Review's of Blakes Golf Club
Could be special
I like the course layout, but it is in a very bad state. There was one green that was ok, the rest were extremely slow and bumpy. The fringe was like quick sand, killed the ball dead. Bunker sand like builders sand, full of stones. Fairways were generally ok though.
This course desperately needs rain
Once you are out there playing, the course is a lot more interesting and challenging than it looks as you drive up the long and bleak concrete approach road. However it has suffered badly in the drought, with some of the greens bare and bobbly and the tee-boxes mainly bare earth. There is a lot of half-finished maintenance work in progress, which looks like it has been going on for weeks, if not months. Is the head green-keeper being given the funds needed to get the course back into shape, one wonders? How much watering of greens is actually being allowed? Having said all that, I would happily play there again, but probably until not the course has greened up after a prolonged and badly needed wet spell.
A different course
An interesting round as I have never played a links style course.the ground was very hard causing strange bounces. The only real complaint is the bunkers could do with being turned over,but overall a pleasant way to spend a morning
Interesting link style course.
Not played before but on good authority the course has been improved massively over the past few months. Greens were pretty good, and the bunkers were either fine, or clearly a WIP
I played this course once, about ten years ago and if was neglected, unloved, deserted and unpleasant. I thought I’d never return. Anyway, I’m delighted that significant investment is being made and greens were all playing well, fairways well looked after and tee boxes very adequate. It was also very a very busy Sunday for the course. Work is underway to improve the bunkers and it’s easy to see the new smooth sand. Quite a lot of bunkers were GUR but hopefully they will get the required TLC as well. Well worth a visit.
Just a short drive down the a414, adequate parking and there is seldom a hold up here. Friendly staff, upstairs to bar and pro shop (it is OK to wear spikes). Range is ok, practice putting green is limited. Lots of bunkers were gur. Course condition overall was pretty good, greens a bit fluffy but quite true (an improvement). There are a few feature holes and plenty of natural hazards. Course is undulating in places a good walk. Not a championship standard but good for a millionaire's round (empty course, no hold ups). There is evidence of work in progress... And improvements have been made...
10 Year review @ Blakes
Very much improved may be something to do with Woolston Manor now the new owner’s for the last couple of years? Still get muddy in the winter. My advice play it from Late May to Late September you should be alright?
Very much improved
I played hear a couple of years ago and was thought it was had potential but lacked a lot of love, so wasn't sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much it has improved. Especially the greens, they were in fantastic condition. No temp tee's or green. And as its an inland links course they still allowed trolleys and buggies.
So so muddy
Probably not a fair reflection due to the time of year but the course was so muddy, in poor condition and I suspect getting worse by the day. Incredibly busy but guess that goes with the current environment. Didn’t like the close proximity of fairways and never once did I hear a call of fore despite balls flying all over the place. Getting a drink afterwards was so difficult, can’t say I’ll be rushing back. That said the green fee was incredibly reasonable given some of the rates being quoted elsewhere.
tired and in need of attention
Still a good layout but even after two days of heavy rain it was still dry and dusty. Played in reasonable weather, tee boxes not good, greens still bare in places, more investment required . not the best experience and no surprise that the course is usually empty. I may not return this year...
Shame that this course is in such a poor state. Picturesque lanscape and that is whe the positives end!!!!!!!
inland links style, devoid of trees.
Easy to find, simple to book, sensible reception and pleasant staff. Adequate parking (some very nice cars). A lot has been written about Blake's, however it wasn't in ba condition, greens could benefit from more than a teaspoon of water in places. I do like the layout, some interesting holes and it is a test of golf skills. It looks like a few new trees have been started, so with a spot of watering and in about 10 years they might play a part. Bunkers, were GUR on this day... Greens played straight enough but so slick. Cheap as chips and a good walk... Not pristine but no complaints.. Nice in the sunshine, but open to the wind. Might just go back again.
NICE LAYOUT, POOR GREENS & LIKE A GHOST TOWN
How do I best sum up Blakes Golf Club. When you first arrive you're greeted with a dozen prestige cars all neatly lined up in the car park, like a car showroom and then half a dozen cars in the visitors part. We paid our green fees and were greeted by a very nice lady but no one else, no pro (on holiday), no catering staff and most surprisingly, no golfers, not a single person in the bar !! Onto the course, which has a good layout, I especially loved the Par 3 8th which has an island green, great fun. The tee boxes and fairways are all fine but the greens were very poor, all suffering from some sort of disease which made them very bobbly; I could imagine if they were all in good condition, they would run very true and then this would be a superb course. It all just feels a little unloved not only by the staff, which there weren't any of, but also by the lack of golfers, which I really don't understand as it was £10 for 18 holes and £10 for the buggy, Cheap As Chips. I will be back in the Summer, so long as they have sorted the greens out by then :-)
build houses here
not worth the drive even if free
What might have been?
Blakes was built to be a championship course, it was going to outshine its neighbour Toot Hill but ended up the ugly sister. This is the third time I have played Blakes in 9 years. It was possibly in the best condition I have seen it yet. The Club house is a nice three story building but no lift! The pro shop and toilets are in the basement which is really annoying as the bar is on the third floor! The milk provided for the teas and coffees was sour but the bacon/sausage rolls were excellent. I did not use the practise facilities as it was raining. Blakes is long very long, some of the holes are 500 yards apart, so if your going to walk you need to be aware this is a very long track. There is a buggy path around the whole course so buggies are never banned, which is a plus as I need one. The course was designed to be an inland links so no trees just a few bushes. The fairways are wide but undulating, you need to be big off the tee as most of the par fours are well over 400yds and the par 3's are far from short other than the 8th which is the courses feature hole, a 120 yard pitch into a green surrounded by water. Blakes back nine is more challenging but lack of signage makes navigating a tad difficult, although following the trolley path is the safest bet. Be careful not to set off in the wrong direction as that can be really annoying on such a large course. The greens leave a lot to be desired and let the course down badly. They are slow and bobbly with crowned pins which makes the shortest of putts a challenge. In summary Blakes could/should be an outstanding course, but its not. Membership is £500 per annum which is so cheap, buggies are only £10 a round, our deal with a steak pie meal was £25 so very good value. If Blakes was a little more local I might join it....but I think the greens would drive me crazy, they need so much work. For a cheap golf day Blakes is a great package but for quality Toot Hill is only five minutes away!
Wide open fairways with lots of fairway bunkers. Many of the bunkers were gur as they were updating them. Greens were in ok condition and quite true. A couple of really fun holes that need some thought. The fairways were lush but very playable. It was very windy and this also added some challenge to the game. I really enjoyed the course
Did not like it
Seems neglected, would not go back but hey, it's my opinion
Better than People Think
Not as bad as people seem to think, Greens are excellent and in my opinion a better course than North Weald just down the road. Although Buggies should be banned in Winter they wreck the fairways.
A poorly maintained course
Blakes is a beautifully designed challenging layout for golf which has been allowed to deteriorate by lack of proper maintenance to the fairways, bunkers and greens. A shameful approach by the club ownership/management. I concur with David's comment about the scrambled eggs.
The course promises so much, it has a pretty good layout with some interesting holes, but is in such poor condition with some of the worst greens I've played on the ball spends more time in the air than rolling, bare patches on the fairway at least one bunker completely devoid of sand and not marked GUR Sorry save your money avoid
What about the condition
For Mr David Jacobs
Fantastic Scrambled egg on toast
This is the best scrambled egg on toast I have ever had
Good course, well worth a visit
I have always liked the layout at Blakes, like a lot of value for money courses could be in better condition, is very much an inland links. The length of the holes does not always suit the not so big hitters, the greens were pretty good and true, all in all i will definitely be going back. The par 3 8th the island green is worth the visit alone
Needs a little TLC
My first time here in 4 years after vowing never to return. Most golfers in the area know or have heard about Blakes and it's reputation as a course in bad condition. I have to admit though that I did enjoy my round. The clubhouse is modern and the staff were warm and friendly. I did not use any practise facilities so can't comment. The layout of the course is actually quite nice. The only problem is that the condition could be better. The tee boxes were not bad but there seems to be little difference between the fairway and the 1st cut of rough. The greens also need some work. All is all it is decent enough but amazing if you consider £16 or so including a buggy....I will not be leaving it another 4 years to return...
Great value for money
£16 golf and buggy what more could there be to say...... Great holes and love the island hole. A good, honest golf course providing a good honest challenge
I last played here three months ago and said I would never go back.I don't know what possessed me to give it another chance but never again
Inland links course in Essex...
Blakes is a links type course that I like despite its rugged appearance and maybe lack of TLC. Some previous reviews present Blakes as unappealing but it has some very fine holes. The layout is good and flowing, the deep bunkers, sometimes lined with sleepers can be a real threat to your scorecard if you land in them. There are fine views of the surrounding Essex fields still being farmed. A nice place to blow the cobwebs away & get refreshed with clean air after a hard week's work. Fairways have bumps & mounds as to be expected from a Links type course, rough deep and will hide the little white ball, even with your name on it!!!! A few blind holes (always quite exciting if you don't know the course) with guiding posts. Water comes into play as well and it provides some of the finest holes on the course. So here are my favourites: 8th (Par 3) island green: How can one not like this hole ? Accuracy and nerves of steel can provide a Birdie of Par, if no wind in the air. There is a dropping zone for the unlucky. 17th (Par 3), over a pond, with sloping & rough bit of fairway. A special mention for the 16th, with OOB on the Left hand side where I found some lovely stray golf balls. 18th (Par 5), with 2 or 3 ponds to negotiate, depending on the colour of your Tee, uphill most of the time with sloping fairways and bushes and one more pond before you reach the green. The greens were good and surprisingly fast but interesting. There were a few missed "easy" putts on the day.Large Car Park with Open air driving range adjacent to it. Clubhouse is quite attractive, modern, the Proshop/Golf Bar is now upstairs, very large room with lots of natural light and lovely views of the golf course and Essex. NO food was available on the day (3.8.2013), but directly opposite there is a very nice eating place whose name I don't remember (sort of garden centre, children play ground), and where one can have a delicious breakfast made with local organic produce, very popular with families on a Sunday morning... I recommend you pay a visit. There is a gym, spa etc on the premises, it seems a rather a busy & pleasant place. Today we had an "Ed's special", so excellent value for a pleasant 4 balls even if the course is not in tip-top condition, a great time was had by all. Photos were posted a few weeks ago. That is THE END...
This course could be one of the best in Essex but it needs a hell of a lot of money spent on it.The worst fairways I have played on ever.The greens had three different grasses on them and in some places no grass at all.that said £15 pound for the round with a buggie.The staff are very pleasant and you can get a bacon roll for breakfast.I hope the owners read the reviews and do something to remedy all the faults.
well laid out course
the main problem with blakes is the condition of the course,the fairways need to be cut properly as do the greens,which wooly and slow.but for the price you pay it good value
The course was a little waterlogged, more than I would expect from the weather. Pro shop shut and the little that there was is displayed in the bar. Overall appears a little run down, but that is not surprising in the current economic climate. Would I play there again? Yes, as long as it was not during a wet spell!!
Would go back
A Interesting course but a bit tatty, fairways are ok but need a cut,Bunkers looked ok, Greens are in good nick and very fast.But as only payed £7.50 cant complain.
Bunkers are deep sided with wooden sleepers
Open link style course, and when the wind is up it makes the course more difficult. Bunkers OK but some with deep sided with wooden sleepers, in the winter the greens are at there best. In the summer the fairways are very hard. The 8th a tackling 106 yard par 3 which is surrounded by water and when the wind blowing it’s a great test of courage. Free buggy on Monday to Fridays. The coloured flag system, is CHAP you can't no see the blue flag. Sadly no practise nets or putting green just a driving range, chipping green GUP For £18 it’s OK any more I don’t think so. I only play this course in the wet months & pay £10 internet.
Blakes is a quirky place
We paid £20 for a round at 10:00 on Sunday. When I booked the tee-time, only fours day ahead, I could have had any time I wanted. This was a warning sign.
Having played Blakes before we knew about the quirky club house that seems to be designed for the restaurant rather than golfers with the changing rooms and pro shop in the basement. It seems that Blakes now do a Sunday carvery, which looked very good and popular with the locals, but unusual for a golf club?
Anyway, from past experience, Blakes is quick draining and stands up well to the winter weather, we made our way to the first tee, stopping off at the practise green. The putting green was in poor condition. It had been vandalized by someone pouring petrol or weed killer leaving patches of blackened grass.
The tees at Blakes are excellent, large, very flat and well maintained. After a few holes it became clear that the vandals had not stopped at the practise green, many of the greens had severe damage, all from something like liquid weed killer.
The course at Blakes has always been a quixotic attempt to recreate an authentic links course in Essex. The use of exotic (to Essex anyway) grasses was always going to be a tilt at a greenkeeping windmill when the course is surrounded by fields containing native grasses.
Said grasses are reclaiming Blakes and that is not the end of the world. The more immediate concern is the vandalism of the greens. They do not detract much from the putting in winter conditions but are not pleasant to look at! It will be a different story in summer.
I have always enjoyed the course at Blakes. Where else can you find a Sawgrass 17th Island green replica hole on on inland links?
I wish the greekeepers every success in returning this course to the condition it deserves.
The practice facilities are very good with a chipping green with practice bunker as well as a range.
I have given Blakes a 4/5 for VFM as even in current condition, £20 for a teetime on Sunday at 10:00, is good value.
WHAT A LET DOWN
THE DAY WAS VERY COLD,GREENS FROZEN ABSOLUTE LOTTERY TO TRY TO GET CLOSE TO THE PIN.SOME FAIRWAYS WHERE LIKE A MEADOW IN PLACES. GRASS WAS LIKE SEMI ROUGH,VERY SHABBY COMPARED TO OTHER COURSES I HAVE PLAYED ON IN THE WINTER MONTHS.COULD DO WITH A GOOD DOSE OF GREEN KEEPING. THERE IS A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE ALL OVER TO GET IT TO ANY STANDARD. MOST OF THE GREENS WHERE RUINED BY HUGE OIL SPILLS I HAVE NEVER SEEN VANDALISM ON A SCALE LIKE THIS BEFORE. IT WAS DONE SOMETIME AGO AND DOES NOT EFFECT THE ROLL OF THE BALL.HOWEVER YOU CAN STILL SEE WHERE THEY HAVE CARRIED OUT SOME MAJOR REPAIRS. IN MY VIEW THIS COURSE NEED A LOT OF MONEY SPENT ON IT TO MAKE WORTH A RETURN VISIT THE BEST PART WAS LEAVING T THERE ARE OTHER COURSES IN THE AREA IN MUCH BETTER CONDITION AND VALUE FOR MONEY
Blakes Oil Slicks
If You like Oil on your Greens then this is the place for you !!!!!!
Played Blakes twice this week and must say its a very nice links style course. The 8th is enough for a revisit (copy of sawgrass 17th). It could do with a tad more spinkle of water as pitched 15/20 yards short of green to still see your ball run off the back of the green with pace is a tad frustrating.
Nice track, very long walks between many tees. Bring water!
1st time at Blakes
we had to pay £12 to play this course, and well worth the money in my opnion. I play off of 11.5 and on this course that is an advantage of the 18 handicap player on this course, lots of slopey fairways. The greens are very fast indeed, they were at their worst today, full of holes and sandy as most courses are doing about the same sort of time. that being said, in my 3 ball not one of complained of a bad roll in that condition for the entired round, they run very true, and did I mention VERY fast. but it is almost impossible to hold a ball on the green, the ball just wont bite on the surface, the sand maybe? no idea but they bounded on.
The fairways the grass is uneven, and a couple more blind tee shots than I would prefer, (buy the course book is a good tip I didn't and it cost me a couple). The shape and layout I think is good and is a challenge with some opportunities to birdie out there too. but it does need more work on the fairways and cleaning up the surrunding off fairway bits, but a good challenging course. I bet it's a real git when the wind gets up though :o) but for 12 quid, worth a bash indeed. Did I mention how FAST the greens are?
Played this course just after it opened 4/5 years ago, so was keen to see how it had developed. Sadly, not very well! Whilst open and long, the course has little character and is in dire need of some TLC. The fairways looked like they could do with a good cut, there is little directional help (handy, if you dont know where the next tee is!) and the greens need a good soaking. All in all, a bit of a disappointment but I cant complain too much as it was only £12 to play - however, I guess that confirms the saying 'you get what you pay for'! Wont be rushing back.
Having looked at the website, and read some reviews I was thoroughly disappointed. The fairways were very very poor, in fact using the term fairway is rather generous, suggest field instead. Greens were better. Its a shame the course has some nice holes. Needs someone to chuck a bit of money at it.
i have played Blakes several time and to be honest the greens were always fairly good but last Monday they were nearly all dead.i know we have not had much rain lately but they need to invest in some watering of the greens, also put some sand in the bunkers played one shot out of the greenside bunker front left of the ninth and pulled up the plastic liner underneath. this is not a rant just and observation the course is an inland links at its best dry but water the greens please
Nice, large modern clubhouse. Very good practice/warm-up facilities, including a open range, chipping area, bunker, and putting green. Tees and fairways are poor, but the greens are good despite looking like they are a bit sparse where the grass is concerned, but a true putt is obtained. Bunkers were good, with sand! Although a few of the people who are playing might like to learn how to use a rake. Very open, interesting course with very few trees, and those that are there are small. If the wind is blowing you'll feel it on this course. I would go back and play there again. Russ
Hurry up summer
Well from the time you drive through the gates you know your going to enjoy the course, regardless of what you may or may not score....The course has all the facilities and with all the rain we've had the course was about 85% in perfect condition and the greens were fast and god help us all in the summer....I will go back hopefully before the march open game...Ps top inland links course