If you've never visited The Addington Golf Club and Mr Spock beamed you onto the first tee, you would never believe you were a mere ten miles from the centre of London. The Addington is an extraordinary heathland golfing paradise. It's a course which has remained virtually unchanged since J.F. Abercromby, the man behind Worplesdon, designed it back in 1914. Many believe the Addington is Abercromby's finest creation.
In the early days, The Addington boasted two golf courses, the Old and the New - 36 of the finest golf holes in England, as good, if not better than Sunningdale. Unfortunately, the New course no longer exists; a housing estate now stands in its place.
The current course is an idiosyncratic affair, with rickety trestle bridges spanning glorious heathland dells. Mature pine and birch trees provide a wonderful feeling of intimacy. It really is a delightful place to be, especially in the winter, because the sandy course drains perfectly and remains bone dry underfoot.
The course measures slightly more than 6,300 yards and opens up with a challenging par three. The 5th hole is a long par four with a slight dogleg to the left. An accurate tee shot is required to the right to the left-sloping fairway. A hanging lie is often the order of the day for the second shot, which is uphill to a well-guarded green. Take plenty of club for the approach shot, which is usually longer than it looks.
Bernard Darwin was a lover of The Addington, especially the new course, which as we have already said, sadly no longer exists. The course we play today remains witness to Abercromby's skill. Or as Darwin said in his book, Golf Between Two Wars: "He had admirable material, the country of sand and heather and birch trees, and with what an artistic eye he used it!"
In 2019, the club appointed Clayton, DeVries & Pont to conduct a long-term course plan with a view to returning the design to its Abercromby origins using historical photography. The aerial images show the course was much more open and tree removal will open up views and assist with heather regeneration. Greens have shrunk by 30-40% so the intention is to push them out again wherever possible. “It's almost like a Rembrandt found in an attic," says Frank Pont. "You need to take four layers of varnish off, just clean it up and bring back what's there. But the whole painting is still there.”
This is a course which always comes highly rated, holes are very interesting, fantastic views across london. 4 of us played on the day before club champs and the greens were absolutely perfect. Greens are tough but run true and the subtle slopes and borrows make them a great challenge. Unfortunately the fairways are terrible, it’s winter rules which helps but fairway conditions alone do not justify the £80 green fee. If the greens had been ‘green’ and had grass on them then this would be a fantastic course. There are always comments about how tough it is to keep the ball on the fairways due to the geography of the course but this is made even more difficult with the poor condition at present. Shame as this was a course we were really looking forward to. Not saying we won’t go back but will def check first before travelling.
Really disappointed having driven 3 hours to play this course this week. They have clear lost the fairways some time ago, meaning any shots that are on the fairway are played off barren ground or in our case after a heavy downpour throughout the day, mud.
Undeniably some good holes on this interesting layout, but In no way can this be considered a top 100 course due to the poor condition of the course
I know I wrote a review merely two months ago for this course, but I have to say it had been a while since I had played the Addington. I actually played it earlier today with a mate, and I have to disagree with the review below. The course is in very acceptable condition, fairways maybe a bit patchy in places but the rest is magnificent, with incredible greens.
I feel people are a bit harsh when talking about the conditioning of the course. Some of it is not within the control of the club, as the boiling summers have destroyed many fairways and reduced them to dirt. At the moment it was actually pretty good.
Anyway, back to the review. The layout is fantastic and interesting, with many beautiful and memorable holes. Even the 'lesser' front nine has many a good hole. The 4th, for example, is a magnificent par four with a beautiful drive that reminded me a bit of Wentworth's setting (no, I haven't played there, I went to watch the BMW). I love the 7th, which is my favourite par three in the world. And when the rhododendrons are in bloom, the 13th might be the best par three over 200 yards in the UK!
All in all, you have to visit the Addington at least once. I hope my comments could spark some positivity for this course. I think it should be in the top 30 in England at least. If conditioning improves just a little, it will definitely get there. Seriously, what a golf course!
Firstly let me say that there is certainly a great layout at The Addington, with some interesting holes and great views of London. I'm not a fan of Par 3 opening holes and agree with others when they say the course would be better suited to having the 2nd as the opening hole.
What I can't get over is the terrible condition of virtually every fairway on the course, potentially the worst I've every played on. We were warned prior to playing that there was placing on the fairway (not something I've ever experienced in August), so we knew to expect less than perfect conditions, but none of us expected it to be that bad! Having played 34 of the England Top 100, this was by far the worst conditioned course by a country mile, and at times It was a struggle to find a patch of grass to place the ball on.
This could be a great golf course, but reading the reviews it would appear it's been in a poor state for a few years now (which would explain its fall in the rankings) and my concern is that it'll take a few years to repair the damage.
In my opinion there are courses outside the Top 100 that could easily replace The Addington (Enville, Gog Magog, Ross on Wye, Sutton Coldfield) as I don't believe a course in such bad condition is worthy of a place in this list.
Such a shame we didn't play it 10 years ago when it was at its best.
Having read the varying recent reviews I'm glad to say we loved The Addington, although very tired after carrying clubs and being used to seaside golf.
Some of the fairways have clearly struggled with the recent hot dry Summers, a hazard of heathland courses, but they had preferred lies so no great loss.
Very friendly welcome from the excellent staff, and good COVID management.
The course itself starts slowly but from the 7th onwards (beautiful natural dell green) the golf is brilliant.
Reminds me in places of Sunningdale Old, Crowborough and Hindhead - ie sporting, traditional golf with lots of elevation changes.
If the conditioning was right it would be a five ball course.
Once a hidden gem not more of a pay and play sadly. Hacked out loss of heather and chopped down hundreds of trees making this place lose its appeal.
The greens were fantastic and the bunkers have always been nice. Condition of the overall course was average.
Worth a visit but if you played this course 10-15 years ago you won’t have the same feelings about it.
I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder because chopping down hundreds more trees is exactly what The Addington needs. The benefits are width (strategy), wind, heather (recovery shot), sunlight, turf quality and views, of which The Addington is very blessed. The bones are there for this course to be top 25 in England. With the talented team of Clayton, DeVries and Pont I think we will see just that when they are done restoring this golden age course.
A little pocket of tranquility in the midst of the hustle and bustle of South London. Super track with funky greens that require some serious green-reading skills. Standout holes were 6 and 9 on the front and the par 3's 13 & 17 on the back. Lots of variety throughout, the Addington is another of Abercromby's brilliant designs. Loved the rickety, old wooden bridges that link you from some fairways to greens and greens to tees, charming place well worth a visit. MV
What a stunning course. Played it today for the first time in some challenging wind. Greens were superb and me and my playing partner left talking about coming back for more so clearly a hit. Not the easiest course but great for course management.
They don’t make them like the Addington any more. Ravines, bridges, bunkers, blind shots, uphill and downhill shots, narrow fairways, Wide fairways, some heather (but probably less than there once was), plenty of trees.
I went round as a member’s guest, off what were marked as white tees, but in practice were about yellow yardage. I played well, managing to be one under par net. I say this to let you be the judge whether the review is a product of a happy glow or because it is real. I like to think it’s real, but accept it may not be.
As has been said 1 to 5 are not especially exciting. 6 to 17 certainly are. The sense of satisfaction at getting over both ravines on 9, the joy of getting the right club and plopping it onto the green on 6 and 10. The sheer joy of my 3 wood shot of the year so far soaring out over the 13th to be followed by the disappointment of a weak three put.
It’s a lovely course. The greens are great, the fairways less so. The heather is not as pure as say, New Zealand or the Berkshire, but it is there for real, and hopefully will become more prevalent and maintained well especially if the bracken can be cut down and the emergent trees removed. It’s also lovely as a way of seeing how an architect could walk round and visualise how to design a course which does not require earth to be moved.
And finally, while it may sound sacrilegious, if I was making the perfect course out of the Addington Hills I’d ditch 1 to 5 and 18 and join the remaining 12 with 6 of the more heathery and hilly holes from the neighbouring Addington Palace and shove my clubhouse somewhere on Bishop’s Walk. Anyone got a few million pounds to spare?
The Addington is a beautiful heathland that is my favourite course of all time (as of 12th June). I do not take conditioning too seriously with this course as the holes make up for it. It has fallen down heavily in the Top 100 England in both this website's ranking and in Golf World's, but I feel like that is unfair. The course is magnificent and beautifully framed by tall pines and heather.
1 - an okay par three of 155/145/135 up the hill to a small two-tier green. There is nothing too special about this hole.
2 - a good par five of 560/545/470 on a slightly slanted fairway. The green is slightly sunken from the fairway. I thought this was a good par five, but there are two better par fives to come.
3 - a brutal par three of 210/185/170 up a steep hill with deep bunkers short of the green. It is similar to the first. An okay hole.
4 - a great par four of 440/425/410 with a wide landing area that narrows as you get closer to the green. Worthy of the S.I. 1 and a great hole indeed.
5 - a fine par four of 435/425/375 uphill and framed nicely by tall trees. Not too special, but this is an okay hole.
6 - a good par four of 375/335/330 with a dogleg to the left. The big feature of this hole is the enormous bunker on the right of the green.
7 - a beautiful par three of 150/140/120 downhill over a huge hillside of heather to a slim green in the valley. For me, this is one of the best golf holes I have ever played.
8 - a tough par four of 415/400/385 that has a slightly awkward blind drive and a downhill approach. I felt the hole would be better if the tee box pointed further to the left.
9 - a brilliant yet quirky par four of 375/360/340 that plays over a ravine twice. The tee shot is more daunting as it requires more accuracy, whereas the approach is a little wider.
10 - a good uphill par four of 390/345/310 where you drive over anywhere between 100 and 200 yards of rough ground to the fairly generous landing area. A nice hole.
11 - a classic par three with a slender green almost encircled by bunkers. Suffers a little as I think there are three better par 3s on the course, but a wonderful hole that really belongs on a course of this status.
12 - the "Marmite" hole, a par five of 485/440/405 with a downhill drive to a multi levelled fairway. I don't know why people criticise the hole, I love it myself. The definition of risk and reward, in my opinion.
13 - a beautiful par three of 230/215/190 that plays on a hillside to a wonderfully positioned green. Not the most perfect par three on the course (the seventh), but a world class hole nonetheless.
14 - a nice par four of 360/340/295 with lovely views over London. I have a feeling that a tour pro could drive the green if the fairways were fast. A good hole.
15 - a sturdy par four of 435/420/370 playing severely uphill to the green. The approach is similar to that of the first. Definitely worthy of S.I. 2.
16 - a lovely and bouncy par five of 515/500/450 that has some slightly strange undulating as you near the green. Not the best par five, but cascades beautifully through the trees.
17 - a gorgeous par three of 195/175/165 over a beautiful ravine of heather to a well sited green. Tougher than at least three of the six par threes here, and a wonderful golf hole.
18 - a par four of 435/425/415 that is tough and has multiple bunkers. Unfortunately, this hole underwhelmed slightly and was the only disappointment on this magnificent course.
Overall, the Addington is well worthy of the top 30 where it should be situated. It is cheaper than a lot of other courses of this calibre, and definitely worthy of the five balls shown here. A must play, although it was difficult for me (as a junior who only hits it 160 yards off the tee)!