Thetford - Norfolk - England

Thetford Golf Club,
Brandon Road,
Thetford,
Norfolk,
IP24 3NE,
England


  • +44 (0) 1842 752169

  • Malcolm Grubb

  • Charles Mayo, James Braid, Philip Mackenzie Ross, Cameron Sinclair and Donald Steel

  • Stuart Smith

Thetford Golf Club was founded in 1912 and Charles H. Mayo designed the original 6,000-yard course. James Braid made later changes to the layout and further updates were subsequently implemented by Philip Mackenzie Ross.

“Thetford is situated in the Brecklands, an area of sandy soil, and was once far more heathland in type and more abounding with rabbits than it is today.” Wrote Peter Alliss in The Good Golf Guide. It has large areas of heather, gorse and broom but belts of trees – birch oak and pine – now separate one hole from another and have become strategic features governing the right line for the tee shot on many holes.”

According to the club history: “The course was constructed on an open sandy heath known as Thetford Warren, which as the name suggests, was land used to breed rabbits for their fur and meat. After the First World War the Forestry Commission planted extensive pine trees on the surrounding land now know as Thetford Forest. At the time it was the largest man made forest in the country. From being a heathland course it has gradually become a forest course.”

The construction of a new Thetford bypass resulted in significant changes to the course. Five original holes were lost and five new longer holes were fashioned by Cameron Sinclair and Donald Steel. Today’s layout stretches to more than 6,800 yards from the tips.

“You begin with the challenge of quite a long par three,” continues Peter Alliss, “over a valley to a terraced green. Heather is a feature here, and at many later holes. The 5th is a particularly good par four, with a tee shot played over a wide valley with tree, bunkers and an old chalk pit very much in play. The undulating green is just over the brow of a hill, and falls away to the left.”

Thetford is not as well known as some other East Anglia courses located on the North Sea coast, but it should not be missed if planning a golfing trip to this quiet corner of rural England.
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Reviews for Thetford

Av. Reviewers Score:

I’ve never known an inland golf course play as firm and fast in March as Thetford did on my first ever visit to this lovely Norfolk venue.

Traversing superbly dry and fast draining terrain this course wends its way over beautiful heathland and through established woodland of pine, oak and birch.

It was a real joy to hit from its tight fairways on a mild East Anglian Spring day and I came away hugely impressed with not only the course but the feel of the club in general.

There are a couple of reasons it doesn’t quite fall into the top category of heathland courses in my eyes; the bunkering is quite tame and the course loses its way for a few holes around the turn; nothing disastrous but the seventh to ninth holes in particular are not up to the same high standard that the rest of the course sets.

But let’s not focus on the bad points because there’s so much to enjoy about the course and the positives far out way any negatives.

There are few forced carries, the only one I can recall comes at the 17th, and as a result this really is a course for all ages and abilities. The running game is very much alive and allows weaker players to eke out a bit more distance from the tee than they might do elsewhere whilst the firmness of the ground creates a real test for the more accomplished golfer.

Minimal fairway bunkering also allows you to get the ball in play from the tee.. that is if you avoid the gorse, broom and heather than abounds this property in the Breckland Forest.

I enjoyed my round at Thetford in the company of two members who were very pleased to belong to this fine club. There is also a lovely short game area just to the left of the 18th fairway where I’m sure many of the membership will spend time honing their pitching and chipping.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

April 04, 2017


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I have to agree with most of the reviews already on this page about Thetford. Being a junior member I played in the Norfolk Boys Championship last year and with the nasty weather that was presented with us, the course was playing very well throughout the 36 holes that we all played.

It's a fabulous test of golf starting with a tricky 180 yarder par 3 down the hill where you really want to hit the green as anything off it is a challenging par. You cross a very busy road after the 2nd and 6th(?) holes which is always a negative from a golf course in my eyes. However the condition of the course is always good with matured heathland fairways and very top quality greens.

The rivalry between King's Lynn and Thetford is a tough one in my eyes for the 5th spot in Norfolk because they contrast in different ways though both being inland forest courses. I would say that Thetford always has an edge on King's Lynn for the greens however the fairways at Thetford can look less appealing than KLGC from the superb fairway irrigation they have there.

The food and facilities there are all very good with friendly catering staff to top off what will hopefully be a solid test of golf! The last hole is one of the toughest finishing holes in Norfolk in my eyes. My first time playing it I genuinely thought it was a par 5! But to sum it up, definitely worth the trip up to Thetford if your in the area!

January 05, 2017


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On arrival, we headed to the pro-shop to get started, and we were directed to the changing rooms, which smelled quite a lot like a care home, but did the job.

Once we got to the tee, we found out that we’d been joined up with another group, a one-ball in this case. Whilst I understand that this is common practice at many clubs, it was a bit annoying- we hadn’t been informed of this by the proshop and there didn’t seem to be anyone else teeing off before or after us. I’ll also admit that there was a sinking feeling when we peered into his bag and saw a 7 hybrid- never an indicator of a strong playing partner.

The opening hole was a par 3 of about 175 yards, downhill. I stuffed a 4 iron to about 10 feet, and J put his tee shot pin high just off the green- we both made par. Our new friend did not- his fifth shot (the aforementioned 7 hybrid) was a 60 yard pitch (can you pitch with a 7 hybrid?) In the end it was a well-scrambled 7 for him.

Golf’s handicap system is a fantastic thing, but a combination of the 40 year age gap and hitting the ball in very different parts of the course meant that our small-talk ran out after precisely two holes. He spotted some friends on an adjacent fairway, shook our hands and headed off to join them- I can’t imagine that two 21 year olds were his idea of ideal company either.

The greens were fast, and on the day we played, the wind made downhill, downwind putts were seriously tricky to stop. A couple of rain-showers (and some quite painful hail) didn’t affect them too much, and the sandy heathland soil meant that there were no mudballs at all, which was pretty impressive considering the state of some of the other courses in the region.

We were both very impressed with the course actualy- not too flat and not too long (but at 6850 yards from the tips, not short). Wayward tee shots ended up in difficult but not impossible situations.

Standout holes included the par 4 5th- the tee shot played down a valley, and the second shot played up to an elevated, well-bunkered green, and the par 3 16th, played over heather and a horseshoe bunker.

After the round, the clubhouse offered good value bar meals (£6.40 for a bacon & cheese burger with a good portion of chips), a pretty standard selection of beers, and a coffee dispenser that looked as if it should be avoided at all costs.

For £20 through www.teeofftimes.co.uk, I would definitely return- £40 a round is a fair price for the quality of this course, so it’s an absolute bargain.

http://shanksblog.wix.com/theshanks

April 07, 2016


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Chris White
April 11, 2016
It is unusual for anyone to get paired up at Thetford GC if we have spare tee times. Our apologies for this happening. We have spoken to Teeofftimes to try and stop this from happening. It looks like we will have to change the deodoriser in the changing rooms as well! You can only book the cheap rate with Teeofftimes.co.uk 48hrs before you want to play so need to keep an eye out that there are spare tee times available. We are pleased that you enjoyed the course It is currently playing fantastically and our greens have never been better.
This is the 3rd time i've played this course in the last year. The course layout is great, the welcome always friendly, and its a great test of golf with some big par 4's to contend with. If you've got your game on track its a course you can score well on. The main disappointment following my recent visit in late July 15 is the state of the fairways. the greens were little slow this time around but it was mid-week and there had been some heavy rainfall that day too, so perhaps i'll give them the benefit of the doubt. However the fairways are in a terrible state, and following my regular visits over the last 3 yrs they do appear to be getting worse and in need of some serious TLC now; and i dont think the lack of irrigation explains the poor state of them. Lack of investment and maintenance, who knows, but the club need to take some action on them or this great venue and course will start to certainly slip down my favourites list and spoil what is a fantastic track. PS
July 31, 2015


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Simon
November 23, 2015
The fairways are on Breckland sand which means hot weather will always affect the fairways. It IS NOT a lack of investment or maintenance. Each year the fairways are hollow cored and double pass over seeded with drought tolerant cultivars. Both at expense and time. The fairways will always be weather affected however they are improving.
The course at Thetford has a lot going for it, the first obvious one is the setting – woodland all around which is reminiscent of the great courses at Ashridge and Royal Ashdown Forest. There is also a comparison with The Addington in the fact that both courses open with a par-3 and have another short hole at the Thetford Golf Course - Photo by reviewer3rd. After this shortish start, holes 4-6 are pretty strong. The next three at the 7th, 8th and 9th could be described as a little ‘up and down’ – all par 4’s and similar in length. The back 9 is the stronger of the two halves and the opener is a great sweeping dog-leg to the left par-5, followed by what looks like a straight forward par-3 but by having trees on all sides gives a very attractive look. More good holes follow all the way to the 16th, which is a 155 yard par-3 that could be lifted and put on any of the world’s classic inland courses and not look out of place – it is all carry over heather and sand, brilliant. The 17th hole gives you something and the 18th could very well take it straight back; 17th is a 500 yard par-5 and the 18th is a tricky 425 yard par-4, my own finish was birdie/bogey which I am told is quite common. The club has a friendly atmosphere and has a decent visitor welcome – worth playing and probably a little low in the current Norfolk county rankings (#7) for me.
July 11, 2013


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What a great course, been here a couple of times for 36 hole comps over the last 3 years, always had a friendly welcome. While there's a little bit of traffic noise and a bit of crossing over of roads thro-out the round it doesn't detract from what is a very good course layout that meanders wonderfully thro the forest. There's some 'big' holes here in terms of par 4's off the back tees, and some tight drives so its a good test of golf. the last time i played in Sept 11 the fairways had been a bit neglected over the summer drought but everything else was in good condition and the greens have always been great when i've played. very accessible for those of you in the London/Essex area so well worth a trip.
June 06, 2013


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Andy
July 10, 2013
RE: Neglected fairways - The club have no fairway watering (local restrictions), so they do turn brown each year. Nothing they can do about it...
A good course with some memorable holes such as the par three 16th. The forest is tall and mature and many of the holes are carved right through the middle of them. It's a great pity the course is so close to the A11 though. The hum of traffic can be heard on the middle holes and this detracts from the tranquility of the others further away.
May 14, 2013


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A wonderful, testing golf course. The course is laid out on the edge of the Breckland Forest and is a classic mix of tree lined fairways and crisp sandy turf. It plays a little under 7000 yards from the tips add in some excellently placed bunkers and small undulating greens and you have a very good (yet fair) test of golf. I have only played it on a couple of occasions (once at the end of the season and again at the beginning of the following) and both times the condition has been superb for the time of year.A true English Gem
April 03, 2009


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Have had the good fortune to play Thetford a couple of times. I would have to agree with a previous review that Thetford deserves to be in the Top 100. A super tree lined course with lovely fairways and fast greens. I have been fortunate to have played Woodbridge and Aldeburgh recently. Good courses that they are, Thetford is better.
March 25, 2008


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Gavin Jarvis
January 06, 2009
Fantastic location. Mature tree lined holes. Long and very tough. Superb condition right through the year. 16th is a great par 3 played over a sea of gorse to a narrow green. 10th is a great dog leg par 5 with a sloping fairway which kicks all but the best drives into the rough. 18th is a tough finish 460 yard uphill par 4. I love this course. Almost un-noticed. A real gem.
Well worth a visit. Lots of variety and one of the toughest 18th. holes Ive played.Tight fairways, undulating greens usually in good condition.
October 02, 2007


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