Jeremy Ellwood pops down the road with the family to play Hever Castle Golf Club and stay in the magnificent accommodation within the castle grounds
Hever Castle Golf Stay and Play Review
With its strong historical associations with King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle near Edenbridge in Kent is one of the UK's most famous and most visited castles.
Golf on the estate dates back to the 1920s when the Astors had a private nine-hole course created for them in the grounds to the north of the lake, but that course would later fall victim to the war effort in the 1940s.
For 50 years, Hever remained golfless, but that changed in the 1990s with, first, the creation of Hever Castle Golf Club's Championship course over the King's and Queen's nines in 1992, and then the slightly shorter Prince's nine in 1998.
On course Championship course: par 72, 6,502 yards The King’s and Queen’s nines play over rolling Kent countryside with water featuring often, perhaps most strikingly on the very pretty par-3 12th. The short 6th and 179-yard 8th before that are both memorable one-shotters too, the latter featuring a green where you just can't afford to err long.
The penultimate hole on the Championship course is a 600-yard monster even off the yellow tees as you head for home.
Prince's course: par 33, 2,543 yards Water also features on two more pretty par 3s on the shorter Prince’s nine - the 3rd and the 6th, with the latter all carry over water and quite a stern and daunting test if you're playing off the tips at 184 yards.
This layout serves up a cluster of risk-reward two-shotters where accurate aggression may be rewarded, particularly on the 5th and 8th holes. Precision off the tee is essential on the fiddly 90˚ dogleg-right par-4 4th before you then play steeply up to the green.
Off course The fact that you can stay here too right next to the castle itself is the icing on the cake. I live locally, and although I knew there was a hotel by the golf club (a separate business) I didn't know you could actually stay in the Astor and Anne Boleyn wings beside the castle a few hundred yards back up the road - surely one of stay and play golf’s best-kept and grandest secrets?
The accommodation is absolute heaven. The 28 rooms are exquisitely decorated, with many looking out over a quite delightful courtyard. We stayed in the Falstaff room and my wife fell in love with the bathroom!
You can’t eat here of an evening, though several good pubs lie close by (try the Henry VIII within walking distance or The Wheatsheaf a couple of miles away), but breakfast is truly memorable, served in a magnificent wood-panelled room in keeping with Hever’s heritage. Breakfast fit for a king!
As a final and generous perk, guests in the Astor and Anne Boleyn wings enjoy complimentary admission to the castle and grounds during their stay, which at around £17 per day represents a nice little add-on that other stay and play options simply can't offer.
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 instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and 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 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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