London Golf Club Review
The London Golf Club is an impressive piece of real estate that grabs you from the moment you arrive at the front gate. Security staff housed in a purpose built lodge check your credentials, before allowing you to embark on the mile long driveway to the clubhouse and bag drop. This drive gives you the chance to savour the wonderful views over the course and beyond as you make your way to the extensive car parks.
This is a European Tour Destination property that also houses its regional headquarters so clearly it is going to be of a high standard. I have visited other European Tour Destination properties and they are definitely flagship venues around the world. This site boasts two exceptional golf courses: The International and The Heritage. Both constructed under the watchful eye of Jack Nicklaus Signature Designs. I anticipated that they would be exemplary in design, concept and construction and I was not in any way disappointed.
The venue has previously hosted the 2008 and 2009 European Open and the 2014 Volvo World Matchplay Championship, and the Staysure PGA Seniors Open in 2018.
From the moment you arrive, this venue has the feel of a premier golf club in respect of the customer service it provides. From the second we visited the bag drop and reception we were made to feel like members for the day. Our equipment disappeared quietly and unobtrusively whilst we changed in the well appointed changing rooms. It reappeared cleaned and attached to our named buggy by the time we had checked in to the Pro Shop and obtained our cards.
They are clearly focussed towards customer satisfaction and they have been rewarded by 100% rating by all the previous Golfshake members that have reviewed the facility previously. This accolade is hard won and is even more difficult to maintain. Congratulations London Golf Club.
We used a buggy for our round to carry equipment and in the knowledge that we were playing 36 holes that day. The course is not overly steep for walking and carrying but there are a number of good walks between greens and tees. As the wind picked up during our round I was pleased about making that choice!
Front 9 Overview
The rough is penal and is to be avoided. The larger areas are quite beautiful particularly when playing in a wind that moves the grasses like a rippling and swaying sea. We have been lucky in that we have been allowed to illustrate the course using a digital copy of the course planner for The International.
For the average golfer, like me, there are a number of tee options available. Make no bones about it this is a championship course and I firmly believe that you should choose tees for the day that suit your abilities. To play from the back tees but not be able to enjoy the experience is not my idea of a fun day out. We played a blended version using whites and yellows for our review.
All yardages are given in the course planner. Every green we played was in superb condition. They were fast and true.
Hole 1, Par 5. This is a great opening hole. The first hole gives a panoramic view over the course from its elevated position. Cleverly, however, it does not illustrate the whole of the first fairway and it is prudent to aim right of centre to take into account the slight dog leg. Favouring the right side will take out of play the deep and wispy rough that patrols the left of the hole for its length.
Avoid the bunkers and try and use the slope of the fairway to your advantage. The approach into the green is a formidable one given the amount of water in play. In my opinion, this is not an easy opening hole by any stretch of the imagination.
Hole 2 is a short par 4 without water in play. It should still be treated with great respect. The bunkering is excellent and very obvious from the tee box. The green runs from front to back and is narrow so accurate club selection is vital.
Hole 4, Par 3. This green is heavily contoured with steep slopes for any errant approach shots. Bunkers right and front add further protection. Deep swales around the bunkers increase the penal surface area substantially.
Hole 6, Par 5. This is a long straight hole with a tricky putting surface. Fairways are tightly pinched at landing zones with the ever present rough very visible and in play for all shots to the green. Bunkers provide additional hazards for the second and third shots. A sweeping bunker patrols from 12 o clock to 7 o clock around the green. There is also a pot bunker at the 4 o clock position to support the substantial swales on the right of the green. This hole sucked me in and spat me out. It is a simple design but any error is magnified making the next shot more difficult. Although it beat me up I really enjoyed this hole.
Hole 8, Par 3. This is a cracking golf hole. There are bunkers left and visible from the tee. Deep swales guard the rear of the green. Water is in play for its entire length. Check out the Halfway House as you leave the tee area. It is well worth a visit.
Back 9 Overview
The start of the back nine is a fabulous loop of golf holes. It is nothing short of superb and really gets the golfing juices flowing. These four holes alone are worth the price of admission. They have a real tempo and rhythm and playing them will live long in the memory. I felt a real sense of achievement at my scores at these holes.
Hole 10, Par 4. This is a northbound short par four with few hazards on the fairway. Its main protection is provided by the out of bounds right that operates the full length of the hole. The left of the fairway is angled and sloped towards the waiting wispy rough. There is a tight green framed by foliage and trees. Bunkers and more slopes require an accurate elevated tee shot.
Hole 11, Par 5. This is a very good hole starting a run of four spectacular golf holes. This par five rolls right off the tee then left following the natural terrain. Bunkers protect the left elbow of the dog-leg and requires a shot shaped back into the fairway. The hole then switches direction again as the fairway is pinched in at the 150 yard mark. This is also protected by bunkers. The green snuggles behind a bank and a pot bunker making it look visually smaller than it actually is.
Hole 12, Par 3. This is a very strong hole visually with a kidney shaped green narrow front and back protected by an unforgiving but beautiful lake. This is a stunning golf hole. The green is of the first order with par a welcome achievement.
Hole 13, Par 5. This is a visually intimidating tee shot. A bunker patrols the left elbow of a slight dog leg and the second shot is heavily influenced by the prescience of a lake and a tree that sits at the corner of it. It immediately draws the eye and causes a real dilemma for the risk or reward second shot. The green angles itself away from the fairway and is protected by slopes and bunkers left. This is a glorious hole.
Hole 14, Par 3. This is a great single shot hole with swales on either side of the green. Bunkers feature left and right and add to the visual intimidation from the tee. The green is long and thin and accurate iron selection is required for a successful result.
The round closes with no letting up of the pressure on the golfer. The 17th requires an accurate tee shot and the 18th is an excellent closing hole. The elevated tee box allows sight of all the delights and hazards. This is a real WYSIWYG hole: (What you see is what you get!)
Bunkers protect the standard landing zones left and right from 186 yards to 253 right. The fairway runs out at 319 yards. I was happy to thread a drive between the two imposing bunkers. The hole is framed throughout by the wispy, penal rough. The rough has continual movement and swaying in the wind giving it a much bigger visual presence than exists.
The second shot landing area is heavily bunkered. It reduces the landing area substantially and also serves to make the green look smaller than it actually is. The green has a hog’s back ridge adding further to the final challenge.
I really enjoyed this experience of top quality championship golf so close to London. I could find nothing to critique with any interaction I had that day. The staff were superb, attentive and friendly. If I lived closer I would seriously consider this course for membership such is its quality. I know i would not tire of its design.
This is an exquisite, top quality golf course that lives up to its billing in every respect. The experience from entering the gate to departing was first class in all respects. A 100% satisfaction rating from Golfshake reviewers (real golfers like you and me) who have played this facility speaks volumes as to its standard and customer service.
Overall Rating - 10
Course (Conditions) - 10
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 10
Practice Facilities - 10
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 10
Value for Money - 9
Reviewed in May 2018 by Andrew Picken (Handicap 18).
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