Braintree Golf Club was founded in 1891, which makes it the third oldest in Essex. The club’s original course was located at Chapel Farm on the outskirts of Braintree, serving the club for thirty years until it relocated to Chapel Hill in 1921 after a 2-year notice to quit the property was issued by the landlord.
Fifty years further down the line, with the possibility of the Braintree by-pass cutting through the course, the club moved to Stisted, with Fred Hawtree given the task of laying out a new 18-hole course for the membership. Work started in earnest in 1971 and was completed two years later.
Today, the course extends to 6,185 yards from the back tees, playing to a par of 70. Holes are arranged in two distinct returning loops; the shorter outward half to the north of the estate is a mix of par threes and par fours, while the inward half to the south features several fairways that skirt the meandering River Blackwater.
Feature holes include the right doglegging short par four 5th (“Plantation”), the heavily sand- protected 130-yard 10th (“White Gates”), the toughest par four on the card – rated stroke index 1 – at the 394-yard 15th (“Chapel Hill”), and the closing 18th (“The Falls”) which snakes its way to the home green.
A decent parkland course in a very pretty setting. Whilst I wasn’t blown away by the course, I wasn’t left feeling disappointed.
After two holes you cross the lane to play on what feels like the “newer” piece of land. Whilst the holes are good here, I can’t help but prefer the clubhouse side of the course where the trees are more mature and there is more of an established feel to the course.
Holes 9, 10 and 11 were my favourite stretch around the old Manor House but to be fair, there aren’t many weak holes on the course and for a modest green fee, you can’t really complain!
I have played Braintree a number of times over the course of the year. Most recently was 04/12/2019.
Braintree is a lovely club, with a nice feel in the clubhouse and pro shop, making guests feel very welcome. Green tees for guests with a member is £25, but there is also a twilight rate.
The club has a nice range of practice facilities, and a good practice putting green, right in front of the clubhouse.
The course is parkland style, with lots of old, established trees lining the fairways. It is not particularly long, but is tricky as you have to be accurate with your tee shots. The course is always in great condition, and the greens are some of the best I have played this year.
I really like some of the additions they have added over the years, in particularly the pond by the 6th and 7th; and the brook across the 13th.
All in all, for a good day out, with excellent golf and good dining experience, then give Braintree a go!