the impressive gates and into the clubhouse via the ‘gentlemen’s entrance’ (presumably a hangover from the old days as women aren’t just welcome now, they are among the best golfers there apparently), the view of the sunlit course is stunning. You simply don’t expect to find such a tranquil and beautiful place so close to the traffic-choked Bath Road.

Apart from a couple of nonchalant deer and a mad squirrel running around the grass like Mo Farah, the course was closed but the clubhouse was open for business and packed.

The Sunday carveries are back. That’s the big news at Knowle Golf Club and the reason I had pre-booked Sunday lunch one weekday evening when I slipped into the bar and ordered a pint of Bass before anybody had time to ask for my membership card.

The dining area at Knowle Golf Club

Not that I wasn’t rumbled. A few of the old boys in the bar - the ones wearing club sweaters and golfers’ tans - clearly realised I was a bare-faced interloper - but they generously turned a blind eye. I was on my best behaviour.

But then if I’m to join the club, I needed to check out the bar and the restaurant beforehand. And, to be honest, I could have signed up on the strength of the beer quality alone. My pint of Bass was as immaculately kept as the shorn grass at the 18th hole.

The Sunday carvery is served in the wood-panelled restaurant with its trophies, honour boards listing captains from previous years and photographs of past champions. The Sunday lunches are served from 12.30pm-2pm and they were fully booked on the day I was there. It’s run like a military operation, too.

The Sunday lunch carvery at Knowle Golf Club

You queue up with your warm plate at the first serving station where the chef carves the meat (beef or pork on this occasion) and then you move on to the next hotplate where a waitress dishes out the vegetables and accompaniments with more generosity than many pubs I can mention.

Two courses cost £18.50 (adults) and it’s £13.95 for children under-12, which is great value considering the price also includes coffee or tea at the end. I went for a combination of roast beef and pork and the meat was thickly sliced and tender. The roast potatoes were crunchy on the outside and fluffy within, the vegetables (roast parsnips, carrots, mange tout and broccoli) perfectly cooked and the cauliflower cheese unimprovably good.

Diners get to pour their own gravy from the huge vat at the end of the table, where the bowls of creamed horseradish and apple sauce are. At the end of the first course, waiting staff clear plates and take orders for pudding, most of them traditional school dinner favourites.

The steamed stem ginger pudding and custard is one of the ‘old school’ desserts on offer

My hot stem ginger sponge pudding was a proper rib-sticker of a dessert with quite a fiery kick from the ginger and there was lashings of thick custard. It was fantastic.

By the end of the meal, I was ready to have a nap rather than a round of golf. As far as Sunday lunch venues go, it was as clubbable as they get. I really must complete that membership form now.

The next carvery at Knowle Golf Club is on January 29 and then they are served on February 12 and 26, and March 12.

Knowle Golf Club, Fairway, West Town Lane, Bristol, BS4 5DF.