Review's of Royal Blackheath Golf Club
Under repair but a beautiful course, will be back again
2 holes with temp tees and greens, so obviously, not as enjoyable as it would undoubtedly have been had the work been completed. Re the repairs, the work is being carried out to an excellent level. The course was tranquil on a Monday afternoon, so with good company, it was a pleasant stroll around a seriously well designed course. I played off of the yellow tees, and good shots from the tee and fairway were rewarded, but bad shots will most definitely be punished, so great risk/reward shots available.
I didn't use the practice facilities, or the clubhouse, (as i did not bring the correct attire, my fault of course), but i cannot comment on what i haven't seen. But the staff in the pro shop were extremely pleasant and helpful, and I am sure the clubhouse will be as well designed as the course that it looks over so impressively.
the average marks were purely down to the works being done, so not a true reflection on what is undoubtedly a course you should play. I am definitely going back
Worth a visit
As other reviews have mentioned, the clubhouse is very nice, and had that oldie worldy members club feel about it. The course was generally in good condition, though a fair amount of GUR around, no doubt following the programme of works being done there. Greens were very good, with quite a few subtle breaks, so not easy. Some of the bunkers could do with a bit more sand, but overall an enjoyable days golf on a decent course. Not too much danger to contend with, but tough playing off the white tees though in fairly windy conditions at times, so only one of our mini society managed to play to their handicap. Definitely play again if the opportunity arises.
First time I have played the course. Not too hilly beautiful setting. Suited my game, and helped by the weather had a great day. There was quite a bit of work going on with course improvements but this didn't spoil the enjoyment of the game. Greens were in great condition.
Look forward to playing next year when all the improvements have been completed
Parkland - Work in Progress
Another one of London's gems - hidden away but easily accessible. A private members club with all of those good traditions accumulated over the years.
Obvious signs of course redevelopment - didn't detract from a pleasant experience. It is worth playing with a member as some of the targets are not that obvious but our guide was very good and we didn't aim for the wrong flags.
Some good elevation changes - and the blustery wind - made club selection paramount and playing a more conservative game to keep away from trouble did pay dividends.
Considering the amount of rainfall, Royal Blackheath appeared to be fairly dry and well kept. There's a nice differentiation between fairways and rough and greens (although members did mention that they thought them soft) were true enough and without to many snakes.
Clubhouse hospitality is to be enjoyed (although midweek on the day we played the kitchen wasn't open prior to tee-off).
Locals were an amiable bunch and there was a relaxed atmosphere all over.
Building works detracted from a panoramic vista but pleasant enough for a parkland course in the middle of town.
It would be nice to come back once the site works have been progressed. I might even find the ball lost somewhere in the back 9.
Beautiful golf course - highly recommended
I was an appreciative guest of RBGC member and fellow TSGer Judy Lilley for my debut appearance at the course in late December 2013.
The course is beautifully laid out; with plenty of fairway bunkers to challenge ones driving and most holes have at least two greenside bunkers to avoid. On the day the greens were very receptive and true.
The wet and windy weather conditions encountered on the day greatly impacted our round; with soft fairways and greens; the course played longer than the yardages on the card. Low scoring proved difficult if your drives were not on the fairways. It was also unfruitful to attempt 'hail Mary' recovery shots from the rough when you find yourself in trouble off the tee; which I did on a few occasions.
The par 3 16th green proved problematic for me; do not miss the target on the right as the greenside bank shoots your ball into ditch trouble, hence a triple bogey!
Playing from the yellow tees most of the par 4s are under 400 yards so there is a goodish chance for the shorter hitters to reach the greens in regulation enhancing opportunities for birdies or pars.
The short par 4 18th hole will probably be an irrestible risk/reward challenge to the big hitting TSGers (you know who you are); I might even be tempted myself with a prevailing wind in firm conditions; then perhaps not!
I am looking forward to playing this course again in April.
Pomp & Grandeur....
Not quite sure why my previous review of this course is not here, as I am sure I must have written one before... I shall have to get in contact with The TSG Team to see why it's disappeared!!
This course has a fantastic history and as previous reviewers have all said, The Clubhouse is amazing. It oozes' pomp and grandeur of yesteryear. I have played here a number of times via our TSG member in residence - Ms. Lilley - but playing here last week on a society day was without doubt my best experience to date.
The course seemed like it had much more TLC applied to it than on previous visits (so congratulations to the greenkeepers) with the fairways cut to display the true contours of the course and the greens rolling very true and quick.
I had the pleasure of meeting Matt from the London Putting Academy while here, who was quick to offer advice on both the course and on my putting. Sadly, this is not the part of my game that needs work but I enjoyed his useful tips and drills all the same.
The food here is very good and I have always found the hospitality and atmosphere superb. Give this place a go and you won't be disappointed! :-)
History, a Class and a New Experience
Located just 9 miles from the centre of London, Royal Blackheath is possibly the oldest Golf Club in the world and is home to an impressive collection of golf memorabilia. I was fortunate to be invited to play here on a Corporate Golf Day.
The day included a putting masterclass by Pro, Matthew Johns, from The London Putting Academy which is based here. Various drills were explained, giving us all plenty to think about. The greens here are as good as any I've experienced before, so there will be no excuses for poor putting!
Over to the first tee where a camera is set up to record tee shots for a 'swing analysis' session later...no pressure then...! A new experience this, for me, but the advice I received later has since proved beneficial. Luckily, the opeing hole is a long, straight downhill par-4 with a very wide fairway!
The course is an interesting parkland layout, flat but well manicured. Very little water comes into play, so hazards are mostly bunkers which all looked good. Today I played some 'ugly' golf, but still didn't come close to losing a ball. The greens are testing, most having subtle borrows that I didn't find easy to read.
Although I don't remember any favourite 'stand-out' holes, I thoroughly enjoyed playing here. Thanks to all at Royal Blackheath GC for what was a very good day...I shall look forward to returning to better my score...
Lovely course and lovely club
Invited to play today by a member who is very proud of her membership and I can fully understand why. The clubhouse is a grand old building with loads of charm and character. A very homely locker room ,with shower and towels. Nice touch. The staff were all very friendly and the same goes for all the members I met, including one of the committee and you were made to feel very much at home.
They have a practise green, I didn't use it, a range of sorts, I didn't use it and a couple of warm up nets and I didn't use these either. Maybe I should have!!! The 1st tee is very close to the outside seating area and therefore you are likely to have an audience on the first shot of the day. Fortunately as we were fairly early we didn't which was just as well for me as I ballooned my first shot of the day onto the next fairway. Hence should have used the practice facilities.
The course itself was fantastic and the greens particularly so considering the recent problems other courses are having. Just goes to show that closing courses in bad weather pays in the long term. I actually thought the course was pretty forgiving as most fairways are fairly wide but this just upsets me even more as I'm not sure i hit more than a couple. I only gave 4 for quality of course but only because of the odd damp patch which is not the green keepers fault. This would easily be a 5 if the weather had been kinder.
At the 8th a little half way hut for a nice cuppa, little chat and a great view of the water feature which is one of the best views I have seen on a golf course for ages. Then I found out a few holes later you had to drive over it. Shouldn't really be an Issue, and wasn't on this occasion but as soon as I see water my little legs start to quiver.
The 18th green is right outside the club house and seating area again and seeing people out drinking and chatting puts the pressure on you again. Fortunately this didn't play on my mind and on the green for two. Although very tempting to go for it in one and I'm sure many try and do and many more try and don't.
Sitting outside for a drink after (yes you read right, outside, in the sun, in short sleeves drinking) was fantastic. Got to watch others teeing off on the first. Met some more members and again all very warm and friendly.
My company today was of the highest order and the club, course and weather just added to a fantastic day. I fully understand the feelings of the member who invited me today regarding this fine club and I hope I keep in their good books to play this course again and again!
Worth a visit if you can?
The course was in good condition, apart from some bunkers which were GUR due to be water logged. The course it's self does not seem to difficult, that said I made a pigs ear of playing it. I was invited to play here as a guest, which cost a bargain £25; however, I have rated the value as a 2, because I personally don't think it's worth £2k a year. I would gladly play here again, at the guest rate.
Lady Lilley & Lady Lockwood share golf & tea at Royal Blackheath today.....
Today, Thursday, I should have been gardening at Chiswick House but I fell into temptation due to a last minute text form the temptress, the famous Judy of Blackheath, my new friend & newly titled "Lady Lilley", yes she now qualifies to join my club.
I had to tell William R. (Head Gardener or rather Gardening Supervisor) that I was unable to attend my duties today having a more pressing engagement. William is used my non-attendance (or bad attendance) as it is now the 4th or 5th time this year,that I choose to do other things than gardening but that is the beauty of being a Volunteer, you really are in control & dont have to pretend you are sick or unwell or that you need a day off because the cat/or dog has died. Any all this non-attendance is due to the TSG.com I might add & only 10 months ago I did not know who/what TSG was and now here I am, a very active Lady Member, missing work to play golf with newly found friends
So Judy & Brigitte (or Sophie for the ones that know me better) had a truly great round, most of the time unhurried, a lovely sunny & warm day with a few clouds which added beauty to the lovely landscape of Royal Blackheath Golf course.
So now as to the course: it was in tip-top condition, lush inviting fairways, true & fast greens(too fast at times, did miss a few putts due to lack of concentration). Some bunkers were a little compacted, some had standing water but that is expected after the recent deluges, some others had pleasant sand but it did not help in my case as I got stuck in a deep one by the 15th, but I finally got out & it was the most beautifully excecuted sand shot, Judy can vouch for that.
My 3rd visit to Royal Blackheath & still find an atraction to this course. the atmosphere etc... but the joining fee are not in my range. The grounds, the trees, the lanscape are very picturesque for a "town" golf course, yes you are in Royal Eltham, South East London on the border of Kent.
By the way, for a bit of culture, Eltham Palace is on the other side of the road as you enter the "posh" drive of Royal Blackheath Golf Club. I believe there is a permanent exhibition of Art Deco stuff at the Palace. I shall pay a visit one day when not playing golf (will make use of my Freedom Pass, before the next government takes it away, how dare they, I believe that anyone doing Volunteer work should keep their benefits)what ever their income/revenue/personal fortune inherited or not. I mention the Palace & Art Deco because I very much like this style of architecture & all it encompasses. (Nice, South of France and Miami South Beach have some of the most beautiful preserved buildings, a delight to look at & admire).
So to recap, a very good day, well worth the 130 miles round trip on the M25. Off to Essex tomorrow for some more golf & a "Hen Night", whatever that is, we do not do these things in France !!! we do other things, ask me if you really want to know as it could be interesting.
I nearly forgot to mention our "boobs" discussion with Judy @ the 6th hole, well not the boob jobs or the like but the way one's anatomy can help with the swing & we were practising as we went along all the way to the 18th. My score was not that great despite me having a great game, wonderful drives, yes, I did outdrive July a few times (I have to mention that, maybe one day I shall be a 18 hdcp as well, bu I need to produce better scorecards, these things take time....).
We finished in style at the 19th, on the sunny terrace where Lady Lilley & Lady Lockwood enjoyed freshly baked scones with cream & strawberries with a lovely "cuppa" & of course the usual girly chit-chat, I would never miss that with Judy, there is so much to tell or "gossip" about the TSG/TSGers..... I bet you all wish you were little flies on the wall or in the garden at Royal Blackheath!!!! A truly enjoyable day, thanks so very much Lady Lilley of Blackheath.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this "short" review, not a lot about golf but after all it is "The Social Golf" that I am addressing & certainly enjoying. There will be many more (still 4 drafts in my pending tray), but Royal Blackheath had to be written today whislt so fresh in my mind. I was pondering as I was bombing along the M25 on my way home, it makes the journey so much more enjoyable, but I do keep my eyes on the road, yes I can multitask.
Crystal Jug proudly sitting on my mantel piece.....
Today, 28th July 2012, is a memorable date, start of the Olympics & Guest Day at Royal Blackheath where some 80+ golfers attended. Yes, I am very lucky & returned to Royal Blackheath only 2 weeks after my 1st visit & came home (so did Jude) with a beautiful engraved crystal jug as Judy & I won the Ladies runner up prize on count back, I might add.
The format for the day was 4 balls: 2 members/2 guests, individual stableford, shot gun start. Our Team consisted of Judy "Miss BBC" (she knows all the news !), I ("Lady Lockwood", writer of "short" reviews), Dave K. (Member) and Steve G. (TSGer, new acquaintance, a cheerful character, very good golfer, and rather excited by his imminent holidays to France!). There was a very good entente between the 4 of us, right from the start, I suppose it was due to Judy's meticulous choice. Judy & Dave were very hospitable and once again I felt at home @ Royal Blackheath, The weather was superb despite some dubious forecast.
We had coffee & bacon roll (a little slow to be ready), before going to our Tee for an unhurried round, despite a sort of slightly hurried/confused start as there were 2 teams starting together on the 18th. Our Team went first.
We had a very pleasant round, following the Lady Captain's team, warm weather with a little wind at times, but certainly dry.
The fairways and the rough were extremely lush, due to the "summer weather 2012", it was sometimes difficult to battle out of the rough as the recent rain had made the grass extra thick, tHere was not a lot of run of the fairways either for the same reason.
The greens were in excellent condition & a pleasure to putt. My new friend "Spider Ghost" was brilliant & rewarded me a 20 or 30 ft putt!!! (Hole 14 ?).
Our group was nearly it 3 times by wayward balls, narrowly missing us if it was not the the loud "FORE", left, right etc... We later found out at the dining table that Judy's bridght red skirt/white outfit was the magnet & compliments were paid to her later. Judy is such a flirt and loves the attention, I think we are two of a kind in that respect.... As said earlier, the round was pleasant, unhurried, fun, we stopped twice at the half-way house for refreshments kindly offered by our hosts.
The round was followed by drinks on the sunny terrace before getting ready for our evening diner, Men had to wear shirt/tie/jacket and Women, smart dress or top & trousers. We had a superb carvery, followed by coffee & mints, the cheese never arrived ! Nine tables were set up & prettily decorated with name tags. We had table 9 or 6 depending the way you look at it or how much wine you had to drink.
Our table was in front of a huge fireplace where 3 opulent Father Christmas could have easily slid down the chimney simultaneously. Presentation of the trophies & photo taking.
After dinner, we (our group) had to look for "a mouse" (a resident in the dining room !), well a painted resident. One of the large painting (by Terence Cuneo 1965) on the wall of the dining room, represents the past Captains in Red jackets having a sumptuous dinner & amongst all the food displayed on the table, here is a tiny, tiny "little painted mouse", sort of climbing onto the fruit bowl. It was difficult to see & find the mouse with the evening lights & a few bottles of wine, but we eventually found it. A real attraction, very pretty, once you see it, it nearly looks real. The story behind it is that Terence Cuneo saw a little mouse when he was hard at his task & he decided to incorporate the mouse in the picture !!! So that is the story of the mouse.
There was another illustrious painting on another wall and it is worth mentioning: a portrait of Christian Hamilton Grey by Cohen, 1929. Grey bought a nearby house & estate (Barnehurst) & he had an 18 holes golf course (James Braid designed) built for his wife. The story is more of a tale, as the ,then private golf course, was for the Grey and their friends, the golf course still exists. (Judy please correct me, if not exact, etc).
I arrived early via M25/A20 (never, ever going thrgouh London again, see my previous review), returned late & despite the Olympic traffic, I had a very fast journey either way.
What a lovely day to remember & the Crystal trophy now on my mantel piece. Thanks Judy, Dave (wonderful hosts) & Steve.Some photos were posted on my album (yes,I did manage, dont know how, but I did)
WOW...What a course...a Must play......
Well i have sat at the desk now for 5 mins not knowing what words to use to describe my opinion of this course...... Brilliant seems an understatement!!!
On arrival the club just had a great feel to it, a real golf club..All the club members were very polite and friendly as was the staff in the pro shop.
The first tee is one i have never seen before, no place for a shy golfer.
I was not lucky enough to find the fair way from the tee but after my second shot i found what i would call "the carpet"... very lush indeed, i have seen worse greens let alone fair ways.
The course carried on the quality, unlike my game but it mattered not. Some very interesting holes that will challenged all levels of golfer, and come across as a course that just does not get boring.
I personal have not seen greens like RBGC in the UK before, very true and fast.... the way they should be.
Club house was just as special as the course, with great history and an atmosphere that you don't see in many golf clubs. I was Lucky to get a tour by Judy after a drink in the 19th Hole.
If you get the chance to play at RBGC then you must jump at the chance, i am already looking forward to my next visit.
Lady Lockwood feels at home at Royal Blackheath, classy, tradtional but not oppressive....
It is going to be a long review as a day at Royal Blackheath is no ordinary golf day....
1st part: THE DAY/THE EXPERIENCE/THE DISCOVERY
2nd part: THE COURSE/THE PLAY & MORE
1. THE DAY / THE EXPERIENCE / THE DISCOVERY
I had an invite from Judy T (member of this club for 14 years), I was delighted to accept, despite the not too good weather predictions for Monday 16th July. The drive from Twickenham was hell (faulty traffic lights at Kew Bridge, road works all the way, and accident at Eltham roundabout with an overturned car!), it took me 2 hours to travel a 20 miles journey. I felt a little less stressed as Judy re-assured me that there was no timetable, so that eased my journey a little.
As I arrived at the Club situated opposite Eltham Palace, I drove down a red drive and it felt important just like walking on a red carpet. By the visitor's Car Park, there were huge marquees (could house my home 3 times) still in place from previous celebrations. The somptuous floral arangements from the parties are now displayed in the various elegant rooms of the Clubhouse.
Judy met me in the car park, we had a cuppa in the Members lounge overlooking the 18th green. Then Judy took me on a guided tour of the magnificient mansion. Large hallway which houses the wooden boards with all the Cups/Trophy winners etc... Judy's name seems to appear on a few of them, I believe that 2008 (the 400th anniversary of the Club, oldest club in England and possibly in the world) was Judy's year as she collected 8 Trophies!!! Large, airy, light rooms upstairs, I shall only name a few: the Captain's room (overlooking the putting/chipping practice green) where interviews take place for potential members, the Shea Room, stylish & cosy, now an office, and many more. The Library which houses all sort of golf memorabilia was not open. The large stairs take you down the other side of the clubhouse, like a U shape. Back downstairs where I saw what was once the Men's only Bar (dark & uninviting) but now open to Ladies, as we now share the same rights! Vive le 21st century... we went on to change ready for our golf game, weather not terribly promising. I shall describe the course and play in my 2nd part...
After the game, we changed to drier clothes, back to the Members lounge, met some other members, I shall mention June, a warm & interesting character (member of 40 years +, ex Lady Captain). June was playing with her I-Pad, we had a chat and I learnt some interesting tales.
Judy and I had a post round drink with plenty of time for a "girlie" chit/chat without forgetting the golf/TSGers, always a good subject to deliberate on.
Said goodbye and thanks Judy, finally left Royal Blackheath by 7pm: my journey back home via the A20/M25 J3, 40 miles longer, only took 1.05 minutes.... So was home before dark. A truly exceptional day despite the rain/drizzle/wind. Thanks a million Judy, a superb host!
2. THE COURSE/THE PLAY
Royal Blackheath course used to be on the Heath, it was subsequently amalgamated with Eltham Golf Club after the 1st World War, the Club kept the name of Royal Blackheath despite being in Eltham. There is a lot of history which one can read on the website but I want to say that I probably felt at home because of the Scottish origin (Scottish/French alliance) and at the same time, the true Britishness of the Club.
I went round the course with the expert guidance/advice of Judy. The course is parkland, flat, it may look easy but it is a challenging course with well placed deep bunkers, large mature trees in the trajectory of some Tee shots, nicely laid out, lovely secenery, lush fairways, well maintained by the Greenkeeper (whom we talked to) and his team, superb greens, very inviting but the adverse weather conditions did not help me much unfortunately.
Some very memorable holes & an attractive cross section where 7th/8th/9th/13th meet, with a Tea hut, seating area, nice colourful & scented shrubs, a water feature which can be seen from many holes and particulary the 18th. A very pretty wooden bridge by the 17th (will post a photo if I manage the technicalities).
Memorable holes : 13th/16th/17th/18th:
13th: Par 5, old red brick walls around the back with colourful plants, shrubbery around the Tee, shot over water, one of my favourite hole.
16th: Par 3, Tee shot across a ditch a large tree in trajectory. 2 large/deep bunkers either side of the green
17th: Par 5, a natural pond on the side of the Tee box, a wooden bridge on the left on the adjacent woodland. This hole has a very interesting approach to the green, something I have never come across before, from the distance it looks like a mound. There is a large bunker the width of the green, a tall/thick wood hedge between the bunker and the green. A nice challenge as you approach the green, maybe more exciting than water as one cannot see the green !
A favourite as well.
18: Par 4, slight left dog leg, a carefully plan Tee shot is required as the fairway slopes Left to Right, with 3 deep strategically placed bunkers on the left. The green cannot be seen from the fairway, as on the previous hole there is a thick wood hedge guarding the approach, & 2 more sand bunkers either side of the green.
As we arrived at the 18th, we saw a team of "Artisans" starting at hole No.1: nice perks of the job!!! but I believe they pay a small membership.
The 18th green is really beautiful. When seen from the Members lounge (through the 3 tall/low sash windows with wooden shutters) it looks like a brand new green carpet. Nice challenging finishing hole.
Friendly Pro shop, well stocked. Well established members, friendly & welcoming. Nice Ladies changing rooms with dark pink lockers.
A very smart traditional club to belong to if you can afford it, but it opens its door to Visitors and for around £40.00 p.p. a Society day can be arranged, including coffee/tea + bacon roll, 18 holes & lunch. So if anyone should be interested, a game could be posted and you would get a chance to appreciate Royal Blackheath with your own eyes. The above was my own picture & perception of the place.
THE END...... I promise!
Great Course stunning Greens
very pretty Parkland course alot wider than you think Tricky holes water and bunkers from Hell Flat would recommend playing here if you get the chance.
Staff and members very friendly and great service
Well worth a visit
I am a member. The course is in fantastic condition due to the hard work of the greenkeepers over the past couple of years. There are no temporaries. There is some work taking place on the course - GUR bunkers at 3rd (Stroke Index 1) and on the 5th (Railway) which makes this a harder hole to negotiate, but bring it on! Green fees can play with a member for £25 (up to 3 per member). Green fees without a member pay £40.00 Well worth a visit. I will be posting games whenever possible, otherwise book a date to play. Let me know what you think. Judy
Excellent, opportunity not to be missed
Hard to beleive you're in the middle of South-East London's suburbs. The club claims to be the oldest golf club in the world and it has all the charm to prove it. Very friendly (everyone), course is well laid out pretty flat, parkland affair, with only one piece of water (ornamental pond to play across) but lots of bunkers to make you think. Course is maintained in great condition and the big open fairways are inviting for higher handicappers and encourage the better golfer to really have a go. The only slight disappointment was the quality of the sand in the bunkers (but I guess I shouldn't have been in them in the first place!). Playing with a member on a TSG game was £15. I've never had such excellent value for money. If Judy puts more games up - go for them !