Aldwickbury Park Feature Review

By: Robert Treanor | Wed 29 May 2019 | Comments


Review by Golfshake Ambassador Rob Treanor (Handicap 14)


Aldwickbury Park received outstanding feedback from Golfshake members in 2018, with a faultless 100% saying they would recommend the course. Ambassador Rob Treanor stopped by in May 2019 to discover the secret behind the club’s success.

Aldwickbury Park resides on the outskirts of Harpenden in the picturesque Hertfordshire countryside. The club opened in 1995 and spans 170 acres of beautiful parkland landscape, with the 18-hole par 71 Park course as well as a nine-hole par 3 course for those looking to hone their short game skills or learn the trade. The Park course was designed by Martin Gillet and Ken Brown, with the latter living just a few miles from the club and still playing an active role in its development today.

Pre-Round Thoughts

The modern and spacious clubhouse has delightful views onto the 18th hole, making it the perfect location to savour a pre-round coffee. The friendly and welcoming team are present throughout the club make the visiting golfer feel like they are a member for the day, with plenty of advice available on how to play the course. Given the speed of the outstanding putting surfaces, it is well worth getting some practice in before venturing out.

The Course

Front 9 Overview

The greens at Aldwickbury Park are top class. The beautifully sculpted, two-tiered green on the second hole is a mere 328 yards from the tee box but requires a great deal of precision and skill to get there! The short par 4 plays uphill, with mature trees narrowing the fairway as it approaches the green. Bunkers in the middle of the fairway make the tee shot more imposing, demanding a decision be made to lay up short, attempt to carry or navigate around. The second shot is played uphill semi blind, though requires careful consideration; as finding the wrong part of the green will mean a very fast and tricky putt.

The ninth is a fantastic hole and is very easy on the eye. Featuring no fewer than ten bunkers, this risk reward par four offers several different options from the tee. The safe ploy is to head left along the snaking fairway as it meanders around all of the trouble. However, it is extremely tempting to try and carry as many of the series of bunkers to find the apron or maybe even slide onto the front edge of the narrow green. The ninth kick starts an excellent series of holes where course strategy will make or break a scorecard!

Back 9 Overview

The eleventh offers another strategic choice from the tee. The hole drifts right as progress is made downhill to a double tiered and typically immaculate green. The ideal line is protected by fairway bunkers if attempting to carry the corner, meaning anything less than perfect will be devoured. Whilst the safer option is to hit an iron straight and play from the flat fairway before the descent begins, it is difficult to resist the urge to use a longer club and go for glory.

The pace doesn’t abate as the infamous hedge makes its first appearance on the 12th hole. The spectacular view from the tee box over the surrounding valley makes the downhill tee shot even more appetising. The hedge intersects the fairway around 240 yards which, given the sharp descent, will be makeable for many golfers. The hedge well and truly plays with the mind; a sign of very clever course design!

Split fairways are always a pleasure to play and make for a good discussion point on the tee box. The par four 13th hole gives the golfer a choice of two options, with the left-hand fairway promising a more elevated position from which to approach the green. Some may even be tempted to try and carry the hedge on its second and final appearance in the round, though given the hole plays uphill this is a much more difficult prospect than before. The runoff at the front of the raised green waits to reject anything short, meaning this tricky hole plays tougher than its 382 yards might first suggest.

The round finishes on a real high with the signature par four 18th. The tee box is offset slightly from the fairway, making what seems a relatively straightforward shot slightly more taxing. It is the second, played over water to the green framed on three sides by a pond, which will last long in the memory. Despite only requiring a wedge for most, it is a frightening - if beautiful - prospect, which has undoubtedly haunted many golfers long after finishing their round. Luckily the clubhouse is just a short walk from the green, meaning liquid medicine isn’t far away.

Post-Round Thoughts

This really is an enjoyable course to play with plenty of variety and interesting features. Many of the holes make good use of the natural landscape to offer different strategic options, making the course robust without being reprimanding and fun whilst being fair. The star of the show is the fantastic greens which really elevate the course to the next level. At a bargain £40 for eighteen holes on a Saturday, you simply will not find better greens in this price bracket.

The sun terrace at the back of the clubhouse is an excellent space to watch other golfers finish their game. The kitchen has a very good food offering and the chips come very highly recommended from our visiting party!

Verdict

Golfshake members have delivered fantastic feedback on the Park course at Aldwickbury Park and it is easy to see why. The club is tremendously welcoming to visiting golfers, offering excellent quality golf at exceptional value. If you are looking to visit a friendly club with good food and a cracking course (let’s face it, who isn’t) then follow in the footsteps of hundreds of other Golfshake members and add Aldwickbury Park to your schedule!

Top Tips

  • Brains will overcome brawn on this course, so give some thought to angles, distances and carries.
  • The round starts with a blind opening drive so grab a course guide to plot your route.
  • The greens are superb, take the time to have a practice before heading out.

Overall Rating – 7

Course (Conditions) - 8

Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 8

Course (Green Condition) - 9

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 7

Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 8

Practice Facilities - 7

Friendliness/Hospitality - 8

Pace of Play - 8

Value for Money - 9


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