Contributing Editor Rob Smith reviews the course at the Centurion Club, a new breed of golf club where the focus is on playing, having fun and relaxing.
Centurion Club Course Review
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 five 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 that has already made its way into the Golf Monthly Next 100.
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.
The fifth is a lovely short hole which leads you towards more open and gently rolling land beyond.
The seventh runs beside the trees to a green that slopes away from you, with the furthest point of the course – the ninth green – visible just beyond.
For fans of risk-reward and drama, the twelfth is a real treat – down the hill and round the corner, then (hopefully!) over a pond to a beautifully-sited green.
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.
Golf in the UK is still dominated by the traditional members’ clubs with all the characteristics which that entails. Most of these are good, but not all are to everyone’s taste. Dress codes and formality are still bywords at many such establishments, but as golf looks to attract the next generation, there has been a void in the market.
Relaxation is very much the name of the game at Centurion where the emphasis is on making sure that members and their guests feel truly at home. Play when you want to, eat what you like, wear what makes you feel comfortable, and come and go as you please.
The Centurion Club – one of a new breed.