It has been a fair while since I played Bishop’s Stortford, but I can remember the last time very clearly. It was a rotten summer’s day, pouring with rain and a stiff breeze. I had been invited as a society guest and I played with my host Colin. The course was in excellent condition and I was impressed by the greens which are nicely contoured and very tricky to read for the uninitiated.
The par five 6th really grabbed my attention and I was genuinely surprised by the elevation changes and the rolling topography. The one-shot 8th is a strong downhill hole across a pond to a truly tricky green that cants significantly at the back half, which was where the pin was cut that day – unfortunately I three putted from less than 20 feet.
A score is to be made going out as the two par fives (#3 and #6) are reachable, I found the back nine to be much tougher, despite another short par five at #12. #14 is a tempting 250-yard par four that enticed me into having a crack at the green only to find one of the greenside bunkers which protect the front. From here to the last (two par threes and two par fours) it’s one good hole after another where the brutal par four 16th is followed by what I thought was a card wrecking par three (I took five). I carded a four on the last as the rain began to ease.
The reason I remember this round so clearly is because my score was good enough to win the society’s guest prize. After dinner I collected the biggest and most hideous plastic golf trophy imaginable. I do beleive it has pride of place in a box in the garage.
There are a good number of decent parkland courses on the northern outreaches of London and Bishop’s Stortford is one of them. The proximity to the M11 and Stansted Airport is not ideal but nobody could complain about accessibility. Keith Baxter
Date: April 10, 2016