Search

Moor Park

Yardage
6971
Par
72
SSS
74
Built
1923
Architect(s)
Harry Colt
Nature:
Harry Colt designed, N.W.London two parkland courses, with palladium mansion clubhouse.
Location/Address:
North West London, inside and close to M25. Postcode WD3 1QN
http//www.moorparkgc.co.uk
Secretary
Jonathan Dove
Telephone
+44192 3773146
Professional
Rob Darwin
Green Keeper
Stuart Bertram
moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,
moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,
moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,
moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,
moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,
Tell a friend
Access Policy:
Visitors welcome
Dog Policy:
Well behaved dogs on a lead welcome.
Open Meetings:
Hertfordshire Stag - May
Fees in 1960s
£1.25
Fees today
£85 - 2016

Review

Moor Park, with a history going back to the thirteenth century and the deer park of the Manor of More, has two golf courses and tennis courts built across grounds landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,

The palladium mansion clubhouse. Click to enlarge

The clubhouse is a magnificent, Portland stone faced, completely refurbished mansion, frequently hosting weddings and receptions and with a room associated with the Parachute Regiment, where the World War Two Battle of Arnhem, of ‘the bridge too far’, was planned.

When Lord Leverhulme, of the famed soap empire, purchased the North London property he retained Harry Colt in 1923 to design the golf courses.

‘The West course’, on lower ground, has smaller greens, is 5833 yards with nine par fours under 400 yards.

‘The High course’ is across a hill with some strong undulations and off the back tees is almost 7000 yards. It is sited on good draining ground and its well striped mown fairways have a high proportion of fescues and run pleasingly; it is certainly not a lush parkland slog and browns off in a dry summer. Indeed the greens of this well wooded parkland course are fifty/fifty Browntop Bent and annual meadow grass (Poa annua) – a similar composition to Royal Troon’s greens, the 2016 Open Championship’s venue – and are reasonably firm and true.

moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,

Drive at second hole

Stuart Bertram and his team run a lean fertiliser regime with a lot of aeration and deploy natural products like seaweed to feed and encourage the soil microbes and fungi that naturally break-down and keep control of the unwanted organic thatch material in the root-zone.

Playing the high course again recently we started on the ninth hole and were luckily warmed up by the time we reached the fine second hole with its tee-shot to a diagonal fairway. The green, 450 yards distant, falls away on the left which, after a pleasant first hole, would normally frighten you by its astute need for judgement of the angle of the drive and then another demanding, spanking second shot.

moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,

Par three third hole

The third hole is the first of four par threes which are all excellent and well bunkered in natural Colt style, though one has to say that it is not perfect to finish the round with a short hole.

moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,

Par three twelth

The twelfth at 210 yards, played across a valley, is uphill to a green with a step in it and is perhaps the best of the par threes. It comes after a par four playing the deep valley from the opposite direction from a high tee which looks down on another fine course in FineGolf’s GB&I finest 200, namely Sandy Lodge.

The run from the fourth to the seventh holes takes one to the bottom of the hill and then a climb back up, each hole relying on Colt’s brilliant strategic bunkering to create real interest.

moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,

Pond on corner of eigth hole

After the seventh, a short par four left-hand dogleg, with a testing approach to a green falling away from you, the eighth, stroke index one, is a right-hand dog-leg. Here it is best to drive down the left to open up the green and avoid being blocked by trees around a pond on the corner. A long second is then played from an often hanging lie, where a lake that threatens a duck-hook must be banished from one’s mind, if the green is to be achieved that runs to the right.

moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,

Drive at thirteenth

This course has a good strong finish and I am not quite sure why but the hole I can best recall from last playing here in 1998 is the thirteenth. It is set along the highest point of the course with a tee-shot that can fall to the right and indeed to hit the right line for one’s second is severely testing with the ground and a left-centre bunker, well shy of the green, somehow upsetting one’s balance.

It is with these visual deceptions that the designers of the Golden Era (1901-1935) so often made ordinary ground interesting. The view from the thirteenth green over north-west London is extensive and impressive here.

A bending fourteenth, one of six par fours over 440 yards from the back tees, has a ditch across the long second shot, played to rising ground, an overall design found on many parkland courses, but it is made more interesting by a green sloping to the left.

Here at Moor Park, fortunately, one does not encounter the boringly repetitive, bulldozered mounds and fall-offs surrounding greens that blight so many courses built in the 1980/90s ‘Target-Golf’ era. Colt’s parkland bunkers certainly are distinctive, challenging the scratch player and stand out but the overall feel is one in keeping with the natural sweep of the land.

moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,

The fifteenth green

The blind fifteenth drive is played with considerable trepidation, with a road running down the right hand side and if, unlike me, you attain the fairway you are rewarded with an enjoyable ‘thump’ with your three wood to a distant green running away from you. Hold your nerve here and you will gain an advantage over the opposition.

After a second visit to the well-appointed half-way house, a straight par five teases you to dare to open your shoulders but you may be deceived at the seventeenth. Here there are no drive bunkers but if your long drive is not kept to the right, it can easily run out to the outside of a drifting right hand dogleg. Judging the distance to the green on the only bit of completely flat land we seem to have encountered is suddenly made quite difficult.

moor park golf club, harry colt, fescue/browntop bent, poa annua,

Par three eighteenth

The 150yard eighteenth hole, played down the hill towards the Palladian clubhouse, requires precision.

There are not many parkland courses in FineGolf’s GB&I 200 finest ‘Running-golf’ courses and Moor Park is a deserving inclusion. It has some beautiful ground and trees, is well designed and importantly provides fine, firm turf.

Top these positives off with the most prestigious and historic of clubhouses that seconds as a museum and it is not surprising that it has been the venue of many amateur championships and professional tournaments before the more recent era. The under-18 Boys Stroke-play Championship, the Carris Trophy, was inaugurated here and now returns every four years, while the Hertfordshire Stag event is the low handicap Open in May.

Reviwed by Lorne Smith 2016.

 

Reader Comments

There are currently no comments.