Ashridge Golf Club Feature Review

By: Robert Treanor | Mon 20 May 2019 | Comments


Review by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor (Handicap 13)


100% of Golfshake members who have played, and reviewed Ashridge Golf Club would recommend the course, giving the club Highly Recommended status. The club also features in both the Top 20 Layouts in East of England and the Top 60 Nationwide. The Golfshake team dispatched Ambassador Rob Treanor to find out more about this extremely popular venue.

Ashridge is a beautiful parkland course set on the edge of the Chiltern Hills in Hertfordshire. The Par 72 layout originally opened for play in 1932 and was where esteemed golfer and later architect Henry Cotton was a member for many years.

The club is due to host final qualifying for the 2019 Women’s Open at Woburn and the Women’s Senior’s Championship in 2020. The venue has a relatively small membership which is a deliberate strategy aimed at providing a superb service for societies and visiting green fee golfers.

Pre-Round Thoughts

The modern clubhouse was refurbished at the start of 2019 and features huge windows on three aspects, enabling views over a great many holes which play to and from the focal point. The unusual clover shaped design of the course means that no fewer than six holes play either to or from this impressive centrepiece of a building.

The club has a nice blend of new and old, displaying many pictures and artefacts of its history in the current modern setting. There are decent warm up facilities present and plenty of helpful staff around the venue to welcome visitors on arrival.

The Course

Front 9 Overview

The landscape here was built for golf. The opening hole is a 389-yard par four played from an elevated tee box. The natural banks which frame either side of the fairway gather balls and feed them helpfully back to the short grass! The narrow green is protected by only light bunkering to the front, meaning this is a forgiving and welcoming start to the round.

Each hole features a charming name on the scorecard, harping back to a previous era when life was simpler. “Witchcraft Bottom” adorns the par five 5th hole, which at 478 yards, presents a great scoring opportunity. The cross bunkers are extremely well placed at 50 yards from the green meaning only two very good shots will make passing them without laying up possible. An early risk/reward challenge on this very pretty and also very tempting golf course.

The ninth is a world-class hole. Golfers need to climb the raised platform to ensure the group ahead has cleared the valley before unleashing a drive downhill towards the green 351 yards away. The ground falls away before rising up towards an attractive plateau green. The second shot is one of the prettiest anywhere, with the raised plateau green framed by beautiful golden bunkers. Putting is challenging given the extra pressure exerted by the envious eyes of golfers enjoying a drink on the clubhouse balcony away to the left. A good performance here can be celebrated; though watching some of the meltdowns under the added pressure can be painful!

Back 9 Overview

The course is generous from the tee box making it both accessible and enjoyable to play. The par four 14th is a case in point with just a single fairway bunker on the right to contend with. Given a left pin position, this will be the preferred side of the fairway to access from, providing a good and skilful test for lower handicaps. At 404 yards in total, two good shots are required to score well and, as is typical of the course, the green is beautifully framed by the bushes and landscaping to the rear.

The downhill drive on the 18th is insanely appealing. The intense desire to reach for the big stick is almost non-negotiable on this 423-yard par four. The hole plays much shorter due to the descent of the slope down to the double tiered green with the clubhouse beyond. The fairway slopes wickedly from left to right meaning many players will find their approach restricted by the treeline to the right of the fairway, or if a little further offline then perhaps fairway on the first (trust me - there is a line from here)! A great way to finish the round, the green is as immaculate as the previous seventeen, which will reward good play.

Post-Round Thoughts

The course is a joy to play, particularly as a first-time visitor; it has a beautiful but forgiving setup. There is an abundance of technical challenges, remedied by getting into the right places though only truly poor shots are punished severely. This makes the club a tremendous venue for visiting societies; something it well recognises and actively targets. Testament to how enjoyable the course is to play; on the day we visited a society was returning for its 44th year in a row!

As a visual aspect, the course draws many parallels with Woburn, due to the mature tree lined fairways, evergreen shrubs, stunning borders and well-manicured bunkers. There is excellent use of sculpting and mounding to add both visual interest and challenging lies to balls which are out of position. The recently updated clubhouse provides fine vistas out to the course whilst you enjoy a post round beverage.

Verdict

It is easy to see why Golfshake members rated Ashridge so highly. An extremely enjoyable course to play, the whole club is set up to provide fun and gratification. If your social group hasn’t visited here yet, you may well find yourself on the receiving end of many post round drinks if you suggest it as your next stop!

Top Tips:

  • Most holes welcome a driver or 3-wood but be aware of where the bad misses are.
  • Find people who have not played this course and take them there - you will not regret it!
  • If you enjoy the course as much as we did, use the Golfshake rankings to rate it and let other players know what you thought!

Overall Rating – 9

Course (Conditions) - 9

Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9

Course (Green Condition) - 9

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 8

Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 8

Practice Facilities - 7

Friendliness/Hospitality - 8

Pace of Play - 8

Value for Money - 9


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