The Grove - Stay and Play

Golf Monthly’s editor, Mike Harris, enjoys a return to London’s leading golf resort that is as lovely off the course as on

The Grove - Stay and Play
The green on the par-3 seventh at The Grove with the mansion beyond
(Image credit: The Grove)

The Grove - Stay and Play

  • Location Watford
  • Founded 2003
  • Architect Kyle Phillips
  • GF £199 Mon-Wed, £225 Thu-Sun, £170 Resident (Summer 2023)
  • Par 72 - 6,766 Yards
  • Contact The Grove (opens in new tab)

Perfectly located adjacent to the M25 which loops around London, The Grove is a first-class resort which this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Access to the capital and to Heathrow Airport could hardly be more convenient, and yet the 300-acre estate enjoys a peaceful, attractive and surprisingly rural location. And while the gently-undulating and beautifully-bunkered Kyle Phillips golf course is at the heart of things here, there is also more than enough to keep the non-golfer fully occupied.

A Course For All

Starting with the golf, then as with the architect’s first UK design, the highly-acclaimed Kingsbarns, there are no members here. As such, it is one of the best pay and play courses in the UK & Ireland with the warmest welcome guaranteed.

The Grove - Hole 3

Looking back over the green and pond at the excellent par-4 third hole

(Image credit: The Grove)

Happily, there are tees to suit all abilities, and choosing the right one for your ability and experience means the course is playable, and extremely enjoyable, for all. There are GPS-enabled buggies and a wonderful halfway house, but most importantly, a varied and extremely attractive golf course that is kept in absolutely superb condition all year round. The greens in particular are always true, trustworthy and consistent of pace.

The Grove - Hole 17

Twilight over the approach on the par-5 seventeenth

(Image credit: The Grove)

The course can stretch to well in excess of 7,000 yards for special events, and it achieved early fame when it hosted the 2006 WGC American Express Championship.

Tiger Woods at The Grove

Tiger Woods on the practice green outside The Stables

(Image credit: The Grove)

The championship was won in brilliant style by the legendary Tiger Woods. His 8-shot victory over Ian Poulter and Adam Scott included barnstorming finishes on the opening days, and playing a course that is the scene of one of his victories is always a real treat. It is one Golf Monthly’s Top 100 courses in the UK&I.

The Grove - British Masters

Large crowds enjoying the 2016 British Masters

(Image credit: The Grove)

In its twenty years, very little has been changed or needed to change on the course. Top-flight professional golf returned here seven years ago with the British Masters, hosted by the 2023 European Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald. Water is in play on a couple of holes, and the course is full of variety all the way.

As you would expect, the practice and teaching facilities at The Grove are first-class and will cater for both experienced golfers looking to improve, and for those just setting out on their first golfing adventure. The warm-up experience in particular is simply one of the best, with the Trackman Range providing data on no fewer than eight elements of your ball striking. This instant feedback enables you to refine your game before you get to the tee.

Facilities and Accommodation

The Grove - The Stables

The Stables is a wonderfully friendly and relaxed place to eat and drink

(Image credit: The Grove)

Before or after your golf, The Stables Bar and Restaurant right by the first tee offers the friendliest service and a mouthwatering array of dishes that cater for all appetites and tastes. It will re-open in the Spring of 2023 following an extension and full refurbishment - inside and out - as well as full upgrades to the locker rooms and the halfway house.

The Grove - Mansion Room

A deluxe bedroom in the West Wing

(Image credit: Thje Grove)

The hotel itself is spacious and has a wide variety of superbly-appointed accommodation to suit individuals, couples, families and parties of varying sizes. It was featured in fifth place in Golf Monthly’s most recent list of the Top 50 Stay and Play resorts in the UK&I.

The Grove - The Glasshouse Exterior

For food and drink, The Glasshouse is the star of the show at The Grove

(Image credit: The Grove)

There are various places to eat, all of them lovely, with the centrepiece being The Glasshouse. This follows the concept of a food hall with chefs manning a variety of food stations offering all manner of mouth-watering delights, many familiar, many completely new. Best of all, you can go back for more!

The Grove - The Glasshouse Interior

There is plenty of space, light and comfort in The Glasshouse

(Image credit: The Grove)

There is a fabulous array of both starters and desserts, while main course options range from the traditional roast to BBQ, from Indian to Italian, and with Asian cuisine such as sushi a particular highlight. There really is something for everyone, with many of the ingredients grown in the onsite Jemima's Kitchen Garden.

The Grove - Swimming Pool

The indoor pool is one of many healthy facilities at The Grove

(Image credit: The Grove)

For non-golfers, there are plenty of activities indoors and out. In the grounds, there are segway rides, woodland trails, archery, hawking, tennis, horse riding and much, much more. Indoors, there is the Sequoia Spa with its heated pool and experience rooms, and the fitness centre.

While The Grove is a premium resort offering the very best in the way of golf, catering and accommodation, this all happens in a delightfully modern and unstuffy way. And while it is perhaps best known for having one of the best golf courses in Hertfordshire, there is also plenty to interest and delight those with little or no interest in the sport. For London and the South-East, The Grove is very much one-of-a-kind and at the top of its game.

Mike Harris
Editor

Mike has been a journalist all his working life, starting out as a football writer with Goal magazine in the 1990s before moving into men’s and women’s lifestyle magazines including Men's Health, In 2003 he joined Golf Monthly and in 2006 he became only the eighth editor in Golf Monthly’s 100-plus year history. His two main passions in golf are courses, having played over 400 courses worldwide, and shoes; he owns over 40 pairs.

Mike’s handicap index hovers at around 10 and he is a member of four clubs: Hartley Wintney, Royal Liverpool, Royal North Devon and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.