Brookmans Park, absolutely fantastic
I loved this course, my favourite this year. The greens were magnificent, like carpets. The bunkers beautifully treated with sand, raked and placed in clever places. The tees were well kept also. The course itself is was so enjoyable to play, mature trees, lovely scenery, many holes looking ahead and behind pleasing on the eye. The signature 11th hole could have been at Augusta, so nice. Par 5s we’re different, some tough Par 4s, and all the Par 3s were super, nothing boring.
Fine discovery, warm welcome & a great deal.....
Never heard of Brookmans Park before I saw a game posted on TSG by a fairly new TSG member Simon K. What a fine discovery on a beautiful sunny winter day. But when I crossed the entry security barrier, a notice said "course closed". I must admit I was nice & early as the M25 was free-flowing, so I rushed to the Proshop where I got an extremely warm welcome , was reassured the course will open at 10am but with 4 temporary greens, quite a few temporary yellow tees, no trolleys allowed. The course looked so attractive that I wanted to play it anyhow, so I waited for Simon in the Clubhouse enjoying a nice cup of coffee, studying the course planner, making a plan as to what clubs to take as I cannot carry a full set. Always a tough decision on a new course.... but that is what the "nomad" golfer has to put up with, so I shall certainly make allowances (or excuses) for my resulting score.
Brookmans Park is a private members club, well over 80 years old, built of a beautiful estate steep in history (going back to some 600 years when Brookmans village did not exist) but I wont go into too much details, all the information is inside the clubhouse, with a picture of the original mansion, its the sunken garden that once stood there. There are remains of an old wall, the original steps & urns that stood in front of the mansion, 2 huge & beautiful cedar trees, the 2 man made lakes form an attractive part of the course with the signature hole (11th, Par 3), over water to an elevated/well protected green. Unfortunately today there was a temp green, so much shorter hole and not nice to putt on.
The beautiful parkland course has a flowing design with easy walking, some attractive features due to the water, lots of wildlife too. One can see some great properties bordering the course, these were and still are very exclusive and thought after, lovely views of St Albans abbey in the distance on a clear day.
Not excessively long, just under 6500 yards, 4/6 par 5s, 5 par 3s, and the rest par 4s but offering all the challenges for any level of golfers. Today was playable but the temp greens were not good at all, so it will be better to return in the dry weather.. The fairways were quite good despite the heavy rain the previous night, but the rough was though as quite wet. A few blind holes, one with a watch tower so you can see the downhill slope with a large stream (more like a pond) across it, then up to the green. This was the 7th I think and one of my favourite with the 10th and the 11th.
The sand bunkers had been raked and were very playable due to the quality sand, only 1 or 2 had standing water.
There is a small but very pleasant half way hut with great views of the lake, one should/must stop there to admire the scenery with refreshments available at very reasonable price... There is also a toilet at the back. We met some very friendly Senior members, one them actually lives in one of the property bordering the course and knew quite a lot of the history of Brookmans Park which he kindly told us about.
A great experience, on a lovely course, with friendly members, very active sections of Seniors, Ladies, Juniors, lots of competitions seem to take place.
The Proshop, very well stocked is run by Ian Jelley who gave us an extremely warm welcome & a very good deal today due to the restrictions in place (£20 as opposed to £30 advertised green fee).
You get given a code to enter the Clubhouse/changing rooms & for the exit barrier. The Ladies changing rooms are upstairs, very well accommodated, spacious, lovely showers with towels, nice soap, etc....
Clubhouse is in the converted manor house, with several lounges, pleasant and light, food & drinks very reasonable & very friendly staff. There seem to be quite a lots of functions & Sunday lunch seem attractive too.
Large Car park, well laid out. Practice facilities, lovely practice putting green.
A traditional members club, with history & physical appeal, well tuned for the 21st century with many different membership schemes, visitors genuinely welcome, a lovely place to enjoy golf but probably better in Spring or Summer for the visitor to fully appreciate the beauty and the quality of the course.
I shall return. Thanks to Simon K. for posting the game and making this discovery possible.
The above are my very own personal reflections of the day (23.12.2015) that is very memorable. I shall post some photos,, Some are already on my Facebook page.
Ah not quite... I had a long discussion with the lovely Pro Ian Jelley and I learnt that there are plans & funds to move the present clubhouse to where the original mansion was, ie. behind the steps & urns.
THE TRUE ENDING....
A private course, so need a member to sign you in @ £20.
Excellent course, very well maintained with immaculate greens. Generous fairways but accuracy is a must for a decent score. Not too long, and members etiquette is highly rated. No waiting...3 ball got around in 3 n half hours, at a nice steady pace. Well worth the green fee. 19th hole excellent, good food available and reasonably priced.