Cherry Lodge GC is a parkland style course near Biggin Hill Airport, in the London Borough of Bromley!
It is a par 72! (It was originally a par 75 but 3 par 5s (4th, 5th and 14th) were reduced to par 4s!
There are 4 par 3s, 10 par 4s and 4 par 5s!
I am a member of Cherry Lodge GC and have been since April 2013.
I joined at a very low membership rate at the commencement of the course refurbishment project and continue now that the major work has been completed in April 2017!
This is an excellent golf course, 6,382 yards from the yellow tees; generally small firm/fast greens, fairways in good condition, the course plays longer than the course yardages when the course is affected by the wind; especially for the older player.
Very good scores are possible, especially the more you know the course but so can the card be ruined if you are not on your game.
Most of the holes have OOB to avoid either in part or the full length, ie the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th!
That said, the OOB external boundaries on many of the holes shouldn't be a problem for golfers who know how to find the fairways most of the time!
The course is located on land formerly known as Cherry Lodge Farm! It was a fruit growing business, especially strawberries!
In 1967/68, the farm owners Messrs Blundell and Hicks, commenced construction of the course, assisted by John Day, which opened in 1969! (Two of the club's honour board trophies, ie the Blundell Bowl and the Hicks Trophy, are named in honour of the two original owners!)
After he won the World Matchplay championship in 1971, a club member invited Gary Player to play at Cherry Lodge! The match was held on 11th October 1971! The son of one of the co-founders caddied for Mr Player!
He scored a -5 under par 69 against the par 75!
He held a sort of on course clinic for the gathering members as word of his presence gained momentum!
He did 10 press-ups with someone on his back! No change in the ego then!
The owners Blundell and Hicks sold the course in 1985 to a subsidiary of a national builders, ie Wates!
The club members bought out ownership of the club from Wates in 1985!
When the financial viability of the club was threatened in the late 2000s,the club decided that the solution was to take tonnes and tonnes of earth bound for costly landfill, in lieu of a profit share arrangement with a developer and a neighbour landowner enabling temporary access for dumper trucks!
A proposal by the board to rename the club as Biggin Hill GC when the landscape work was completed was overwhelmingly rejected by the members!
The club's 50th anniversary is in 2019!
The course has been remodelled by landfill deposits onto the course! This work didn't affect the fairways and greens but many conifer trees were removed and the rough areas between parallel holes were replaced by high banking, and either wispy or thick rough areas in the summer months!
Hundreds of replacement sapling trees have been planted on the newly banked areas which in time will mature into wonderful woodland areas around the course!
Extensive disruption to the course layout was experienced during the main works period, especially when 14 of the 18 tee-boxes were being rebuilt and were bedding in prior to being brought into use!
There wasn't a significant detriment to the course playability/challenge, though the course was considerably shorter than the card at times because of tee-box remodelling. Also the new banking between fairways was GUR until the grassing had grown and the new earth had settled!
The Par 3s
The 4 par 3s are a mix of yardages and challenges! All are now played from raised tee-boxes! They were greatly affected by the remodelling!
#The 6th (index 15) is a moderate length tee shot from the yellow tee but plays much longer and more difficult from the white tee! This also now plays off a significantly raised tee-box complex! A few trees along the right side of the hole were thinned out! There is a moderately sized tree short left of the green which can be difficult from the back tee! (The scene of my 2nd ever hole in 1!)
#The 8th (index 17) used to be a long hole but was changed to a shorter hole but with the addition of a small multi-level pond front left! This is regarded as our signature hole! However it has been thought by many, me included, that a new back tee should be created and I understand that plans are being drawn up to put in a new back tee-box in the 2020 programme of course improvement works!
#The 12th (index 18) is a 1nn yards tee shot from a new raised/repositioned tee! A number of tall conifers were removed to allow improved access from the new tee! This is a severely sloping green from front up to the back and there is a deep bunker front right and a parallel bunker left side! This often plays into a headwind! (The scene of my 1st ever hole in 1, in a KGVL league match!)
#The 16th (index 14) is the longest par 3 at nnn yards! There is OOB all along the right hand side of the hole! It is classified as a single green but is in fact comprised of a larger upper green with a smaller lower green a few feet below! The layout of this green 'complex' is ridiculous and it is the one green that needs serious remodelling if resources could be found! However some fellow members are not of the same opinion and consider it a frightening hole in a close matchplay scenario, especially for visitor players!
The Marmite taste issue comes to mind here!
In wet winter conditions, to protect the condition of the 'new' tees, artificial tee mats are used on the 4 par 3s and the par 5 13th!
The Par 4s
The Par 5s
The greens are not large, in fact several are small and accurate approach play is required to hold them especially in the summer season!
The Head Greenkeeper has been making moderate enlargements of some of the greens to partially address! Hopefully the changes will mature sufficiently through the coming winter/spring period!
The greens are usually fairly fast and tricky to read especially when putting down the hill!
The course is in a wonderful condition under summer months. It is visually improving month by month, year by year!
Our Head Greenkeeper and his maintenance team are embarking on an ongoing maintenance and course improvement programme to further upgrade the course as resources will allow!
Teething troubles were encountered with drainage on some of the the new tee-boxes when there was very heavy rainfall but some remedial works in the past 18 months has improved things but there is a good deal more that needs doing!
Critical comments made by fellow TSGers over the recent past are no longer valid!
This has now developed into a course that is very popular with societies! Only periods of sustained rainfall seriously undermines the playability of the course!
The historical downside legacy is that the course was not designed by a professional golf course architect but by farmers using their own labour, thus many of the greens are low lying and were not properly constructed for good quick drainage, and similar deficiencies apply to the construction of the bunkers!
Updated September 2019.
Date Monday, 09, December 2013