Situated just to the south of Heathrow Airport, the course at Ashford Manor Golf Club measures 6,351 yards and it features back-to-back par threes at holes 11 and 12.
The course at Ashdown Manor is well worth a visit and I enjoyed a visit in June when the course was in great condition. There are a few observations and as usual, if you do some homework and set expectations, you will have a good time.
First off, the course is very flat with little elevation change at all and the course is built on a fairly small piece of land. This means that many holes are close to one another and you can see quite a few of them at the same time from most fairways. This also means that you will be walking back to a number of tees from the previous greens - these are all observations much rather than criticisms though.
There are a number of things that I really like about the club and the course and the opening hole is a perfect start; after making your way to the club that is located just minutes from Heathrow Airport there is some tranquillity on the 1st tee. The hole is just over 400 yards long with one fairway bunker at 260 yards (a perfect aiming spot for most) and another at the green to the left – this really is a great introduction to the course. The opening stretch of the first four holes includes three par-4’s over 400 yards and it is only the short par-5 3rd that is the obvious chance early to beat handicap.
The 5th is a strong hole and has the most about it so far; only 339 yards but a severe turn to the left after around 200 yards – so the tee shot (line and length) are so important.
Only one short hole on the front and it is at the 6th and not too bad at all – decent length at 173 yards, bunkers either side of the green and teeing from a slightly elevated tee.
Stroke index-1 is the 7th hole and is a beast – 471 yards and a par-4 – a fairly straight hole but the length says that pars are not so common. Chances to finish well on the front nine with a couple of short par-4’s with the 8th the better looking one with the green right by the clubhouse.
As mentioned at the top, many holes can been seen at the same time and the 9th fairway is the best example here – looking left and right, you can see at least nine other holes.
The back nine starts very well; the 10th hole could be my favourite par-4; 458 yards to a green with a brilliant false front. There are back to back par-3’s at the 11th and 12th – now the former is very good, with another false front to a green that slopes back to front but I have to say the 12th hole needs a re-think. This is 234 yards long, which is way too long and it also has a fairway – not just an extended apron at the green but a proper fairway which does not feel right at all, even from the yellow tee the yardage is 223 yards – so not a finesse hole at all.
Quite quickly, the next hole in fact is my ‘best hole so far’ – a slightly offset tee can make the 13th a small dog-leg to the right and the lone bunker and mature trees on the left frame the 382 yards hole perfectly. Playing the par-3 14th, means that there have been three one-shot holes in four, which does wonders to speed up play and this one is probably the best one; another false front with deep bunkers either side of the green.
I would say that Ashford Manor ends very well with the remaining four holes all very good – the 15th is a good looking reachable par-5 towards the far end of the course on the south side (I would suggest trying to improve the view beyond the green though – at present not that great!). The 302 yard 16th is a delight; a fairway that kinks in at around 210 yards, superb bunkering front, left and right and a strong green with subtle borrows. The 17th throws-up another big par-4 challenge – turning slightly left and at 474 yards – just like the 7th, is in the beast category – although the bunkering around the course is very strong, there is one on this penultimate hole that is way out of place; it is at around 200 yards from the tee and on the extreme right of the fairway (in the rough) and is actually is facing the wrong way – hopefully that hazard gets a re-think. There is a nice home hole; a touch under 400 yards with the most interesting green on the course – it is another that is raised but what a great elongated kidney shape.
Overall, this is a decent parkland course that will be well liked by most and is presented in a very strong way and what you would call a typical members club that is very popular.
Ashford Manor is a course I've been wanting to play for a while. Its not too far from me so I have been preserving to get on and finally managed today, I was not disappointed. I was told by a few members that the fairways were in some of the best condition for some time and they were right, first class. The layout is relativly straight forward but the course is very attractive and in very good condition throughout. I was trialing a new driver which didn't go overly well which meant I didn't take advantage of the very well kept fairways as much as I would of hoped to, despite this is still managed to put together a reasonable round which leads me to think it would be quite getable normally. My playing partner shot one of his best rounds of the year and also commented on the quality of the fairways. Overall I think it should rate higher in the Middlesex rankings given its condition.