By Sam Tremlett
Take a look at some of our favourite golf courses in Hertfordshire.
The Best Golf Courses In Hertfordshire
Derived from the Anglo-Saxon heort ford, which means deer crossing, Hertfordshire is home to a selection of scenic and beautiful golf courses. Ashridge is believed by many to be the best, however it is The Grove that arguably has the highest profile after the 2006 WGC-American Express Championship was held there. Tiger Woods just so happened to win that tournament by eight shots with rounds of 63-64-67-67.
Indeed Centurion Golf Club has also hosted a Tour event as it provided the battleground for the second GolfSixes event which was won by Ireland.
By no means are they the only three courses worth playing though so to narrow down the long list for you we have included our favourites in this piece.
Related: Golf Monthly’s UK&I Top 100 Courses
Not too many proper tests of golf have no sand bunkers; Berkhamsted is a notable exception. James Braid’s offering is instead tree-lined and protected by some lengthy carries over heather as well as plenty of bracken and gorse. Assuming that you avoid all this, when you approach the greens, they are small. Grim’s Dyke, an ancient earthwork, crosses the course in a number of places. The 9th is an excellent two-shotter with the drive over (hopefully!) a road and usually playing much more than its length.
The Kyle Phillips designed layout at the Grove in Hertfordshire is one of the best courses built in the UK this century. The fact it was chosen to host the WGC-American Express Championship of 2006 provides confirmation of its quality.
The Grove is an excellent modern take on the great British parkland and heathland courses of the early 1900s. Making use of the natural contouring, the undulating fairways stretch attractively across this mature swathe of parkland with a wonderful array of trees lining many holes. The USGA specification greens are exceptionally true and, given the quality of their construction, they remain at a high standard 12 months a year.
The Grove was formerly the home of the Earl of Clarendon. The old house has been renovated and transformed into a luxurious five star hotel.
The course is a rare and genuine delight from start to finish, kept in immaculate order. The first two holes run gently down a wide valley and will ease you into the round as wayward shots tend to gather back down the slope. If you can, its best to make some good scores here before the 4th and 5th holes which are tough and long.
The front nine concludes with a picture-perfect, relatively short par 4 with a green that is as tricky to find as it is to putt on. Distinctly birdie-able, it is sure to have ruined a good medal score on many occasion.
The back nine opens with a straightaway par 4 and yet another lovely short hole, this one beautifully framed by bunkers.
The next four holes go 4-5-4-5 – two very strong two-shotters counterbalanced by long holes that raise the hope of a birdie to atone for the previous bogey!
The best courses tend to have a strong closing hole and there is no exception here at the 433-yard downhill 18th. As with the 9th, it is perfectly located under the watchful eye of the clubhouse balcony.
The course at Bushey Hall is ideally suited for golfers of all abilities. Tight, tree lined fairways, water and thick rough will challenge better players but, at just under 6,000 yards this is also a course that the novice can enjoy. The 13 th is a tough dog-leg par-4. At 479 yards the tee shot needs to be long and tight to the left hand bunkerotherwise the second shot will be extremely long. The 18 th is a good finishing hole with a stream to negotiate and a pond behind the green. The timber frame of the clubhouse at Bushey Hall is listed and this gives an indication of the history and heritage that abounds at this club that’s over 100-years old.
Many of today’s younger-minded golfers are looking for somewhere that is welcoming, inclusive, family-friendly and unstuffy. After a stuttering on-off inception, new owners came in eight years ago to help fulfil this demand at the Centurion Club on the north-western outskirts of London.
Architect Simon Gidman was given the remit of revising his original specification and building a course of championship status by developing greens with greater and more dramatic contouring, adding and revising bunkers, and creating greater length. The result is a very distinct mix of tree-lined and more heathland and undulating holes, as shown by the recent GolfSixes event held there in May of this year.
Although it stretches to a prodigious length from the back, the regular tees for everyday play offer no fewer than seven par 5s which means that with five attractive and varied short holes, the par is 74. There are plenty of elevated tees, in the region of 80 bunkers, and four water features, the most daunting of which is a pond in front of the beautifully-sited twelfth green.
The bent grass greens are firm and true and will always reward good putting, and with so many par 5s, the risk-reward factor is high and there are chances to score well.
Although water is a regular feature, it never dominates, and there is plenty more fun on the closing holes, with a pretty par 3 at seventeen, and then a final long hole where the approach must not go right.
The High Course at Moor Park was designed by Harry Colt and opened for play in 1923. The layout offers a stern test with sweeping fairways passing streams, woods and clever bunkering en-route to challenging putting surfaces. The course has been the venue for numerous professional competitions over the years including the PGA Matchplay of 1925.
Moor Park Mansion is an impressive 17th Century building that acts as an imposing backdrop and a stunning clubhouse.
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Opened in 1922, Hadley Wood was designed by the creator of Augusta National, Alister MacKenzie. Indeed as you work your way around the golf course a stones throw away from London, you see all the usual hallmarks of a MacKenzie design. Strategic bunkering is common and the greens provide a stern test due to being multi-tiered and raised on plateaux's. It comes as no surprise that the course was used as Open Regional Qualifying in the early 2000's.
Your round starts with a fairly straight-forward par-5 which measures at only 494-yards. This is a clear birdie opportunity because the drive plays down hill and many golfers will be able to reach in two and start their round off in style. The signature hole is probably the 10th. At 185 yards it is a moderate one-shotter but there are two things to avoid here. First, make sure you hit it over 100 yards worth of water in front of the tee. And second, try and steer clear of the bunkers which lurk short of the green too.
At 6,517 yards off the back tees, Hadley Wood provides a manageable test of your golf game.
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A golfer for most of his life, Sam started playing the game to prove he was the best player out of his father and two brothers.
He quickly became a golf equipment expert and has always been the one family and friends come to for buying advice, and spends a lot of his time putting golf gear, apparel and shoes to the test.
He is a graduate of Swansea University where he studied History and American Studies, and he has been a part of the Golf Monthly team since February 2018. He also previously worked for World Soccer and Rugby World magazines.
A jack of all trades across print and digital formats, Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website. He also oversees all Tour player content as well.
Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five.
Sam is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TS3
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees)
Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circa 62 #6