A very good golf challenge/experience
Army GC is a seriously tree lined parkland course in Aldershot, Hampshire.
The club was founded in 1883, and after a couple of site relocations, and the impact of wartime(s), the course was extended to 18 holes in 1947; and thereafter subject to redesign in 1970/74 and the modern clubhouse built.
From the yellow tees the course is a par 71 at 6,330 yards. There are 3 par 3s, 13 par 4s and 2 par 5s.
The club's origins were with the military but it is now an independent members club but with no formal military association remaining.
The course opens with a 'gentle' downhill par 5 and ends with a very challenging uphill right hand dogleg around a line of pine trees. When played the 18th hole was the only hole that played directly into a significant headwind, not detectable from the sheltered tee-box.
There is a lovely half way house adjacent to the 9th green/10th tee-box.
There is a longish walk from the 7th green through the pine trees to the 8th tee box otherwise most of the tee boxes are fairly adjacent to the preceding greens. A few 'minor' issues of player priority result. This course is a very good/easy walk.
All of the par 3s are challenging!
Generally the fairway landing areas are fairly generous for the straight/well controlled tee shots but, and especially because of the very dry conditions, the many cross/lateral ditches, severe trouble/loss of golf balls, await the misdirected/wild shotmakers.
The greens were in excellent condition, though were playing slower that my Cherry Lodge greens. They are generally on the large and undulating and multi-level kind, and were well bunkered. For the competition there were many tricky pin positions.
This is a beautiful golf course, a good challenge but also scoreable!
Visitor green fees are £60 midweek , or £35 with a County Card or £27 as a members guest. I first played the course by entering their 2018 annual Seniors Open Stableford Competition. The competition entry fee of £40, included coffee/bacon roll, 18 holes, water and fruit on-course, a two course meal, coffee and prizes. A great vfm way to get to play such a good course.
The hospitality provided by host members in terms of course marshalling, the proshop and bar/catering service was excellent. The lunch was high quality.
Because I was impressed with the quality of the course I entered their 2019 competition. I finished 23rd of 74 competitors!
Very enjoyable again but this year some of the fairways were not in great condition in some places!
A "Diamond" in military territory......
Today (15 Sep 2012) was the first ever Open Day at Army Golf Club in military town of Aldershot (Surrey), next to Farnborough small private aerodrome, a few minutes away from the M3 - J4.
Despite its name, Army Golf Club is now a private members'club (checking date...) looking to attract a few more members to their already big membership. The Club has more civilians than military in their present membership.
I somehow managed to join the Open day at the very last minute as I was away golfing in Hampshire & Dorset up until Friday 14th...
A glorious warm September weather made this day a memorable one which I shall describe, at length (I cant do otherwise, even after 6 months of trying). I hope you will get a good insight of this hidden jewel with all its military birth back in 1883.
As the name suggests, the Club was originally for army personnel, all explained in a book "The Laffan Plain" given to all prospective new members, I wont go into details but the Club is now a private Members Club which has recently acquired the land the course sits on. A well defined improvement plan is taking place, be it the course itself or the woodland management or the Club etc. Top experts giving advice for this wonderful course only getting better and better, hence a growing number of happy members.
The course, the clubhouse, the Proshop and all facilities are 1st class, the atmosphere, the ambience, the welcome, the way forward, all make it a very interesting Club to join which is high on my list.
My experience & the course:
The very 1st Open day was extremely well organised: as I came in the Clubhouse, my name was ticked on the list, I was presented with a course planner, scorecard, Rule book, pitch repairer/marker with emblem & the name of the 3 other players making our 4 ball for our 18 holes round.
I was offered coffee & biscuits & started talking to current members, prospective ones. Everyone seems very relaxed and cheerful. I meet my team Captain, Andrew N. (a 6ft 7" tall golfer, so he has special clubs about 1" longer), the other 2 visitors: Tom & Philip from neighbouring golf clubs looking for better "abode". Spoke to a young, very courageous chap with a "special golfing artificial leg" (he lost his own fighting in Afghanistan), I saw him on the course walking at a wonderful pace and teeing off and playing so confidently, really wonderful to watch and humbling to witness the courage of others.
We then had a brief introduction by the club President, the Captain etc. then went for a practice on the green and chipping area, all very atractive.
Then off to our 1st Tee for 18 holes round to discover this "diamond" of a golf course.Our tean has a small bet for the highest combined stableford in pairs.
A parkland course, with wide tree lined fairways, some rough with pretty pink heathers growing. A programme of woodland management is in place to allow the heathers to grow naturally in the rough, but watch out as the ball landing there might be difficult to find and play. A mix of pine trees & decidous, rhododendrons, rowan (Parons's tree on the 11th), a very pleasant design, some irragation work has been done making winter play possible (the course itself is on Laffan Plain which was suject to flooding before work commenced).
Water comes into play in the forms of ditches, either across fairways or on the side, adding test to your golf skills.
The greens are of excellent, of varied shapes, from wide to narrow, ondulations or tiers, sometimes running to the back and side or the front with the lovely bunkers with white soft sand where your ball might end up.
Hole 10, Par 4 has a totally new designed green with 2 good guard bunkers, a narrow approach and a lovely semi circle of trees at the back. It shows that the members are active at making any possible improvement to more pleasing/challenging golf
Tricky long Par 3s, some up to 220yrds, well guarded. Fairly easy to get out of one bunker but not so easy to avoid the other ones....
Interesting dog legs which seem to favour the left handed players. The Red Tees very often in totally different places from the Yellow or White, so the perspective is different , could be advantageous, but not necessarily.
Must mention a few favourites:
Hole 7th, Par 4 with a difficult green, with a steep bank to the back, fortunately I managed a chip in putt.... Just as one exits the 7th, there is asomething quirky on the right hand side as one starts to walk to the next hole "a horse military cemetary" where "Jok", "Polly", "Fatty" or "Princess" & others are resting in a lovely peaceful setting.
Hole 8th, Par 3 (159 yds from Yellow, 148 from Red): I was on the Green in 1 and ended up with a par...
Then a lovely walk through woods taking you to the 9th where you find a brand new smart wooden half way hut with very modern kitchen facility, so hot food is not a problem. Good choice of food & refreshments, all at reasonable prices. Table, bench and chairs should you wish a pause, and toilet facilities at the back of the building accessible with steps covered in "easy grass", a nice touch, not any ordinary steps leading to WCs.
Hole 15, Par 4, slight dog leg to the left, a green set up like a semi-island, a large stream protecting the green sloping back to front, a bridge to get to the green to putt out.
The course presents a strong challenge where course management/strategy play a part on every hole & if you have the local knowldege to attack the pin you are on the way to a good score whether you are low or high hdcp. Our Catain came in very useful.
A tough test but very enjoyable.
Easy way finding & lovely defined paths leading to the next hole.
Excellent practice facilities.
Extremely well stocked proshop where Ladies fashion/style is given a certain priority.
Warm welcome in Clubhouse where food and drinks are cheaper & better than local pubs.
If you live not too far away a lovely club to join, and if you are travelling down South, it is well worth a visit.
I nearly forgot say, that the Open day ended with an appetising cold/warm buffet and a drink, a free entry in the raffle for the visitors with generous prizes, the 1st one being 6 months free membership to the Club. Tom in our our team won, so "Black Nest", his local club wont see much of him ..... We were all given a book describing the history of Army Golf Club, a historic military place dated back to 1883 but now venturing truly in the 21st century.
THE VERY END......