By Jeremy Ellwood published
Gerrards Cross Golf Club Course Review
GF Round: £55-£70wd; Day: £75-£100wd; Twilight round: £42wd
Par 69, 6,243 yards
GM Verdict – A very pleasant parkland layout split over two levels, featuring a short, sharp climb to the upper holes via the par-3 5th and an excellent closing stretch.
Favourite Hole – The 17th is a lovely mid-length par 4 that plays across a wooded sideslope before the final descent back to the clubhouse.
Laid out in the Misbourne Valley below the South Buckinghamshire town of Gerrards Cross lies the town’s beautiful parkland course, which celebrates its centenary in 2022. The original course was laid out in the grounds of the Chalfont Park estate, the legacy of which is a number of fine arboreal specimens among the many trees lining the fairways, as the course plays through mature woodland via an excellent mix of holes.
Related: best golf courses in Buckinghamshire
Although mostly easy-walking, you do climb from the lower ground, where the testing opening quartet plays, to the upper ground, where the main body of the course lies, in one fell swoop via the memorable and steeply uphill par-3 5th. The immediate rewards of the ascent are the dangerous but potentially drivable short par-4 6th and then the layout’s solitary par 5, which sweeps round to the left.
The club’s origins are linked to an ultimately unsuccessful venture to transform Chalfont Park House into a resort hotel after World War I. The golf element of that project comprised two distinct nine-hole courses laid out either side of the Misbourne, one where the town bypass now stands. The grand opening in 1922 featured an exhibition match between six-time Open champion Harry Vardon and 1920 champion George Duncan, who would narrowly miss out on a second Claret Jug three months later.
The club did well to survive the demise of the hotel in the early 1930s, since when the course has undergone many changes, most significantly for the building of the bypass in the 1960s. You’ll certainly remember that uphill 5th, but the other par 3s are all strong, too, among them the down-and-up 13th, which is cut beautifully through the trees and plays across a gentle gully. This is one of many fine holes to be found in the upper section of the course, with the run for home then starting with the excellent dogleg-right 14th and the very straight, but long, par-4 15th.
The descent back down to clubhouse level is a little more gradual than the ascent until you hit the second half of the stirring 18th, which plays quite steeply back down to a green just beyond the river.
Prior to that, the mid-length, downhill par-3 16th is strikingly framed by two tall sentinel pines halfway down the hole, while the self-enclosed 17th rolls alluringly across a wooded sideslope before the exhilarating, long par-4 18th rounds things off in style. A soft draw is a definite asset on the final hole in the quest to get it round the dogleg as far as possible to leave yourself a manageable final approach over the river.
Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...
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