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Nestling in the London suburbs, the verdant course at Northwood is a lovely haven away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city
Northwood Golf Club Course Review
While preparing a Golfer’s Guide to Middlesex (opens in new tab) for the June issue of Golf Monthly, I realised that I had played fewer than half of its courses. Wherever I went, a name that kept springing up was that of Northwood Golf Club (opens in new tab), and I decided that I really should brave the M25 again to have a look at the design that many rate as the best in the county and one of the best golf courses in London.
A cool but sunny afternoon in early June
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The relatively small county of Middlesex is generally regarded as suburban and residential. Look more carefully, and there are some pockets of strong golf, not least the Tom Dunn/JH Taylor layout at Northwood. Following a snack lunch in the spacious clubhouse, I headed out onto the course which opens with a short par 4 that heads north-west to a beautifully sited green.
You then turn in the opposite direction to play the longest hole on the course, one of just two par 5s, which leads on to the very pretty third which should only require a short iron.
The next four holes serve up the toughest sequence on the course, all of them tough two-shotters where any teen-handicapper should be more than satisfied with four fives. I particularly liked the fifth which has a bunker on the corner of the dogleg before a long approach over a dip to another well-framed green.
The sixth also plays long and again calls for a carry over a dip which means that taking an extra club is advisable.
Seven has a tough drive where you need to stay left before another long approach down into the valley, and there is finally some respite at the two par 4s that close the front nine and lead you back to the clubhouse.
The back nine opens with yet another green that enjoys a lovely, natural setting, before the second long hole which works its way from right to left.
Twelve is another feature hole where the approach is particularly demanding. A ditch snakes its way in from the left and then hides itself behind the right-hand bunker to catch anything that makes it over; an excellent par 4.
A long par 3 and a gently rising par 4 are next, before the third and final short hole at fifteen which calls for an aerial approach over sand.
The 16th is another long par 4, bunkerless but calling for two very well struck shots, before the drive and pitch 17th which offers hopes of getting one back on the card.
The final hole is tree-lined all the way down the right, so the sensible shot is away from the trouble leaving a short- or mid-iron to the long green below the clubhouse.
Inside the slightly raised clubhouse where there are great views down over the course, there is a warm welcome with a good selection of food and drink. It had taken me a long time to get round to visiting Northwood which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary, but I am delighted I finally made it and can see why the course and club are considered to be among the very best in the area.
Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. 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 nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.