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Berkhamsted: A bunkerless playground in Hertfordshire

Berkhamsted: A bunkerless playground in Hertfordshire

Why we’d rather be playing this natural but tough Hertfordshire heathland

 

Berkhamsted Golf Club’s claim to offer “golf as nature intended” is no empty slogan. It is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and its fairways flanked by gorse, heather and trees.

This will be what you remember about your round and if you enjoy a natural and challenging golf course, you will love playing here. 

There are no man-made bunkers, only natural hazards, but don’t be fooled into thinking you’re off the hook. It’s tough. Really tough. 

There are hollows, heather, and gorse everywhere. Berkhamsted forces players to plot their way around the course, so if you rely on distance, you’ll want to rethink your methods. 

Most recently, Berkhamsted commissioned a new short game area by James Edwards, the renowned specialist and over the last three years the club has invested heavily in course conditioning, and the playing surfaces are now up there with the best of any heathland course, especially the greens. 

History

A small band of pioneer golfers began to knock balls about over Berkhamsted Common in the 1880’s. 

The enthusiasm of those trailblazers led to them founding Berkhamsted Golf Club in 1890 and advised by former Open Champion, Willie Park Jnr, laying out a nine-hole course.

Harry Colt was instrumental in its expansion to 18-holes but today’s lay-out is very much the handiwork of James Braid who was commissioned in 1926 to make a few tweaks reminiscent of his designs of the King’s and Queen’s courses at Gleneagles.

He redesigned seven holes and apart from some being extended to combat modern day equipment, the lay-out is the same as when Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, played regularly.

There aren’t many courses that can claim to have had these three giants of golf course architecture play their part in them. 

What makes it special

It is rare to find a true heathland outside of Surrey and Berkshire in the southeast of England.  But it is its bunker-less status that makes Berkhamsted stand out and makes the course so memorable.

The grassy mounds where one would expect to find sand traps present a different and tricky set of challenges, all created by Mother Nature. Power hitters beware: Berkhamsted can hit back!

Berkhamsted

Where does Berkhamsted Golf Club rank?

94th in England, and 253rd in GB&I.

Where is it?

Berkhamsted Golf Club is situated just outside the town of Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire. Visit their website.

Would you like to play courses like Berkhamsted with the NCG Top 100s Tour?

Our NCG Top 100s Tour offers club golfers the chance to tick off their bucket list courses around the UK and Ireland while playing for fantastic prizes courtesy of TaylorMade.

The Tour prides itself on offering the best experience at the events while offering fantastic value.

Your entry fee includes:

  • Your round of golf
  • A meal before and after your round
  • A welcome pack on arrival
  • The chance to win amazing TaylorMade prizes

And, if that isn’t enough, you can get a 10% discount if you book four or more golfers.

Get in touch with Berkhamsted

For more information about the club and course, visit its website or call them on 01442 865832.

Have you played Berkhamsted Golf Club before? What did you think to the golf course? Let us know in the comments, or send us a post on X/Twitter.

Ben Outhwaite

Ben is National Club Golfer's Marketing Editor and the latest addition to our golf equipment review team.

He specialises in testing golf bags, beginner golf club sets, apparel and golf accessories. He also collates our buying guides so you know which are the latest and greatest bits of golf equipment on the market.

Ben picked up his first golf club when he was five years old – which was in fact a left-handed set of clubs!

He is a member at Rudding Park Golf Club and has a handicap of fifteen.

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