A friend of mine has a Friday off work and suggested playing a decent track in North London, close to home. Seeing the weather forecast and not having anything in the diary, I was in. We scouted round the county card scheme and found Hadley Wood Golf Club.
A great afternoon at a wonderful golf club.
Hadley Wood Golf Club…The Facts
– Architect: Alister MacKenzie
– Date Opened: 1922
– Location: Hadley Wood, Hertfordhsire
– Rank: #95
– Tees Played: Whites (6,517 yards) Par 72 (SSS 72)
– Other Tees: Yellows (6,303 yards)
– Fees: £35 (County Card)
– Date Played: November 2016
– Website: www.hadleywoodgc.com
Hole 1 – Par 5 (494 yards)
A gentle start to the round with this par 5. It plays much shorter than the yardage as it’s downhill and we had wind behind, so my drive into the middle of the fairway only needed a wedge to get to the green.
Slight dog-leg to the right with a single fairway bunker on the left hand side as trouble off the tee. Serious birdie chance to start the round, which I failed on!
Like all the greens at Hadley, they are undulating, tiered and fast! Seriously fast for November. The green on the first is well guarded by bunkers and a hooked approach will find the pond to the left.
Hole 2 – Par 4 (378 yards)
What a tee shot! Up hill par 4 with a drive over water. These are the holes I want to be playing!! I (of course) banana sliced my drive into the trees on the right.
The hole plays much longer than the yardage and the green is tough! Two of the guys I played with 3-putted.
Luckily my punch shot out of the trees worked a treat and a small pitch shot gave me a tap in par! Not a bad start at all!
Hole 3 – Par 3 (201 yards)
Tough long downhill par 3. We had strong wind in face and my sweetly struck 4 iron got nowhere close. A four on this hole with any wind is a good score, although the S.I. didn’t reflect that.
Again, a well guarded green with bunkers front left and right.
Hole 4 – Par 4 (334 yards)
Big dog-leg left, so much so the green is nowhere in sight. Iron off the tee is the sensible play with fairway running out if you hit a wood straight. Not sure if its worth going for the green on this one as its such a blind shot.
The green is very undulating and strong short game is key to get yourself on the right level and a half make able putt. I put my second shot out of bounds in the trees and picked up a disappointing triple bogey!! ouch!
Hole 5 – Par 4 (442 yards)
A magnificent hole. Slightly elevated tee with bunkers at 250ish yard in the fairway. With the wind, we couldn’t reach them, which was good!
This part of the course is more tree lined than the rest and there is definitely a feeling of space and the holes being grand. A great stretch of the course between holes 4 and 8.
The green is elevated with bunkers everywhere, but the saving grace is that this is one of the flatter greens on the course. I drove straight down the middle and my 5-iron approach came up 20 yards short. Another nice pitch left a 4 foot par putt which behaved and went in the hole.
Hole 6 – Par 4 (388 yards)
A narrow drive off the tee with a slight dog-leg left. There is plenty of space in the fairway and with its slope, a good drive should leave a wedge or short iron to the green. I managed a fairway drive and wedge onto the green. Two putt from 30 foot and a nice par.
Make sure to have a look up to the right on this hole, some of the houses backing onto the course are massive!
Hole 7 – Par 3 (141 yards)
Surely the signature hole. Stunning downhill par 3 with the lake behind. Not much more to say other than just a fantastic golf hole.
Shame about my golf though. A thinned wedge off the tee put me in the lake and I managed to scramble a 5! One if those holes you want to play again and do it justice.
Hole 8 – Par 5 (517 yards)
Long Par 5 with a blind uphill drive. Really wide fairway so finding the short stuff shouldn’t be a problem. A decent drive makes the hole reachable in two, which I almost did, but my 4-iron approach was about 20 yards short.
The hole has really nice elevation to it, leading up to an elevated green. The green is surrounded by bunkers front left and right and anything on the front of the green will roll back down into the fairway.
Hole 9 – Par 4 (338 yards)
The front 9 at Hadley Wood Golf Club closes with this short par 4. Off the tee its very tempting to play the driver as there is a fair amount of space, but given the length of the hole, an iron is definitely the sensible play. My drive went down the middle, leaving a 50 yard pitch!
Another elevated green with lots of sand. This is the flattest green on the course a definite birdie chance. I left my birdie putt a few inches short to pick up a relatively straight forward par.
The routing of Hadley Wood is not perfect. The front 9 finishes in the middle of the course, miles away from the clubhouse. Its not until you’ve finished the 11th that you are back to the clubhouse and find the halfway house. Additionally, the walk from the 9th green to the 10th tee takes you right across the 2nd fairway, which for me is a negative.
Hole 10 – Par 3 (185 yards)
After the slightly strange walk (and we almost got lost as the signage was poor) to the 10th tee we are faced with another stunning par 3. Tee shot over water with another incredibly well guarded and bunkered green.
I was very pleased with my 3 on this hole! 4-iron pin high miss to the right of the green, chip to about 7 foot and the putt went in! Take that all day long.
Hole 11 – Par 4 (391 yards)
The 11th is the perfect 9th hole (or what should be the 9th). Uphill dog-leg left par 4 taking you up to the clubhouse. The hole is nothing special, but the backdrop of the clubhouse makes for a nice view.
I drove the ball into the trees on the left, but managed a lucky lie with a line to the pin. 9-iron onto the green and a nice 20 foot two-putt.
Hole 12 – Par 4 (436 yards)
Downhill par 4, and just a great golf hole. The drive is fairly straight forward with a wide fairway and a few bunkers to avoid, but the approach to the green is fantastic.
The fairway dips substantially before the green with a stream running across it. This shouldn’t on most days come into play but visually it looks great. The green is well protected and has three giant tiers! This is three-putt territory. My drive found the woods on the right hand side but it was soo wide that I had a shot at the green. My approach ended 10 yards right and I couldn’t get up and down for the par.
Hole 13 – Par 5 (482 yards)
The 13th starts the run of two par 5’s in a row, both sweeping dog-legs to the right, but plays very differently.
Off the tee, this is one if the tightest drives on the course. With a blind landing area and O.B on the right, its quite a nervy shot. I took the 3-wood out and managed to hit the fairway, which I was very pleased with. Anywhere on the fairway is good on this hole!
The hole then sweeps sharply down and to the right, with the green reachable in two. It’s an inviting green to aim for, with plenty of space to miss left or right. The water hazard front left and right of the green very much comes into play here.
My second 5-iron came up short left, just over the water!! I’m running my luck today, especially as I managed to get up and down for the first birdie of the day.
Hole 14 – Par 5 (504 yards)
The second par 5 in a row and a great elevated tee shot. The further the better as the fairway funnels out to widen the further away you are. Given the severe dog-leg on this hole, it would take two incredible shots to get onto the green. I smashed a drive and 2-iron leaving me 50 yards to the green.
The view looking back down the fairway on this winters afternoon was stunning:
Another visually stunning green to approach with bunkering all over the place. I duffed my pitch onto the front of the green leaving a 40 foot putt for birdie, which never threatened the hole. A nice 5 foot par putt went in to finish the two par 5’s 1-under.
Hole 15 – Par 4 (325 yards)
After two par 5’s, the short 15th is welcomed. Slight dog-leg to the right and an iron off the tee all day long. The approach shot with a wedge should be fairly simple as the green is quite big and inviting to hit.
The green slopes right to left, and is seriously fast coming down the hill. My 3-putt is testament to that!
Hole 16 – Par 4 (373 yards)
Hadley Wood Golf Club has a number of good semi-elevated tee shots and this is another with a wide fairway to aim at. One solitary bunker placed on the right hand side picked up my ball, annoyingly as I’d hit my 3-wood nicely. The fairway slopes quite severely right to left and this was true for the bunker. Given the slope, my bunker shot diverted left and found the green side trap. Bunker to bunker!!
A relatively flat green, should make for an easy two-putt, but not today. I missed the bogey putt for my second three-putt in a row! The wheels are falling off…
Hole 17 – Par 3 (169 yards)
The final par 3 and S.I.18. Visually pleasing par 3 with lots of bunkers to get lost in. I came up short and missed the slippery downhill par putt to make a 4.
The collection of par 3’s at Hadley Wood Golf Club are fantastic. They are visually stunning and testing. Two long ones and two short ones. Great stuff.
Hole 18 – Par 4 (410 yards)
The final hole, and the sun was starting to set. Changes have been made recently to the 18th with the white tees being moved back and new fairway bunkering. The hole plays all of its yardage with a gentle uphill rise.
Off the tee anywhere right is blocked out for the approach, but too far left and the second shot is made much longer. The view up the fairway is stunning with the clubhouse in the background, and again, the green is well guarded with bunkers.
Sadly, I duffed my drive and topped my 3-wood second out of the rough picking up another horrible triple bogey to ruin the card. I shot an 85 (+13) but felt it could have been much better.
Hadley Wood Golf Club is a great place to spend an afternoon. The clubhouse is magnificent in stature and facilities are great, a perfect setting for a pre-round bite to eat or beer afterwards.
The course has good elevation, with a number of good looking holes. The bunkering is excellent, truly excellent.
Off the tee, the course is quite forgiving with wide fairways and plenty of places to bail out.
Hadley’s main defence are the greens. It felt like each green was well guarded by bunkers, and once on the green there are no guarantees of two-putts. The slopes and elevation were severe in places, but incredibly fun to putt on. They ran true and were an excellent speed for November golf.
If I had to criticise anywhere is would be around the routing (which I mentioned earlier), especially as the front 9 finishes in the middle of the course and the walk to the 10th across a fairway is a negative.
The 18th is a fairly un-assuming finish to the round, with the tees being pushed back almost into the tee box of the 17th. This has clearly been done to lengthened to course as much as possible and I feel some of the character of the closing hole may have been lost.
Overall… a great place to play golf and the weather we had was perfect for winter golf!