West Essex Golf Club was founded in 1900 and is near Chingford, just a few minutes drive from the M25.
The course covers an attractive and gently undulating parcel of land that borders ancient Epping Forest.
The Front Nine
The course opens with a gentle risk-reward hole that will tempt the longer hitters.
The ascent means it plays longer than its yardage, so the sensible option is usually a hybrid from the tee and then a pitch.
The 2nd is a more testing par 4, and the 3rd a pretty short hole to an attractively-framed green.
The next is a fine par 4 which slopes down to the left so it’s best to favour the right for a good view of the green.
Another short hole follows at the 5th, this time from an elevated tee down to a microscopic green.
You are now as far from the clubhouse as it gets, and face a gentle rise on the par-4 6th.
A tiddler and an undulating par 5, the first of three, lead you back close to the clubhouse.
As you reach the elevated 9th tee, there is a fine view down over the next two holes.
The first of these is very inviting with a pond waiting for anything short and left.
It’s well worth stocking up now at the excellent halfway house, as the back nine is a whopping 900 yards longer than the front!
The Back Nine
The 10th is the longest hole on the course at 556 yards from the white tees with the green at the southernmost point of the course.
This is followed by a testing, gently left-to-right, two-shotter.
The 12th is a real birdie chance, but played to a green that angles away to the left.
Next comes a maximum-length par 4, justifiably down on the card as the hardest hole on the course.
A drive and pitch par 4 comes next with the need for an aerial approach over water.
This is followed by the final short hole, a testing one to a difficult target.
It is the longest on the course, and the only one on the back nine.
The 16th welcomes a fade before a tricky, uphill approach, and the 17th is another strong par 4 from an elevated tee.
The welcoming prospect of a reachable par 5 awaits at the closing hole, but the uphill approach effectively makes it play much longer.
Once at the green, there are fine views back over the course and down towards London.
In a county not so well known for golf as many, West Essex is comfortably one of the better and more enjoyable courses.
There is great variety, it is kept in fine shape, and it offers very good value for money for a course so close to London.
Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 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. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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