A little gem, 9 holes-18 tees with a quirky Par 3 to finish..
It is not he the 1st time I play such a combination but I must say it is one of the best. Perhaps it is due to the great names that designed, modified, updated the course: James Braid, Harry Vardon, Hawtree & Taylor. Arkley GC was born in 1909, during the 2nd WW the land was ploughed up for sheep grazing but the course survived somehow.
A well established parkland with native trees, some slopes, lots of well designed bunkers and greens with interesting shapes but unfortunately today(Monday 16 Feb 2015) they were very spongy apart from the 5th/14th and 9th/18th. There is rural feel about the place as not a lot of built up area but vast expanse of fields.
There was some big work going on, clearing, creating a new Tee at the 5th/14th, so it was muddy in places. Our group was the last out and we got quite wet finishing our game.
Playing the second 9, with tees set far back gives you a totally different perspective. Some Par 3 become 4, Par 4 become 5 etc... And it wont be a problem starting at the 1st/10th even on a busy day as one takes it in turn, and the tee times are set to allow for the flow of play. Although one plays the same greens twice, the course itself is like a full 18 holes just over 6000 yards with white and red tees only. Today the white were very much forward, so the course was much shorter for the Men.
Must recall my fantastic Par at the 15th/Par 4 (Roller Coaster/County Heights)), when I outdrove the 3 men in my group, a terrific 2nd and 3rd shot and a putt.....
The 9th/18th (Walk on Water/Over and OUt) Par 3 is quirky, 150 yards +, a blind Tee shot from an elevated tee with an observation tower, to a well guarded green with 5 bunkers,some very large, all on a lower level, normally plays into the breeze, apparently "many a Match is won or lost here".
Arkley GC is not too far from the M25, J23, with some country lanes, leading to a adequate car park. The Clubhouse is cosy. On Mondays, the Kitchen nor the Bar are opened but there is machine that dispenses Tea/freshly ground coffee for £1 and some cold drinks too. That is probably why we only paid £15. So there was no breakfast available, someone mentioned that Glynis H's sandwiches would have been very welcome !
We had some new TSG members today and I believe they appreciated the concept of TSG as they seem to have booked further games since. Always nice to meet new golfers.
Arkley GC is sadly famous: this is where the racing driver Graham Hill got killed in 1975 when he crashed his plane in thick freezing flog, killing all 6 occupants. There is a commemorative plaque by the 2nd/11th tee.
There is very large putting green, a practice area too for the short game.
Small Proshop with a warm welcome. Members seem friendly too and didnt mind Visitors.
A course I would like to play again when the trees have their leaves and when the weather is warmer.
Quirky - but well worth the visit
Here's an interesting course - ostensibly a 9 hole course with double tees to make in into an 18 hole extravaganza. At the time of playing - there was evidence of ongoing repair work which encroached on just a couple of the holes. Funnily enough this type of layout works well to maximise the use of some limited terrain. This worked well for a Monday - when there weren't many others around... BUT I could see it becoming a bit of a problem if the course was full with people vying for the same holes from their respective different tees.
Still, this is a course where spotting your ball was less of a problem than many other courses, and there are some feature holes.. Greens were well kept and whilst the ground was soggy and boggy - (and it rained during the latter part of the round).. this was a course where good scores are possible.
Recommendations are to steer clear of the bunkers.
OK - getting there is straightforward, signs are clear but watch out for the semi-hidden entrance.. car parking isn't excessive but just enough. Not a lot of catering available on the Monday played, and that seems to be a trend in the area.
Staff - the few that were around were most welcoming and did what they could to make it good.
It would be nice to play this again, although not in the rain and after the course has had time to dry out, with the renovations works complete.
Good mature parkland - very reasonable rates and methinks scope for more deals to be had.
I enjoyed the course - and had a reasonable round..