Harpenden Common Golf Club Course Review

The pretty course at friendly Harpenden Common Golf Club is great fun and rewards brain over brawn

Harpenden Common Golf Club - Feature
The green on the closing hole, a par 3, is surrounded by sand
(Image credit: Harpenden Common Golf Club)

Harpenden Common Golf Club Course Review
Round: £45; Day: £55
Par 70, 6,214 yards
Slope 121
GM Verdict An extremely welcoming club with a charming and easy-walking course kept in fine shape all year
Favourite Hole The just-about drivable 7th, a short par 4 that turns left to right past an attractive pond

Harpenden Common was founded in 1931 although golf had been played on the common as long ago as 1895. The friendly club has evolved greatly in its 90-plus years, thanks largely to a major upgrade in 1996 under the jurisdiction of local man, Ken Brown. The former Ryder Cup golfer turned commentator is a local who has had a long-standing and close relationship with the club.

Harpenden Common - General

Many of the holes run through beautiful old trees

(Image credit: Harpenden Common Golf Club)

Each nine has a pair of short holes and one par 5, and rather unusually the two earlier par 3s are back-to-back at the 4th and 5th. The first of these is generally regarded as the signature hole and is a shade under 200 yards from the back tee, while the following hole is substantially shorter but still requires a well struck iron. Also unusually, both holes are bunker free.

Harpenden Common - Hole 9

Looking back from behind the ninth green

(Image credit: Harpenden Common Golf Club)

The 7th is a super risk-reward short par 4 that takes a handbrake turn to the right and where there is a pond waiting to catch an approach that veers slightly left. The front nine ends with two fine par 4s that take you back to, in fact just beyond, the clubhouse.

Harpenden Common - Hole 18

The eighteenth hole with the characterful clubhouse waiting beyond

(Image credit: Harpenden Common Golf Club)

The back nine has a similar out-and-back routing with the two short holes this time coming in the last three holes. This time sand is a feature, a lone bunker eating into the front-right of the green at the 16th, and a scary septet almost surrounding the characterful closing hole.

A new clubhouse replaced the previous one as recently as 2013, and it’s a charming, relaxed place to enjoy some hospitality before or after your round. Or both! While many of the best golf courses in Hertfordshire are better-known and have hosted prestigious events, the friendly club at Harpenden Common with its attractive, peaceful course is a delightful and affordable place for golf and more.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for 45 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012. He specialises in course reviews and travel, and has played more than 1,200 courses in almost 50 countries. In 2022, he played all 21 courses in East Lothian in 13 days. Last year, his tally was 81, 32 of them for the first time. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but seven and a half... i.e. not the new 9 at Carne! Of those missing, some are already booked for 2024. He is a member of Tandridge in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.