Review's of The Richmond Golf Club
Great location for Londoners....
Not sure I can add much to what Alan and Brigitte have already said....
A very tight and compact course meaning you can get around pretty quickly. The greens are fast and true and the fairways in places are as good as I've played on anywhere.
The clubhouse is steeped in tradition and history and there is no stuffiness to be heard. The staff were all friendly and accommodating.
A little pricey for some TSGers at £80/90 around but I am told it is empty at weekend afternoons, which would suggest they could lower this fee for visitors.
However, it's a very well maintained course and one I look forward to playing again!
A hidden gem, one for the bucket list
I will begin with a criticism, and it is the only one, There is little or no signage to guide you to the club so do rely on your Satnav. The short winding approach road leads off at a tangent to the A307. It is quite narrow and brings you to the imposing arched entrance gates announcing your arrival at Richmond Golf Club.
The road winds across the course, past the first and tenth tee mounds to your left, and beautifully manicured, striped cut fairways to the right. The 18th green, approach and apron is also to the left of the road, and it is difficult to see where the approach finishes and the green begins, so immaculate is it, so immediately the fear of leaving a divot sets in for those used to playing on less salubrious courses.
The even more imposing Club house appears directly in front of you, which was once the hunting Lodge for the Duke of Argyle, with a beautiful staircase leading up to what is in fact, the back door...the collonaded front of house is on the opposite side, looking down on a large putting green. Ample car parking space is provided beyond the house.
Entrance to the club house is in fact via the back door, previously mentioned, directly in to a small bar. Excellent changing facilities, as you would expect, in a building adjoining the main club house..no spikes within the club house, natch. The beautiful carpets alone are probably worth more than the average house.
Beyond the bar is the 'cube room' one of only a handful in the country, with heraldic coats of arms above the doors, and a beautiful view out on to the putting green and gardens. It is used for meetings and the main restaurant. Food incidentally is excellent.
The Card Room, adjacent to the small bar, is home to the trophy cabinet, where among other beautiful cups and plaques, is the mother of pearl, Queen Mothers trophy, a prize for which an annual competition takes place and in which the Queen Mother apparently always took a keen interest. Food is also available in the main bar, off the cube room where players congregate after their rounds to commiserate and congratulate.
Frankly, on arrival, I had expected to be met with ranks of Colonel Blimps and assorted gentry, checking out my attire, and general suitability to play their course, but my fears were completely unfounded. The club atmosphere is entirely relaxed and extremely friendly from the off. The staff and members were welcoming almost to a fault. Clearly one is expected to follow the 'golfing code' regarding dress and behaviour, but stuffy it most certainly is not.
From a green fee cost point of view, it is preferable to play with a member, but what is not widely known, is that anyone can turn up to play. Simply enter your name on the starting sheet for that day, in the pro-shop. No phone bookings are accepted, and this extends to the members too, but a call to the pro shop will tell you if spaces are available that day or not, and, I'm told that generally, Saturday and Sundays, late mornings and early afternoons are invariably available..always worthwhile checking beforehand.
Practice facilities are adequate, sufficient for a gentle warm up, before making the acquaintance of Mr Starter, who will keep you in a sort of holding pen, or you can spent a few minutes on the putting green adjacent, until those on the first tee have tee'd off. The first and 10th tees drive off over the approach road, so care is taken to ensure it is all goes off without incident.
The course itself, is beautifully presented. It is relatively short, being only 6091 yards from the back tees, but design is such that prudence is required in order to navigate your way around it...many well placed but immaculate bunkers, narrow fairways, and rough which is not deep, we suffered no lost balls, but it is heavy and can be, as it should be, punishing. Most greens are, in general large with subtle borrows, but all are true, and properly laid, so approach shots do hold.
The first hole is a gentle introduction to the course, a 316 yard slight dogleg left...from the back tee, quite narrow, so an iron, rescue or similar club is recommended. Plenty of holes where the artillery may be deployed. the green is cut into a bank and is treacherous...my TSG colleague managing to 4 putt it, but no names no pack drill.
The course has 6 par 3's, ranging from 156 to 209 yards, and most of them at the upper yardage.
You cannot help but be impressed by fairway condition. and even that of the rough. They are generally tree lined but the ground beneath is clear and balls are found with very little trouble.
Almost all tees are adjacent to the green previously played, separated by a row of trees or something similar, which is refreshing. We played at a leisurely pace which took around 4 hours.
It was a pleasure to play such a beautiful course, and one I hope I will get to play again in the not too distant. I fully recommend it.
A pleasant experience in leafy Surrey, on the edge of Richmond Park...
Where do I start? There is so much to say on my recollection of this enjoyable sunny Autumn day @ the foothill of Richmond Park.
Everytime I did the perimeter walk of Richmond Park, I went past The Richmond Club I used to peep through the fence to look at this lovely golf course & thought it would be nice to play at this private members club.... well today (4.11.13) the opportunity arose when my very 1st "golf buddy", now a member @ this club invited me as a guest. A far cry from where we met as beginner golfers on the driving range at the other end of Richmond Park where Glendale run 2 public courses, the Dukes & Princes with their brand new state of the art clubhouse as indicated in one of my previous reviews.
As you drive through this leafy, wealthy part of Surrey, you go through an arched gatehouse following a road that crosses some fairways, so beware of golf balls & golfers !!!! The Clubhouse is impressive, a listed Georgian building (home of the late Duke of Argyll), the car park is well laid out, good signage to the driving range, chipping area & the 2 putting greens, the Pro shop, 1st etc....
The course itself is a parkland with various kind of mature trees displaying their splendid autumn colours under a warm sun and clear blue sky as we had today. The walk is pleasant, the only time you may get out of breath is climbing the stairs to the Clubhouse.....
The course is not overly long (just over 6000 yards) but the Par 3s are, varying from 209 to 165 yards. There are some crisscross holes, one has to ring a warning bell, one Tee box is very near a green (9th/10th), 2 holes go over the private entry road. Apart from that the layout is pleasant with lovely well-defined path bordered by old telegraph poles and covered with dark bark.
Tee boxes are in tip-top condition, with ball/club washers, towels provided by Porsche, securely padlocked to the ball washers.
Fairways are superb too, well cut, seem to drain very well too, some sand seem incorporated in the grass etc... but I did notice some divots not being replaced....
Now as to the Greens and their fringes, they were an absolute delight, a true pleasure to play your short game, so well cut I sometimes did not know if I was on the green or the fringe, lovely shapes with undulations, running true & fast (I like this tech. bit of information). One did not need any "gimmies", the putts were just sinking in (NO 3 putts today). I did notice a few pitch marks though...
The bunkers were all wonderfully shaped, a lot of them, always built on mounds,, filled with very nice medium coarse sand which makes the bunkers playable even when wet from the day/night before.. I did find the sand on a few occasion but easily managed my shots "a la Phil Nickelson"..... I think my short game is improving since I joined "a local Short Game Academy" when I could not ventured on an 18 holes course due to a recent back injury now under control.
There is not a lot of water coming into play, only a small pond by the 8th Par 3, and a small stream (Sudbrook) that crosses 2 holes, the 17th and 13th I think. Sudbrook stream is from the water from the hills of Richmond Park and runs down to the Thames, near Ham or Petersham I believe....
This is a course that suits my game, as I am not a long hitter and I believe if I were a member of this Club, my handicap would go down quite a few strokes !!!!! There are a few doglegs not overly complicated, each hole has its character and dangers, one can see some truly wonderful & expensive properties bordering the course, some lovely views of the hills of Richmond Park, Pembroke House can be seen too.
My favourite hole was the 17th, probably the signature hole, a medium Par 5, dogleg right, with some bumps, a ditch and an slightly raised green with stunning backdrop of various trees and also views of the royal park.
There is a very pretty half way hut (rightly placed by the 9th and 18th greens) where one can get free "Squash", beer or more alcoholic beverage would be nice too, but not available. Small seating area with hardwood furniture.
Proshop is nicely stocked, I got a very warm welcome by Elliott who awarded me a Par on the 8th (Par 3) as is was out of play due to reconstruction. I played quite well today and I am sure I would have Pared this hole as it is one of the shorter Par 3., anyway I needed a number for my TSG scorecard and this is "Social Golf", but I had no gimmies on my putts.
The Clubhouse is a beautiful building, inside out, several bars, card room, library, the famous "Cube Room"
(yes build like a cub, totally square), I had a peep through the door, they were re-decoration going on, it was full of natural light and very attractive indeed. Nice food was served by friendly & pleasant staff, did not pay for my drinks so I do not know the prices.
Must mention that Ladies golfers have only recently been allowed to join as members in their own rights (in the last 5 years), that probably explain why the Ladies changing rooms are very new, very modern with the best quality sanitary furniture, chic, sleek & stylish. Lots of natural light & downlighters. Could have spent hours in the large walking shower!!!! Separate keypad for the lockers where members can leave their golf equipment.
A very nice experience at The Richmond Club but not in my price range as a regular place to play. The Members Guest green fee is £35.00 which is worth it for the quality of the course and the nice surrounds and the history.
Forgot to mention the course was built by Tom Dunn in 1892/1896. Before acquiring the lease of Sudbrook Lodge or Mansion as their Clubhouse, the members used to meet at the nearby Pub "Fox & Duck" on the Petersham road.
THE END... I suppose it was worth waiting for, but not sure how many TSGers actually read my reviews. I did post some photos too!