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Berkhamsted Golf Club Opens Stunning New Short Game Area

By: Golfshake Editor | Thu 20 Jul 2023

Famously, the revered Berkhamsted Golf Club doesn't feature any bunkers on its course, but there will be two magnificent bunkers as part of a newly opened Short Game Area!

Golf architect James Edwards has designed a stunning new Short Game Area in the secluded woodlands beside Berkhamsted’s 18th hole, including a large, curved double-green surrounded by fescue-topped mounds and a variety of chipping and pitching areas, in addition to those two aforementioned bunkers.

Club Manager Howard Craft explains: “We asked our members what they most wanted, and overwhelmingly they requested an upgrade to our practice facilities. We are very happy with the result!

“We did wrestle with the bunkers decision, given that we are known as one of the UK’s few great bunker-free golf courses, but our members aren’t hermits! They travel all over the world to play golf, so the new bunkers give them a very welcome chance to work on their sand play.”

Unusually, there are no cups on the double-green: the pins are on spikes.


(Image Credit: Andy Hiseman)

Howard Craft again: “We have three pins, and golfers can easily move them to create virtually limitless practice options. Whether you’re playing bunker shots, hitting chip and runs, or playing from the very Berkhamsted-like swales and hollows, out here you’ll find more or less every short game challenge from the main course - apart from the bunkers, naturally!“

Ladies European Tour star Alice Hewson, a former junior member at Berkhamsted, formally opened the area in a ceremony at the start of the season, and the club’s members are now enjoying immaculate playing conditions at what has immediately become one of England’s most picturesque and versatile short game practice areas.

Work began in late 2021, with designer James Edwards working closely with acclaimed shaper Conor Walsh to produce a modern take on Berkhamsted’s world-famous mounds which create formidable defences for the greens on the main golf course.

The short game area’s greens are seeded with pure bent grass, with dwarf rye fescue on the outfields to replicate the tight lies on Berkhamsted’s green approaches. Heather was taken from non-golfing areas of the main golf course, and replanted in between the bunkers: the results are a visual feast for golfers.

Designer James Edwards said: “Three iconic golf architects - Willie Park Jnr, Harry Colt and James Braid - each contributed to the design of the main golf course here, so with our first heathland academy we wanted to recreate some of the natural atmosphere and unique shots which make Berkhamsted so memorable.

“Gerald Bruce and his greenkeeping team have taken the setup to another level with their excellent vision for its aesthetics and playability, and the end result has surpassed our expectations.”

Berkhamsted’s Head Professional Joe Biggs said: “It’s a phenomenal addition to the golf club, and an amazing place not only to enjoy practice but also as a place to teach the short game. There are so many shots to hit there!

“We want to be the very best we can be here at Berkhamsted, and I believe that the new short game area has elevated the club’s reputation still further. With its arrival, Berkhamsted now has everything that serious golfers need as regards authentic, traditional grass practice.”

The new scene has been captured by Berkhamsted’s course photographer Andy Hiseman in a series of images which show how the short game area has already blended perfectly into its natural surroundings.

“Our motto here is always ‘Golf as nature intended’” said Howard Craft. “In fact it is amazing to see how quickly Mother Nature has worked her magic on the area, with self-seeded gorse appearing quite naturally on the mounds - just like elsewhere at Berkhamsted.

“I feel sure that James Braid, Harry Colt and Willie Park Jnr would have enjoyed whiling away the hours here with a bag of balls and a short iron - and our members feel exactly the same about this wonderful new part of the golf club.”

The bunker-free Berkhamsted Golf Club is laid out on common land in Hertfordshire’s largest expanse of natural gorse and heather, with over five miles of bridleways and pathways running throughout the golf course and its 530-acre estate, full of natural beauty.

Situated north west of London, close to the western boundary of Hertfordshire, Berkhamsted Golf Club is easily accessible from the A41, five miles west of Hemel Hempstead and just 15 minutes from M1 Junction 8 (St Albans).

For further information, please visit www.berkhamstedgolfclub.co.uk.

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Tags: golfshake Golf Courses England Courses

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