Brocket Hall (Melbourne) - Hertfordshire - England

Brocket Hall Golf Club,
Welwyn Garden City,
Herts,
AL8 7XG,
England


  • +44 (0)1707 335241

  • Alex Davies

  • Peter Alliss & Clive Clark

  • Luke Roberts

A mere 20 miles north of London lies the delightful Brocket Hall Golf Club, set in 500 acres of seclusion. Brocket Hall hit the headlines a decade or so ago when Lord Brocket was sent to prison after being found guilty of a £4.5m insurance fraud. Wild rumours abounded that he’d buried his classic Ferraris beneath the undulating greens of the Melbourne course, or perhaps even ditched them in the Broadwater of the River Lea. The reality was that he’d dismantled them and shipped them into a North London lock-up.

Brocket Hall was built in 1760 and it’s now rented out by the trustees on a long-term lease. Once home to two British Prime Ministers and a favourite country retreat for royalty, Brocket Hall is now a five star golf resort and both courses are named after the Prime Ministers who used to live here: William Lamb (2nd Viscount Melbourne) and Henry John Temple (3rd Viscount Palmerston).

The Melbourne course was the first course to be laid out in the grounds of Brocket Hall. Designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark, it opened for play in 1992. Many people believe that this is one of the finest designs from BBC television's voice of golf. The layout follows the natural contours of the undulating 18th century parkland and the course belies its tender age.

Measuring 6,616 yards from the back tees, with par set at 72, the Melbourne course is not a slog. It represents an enjoyable but thoroughly challenging test. The holes are varied and interesting, with the River Lea providing a beautiful but daunting hazard. The river is in play right from the off, waiting to catch anything struck too far to the right. The par three 2nd requires a full 170-yard carry directly across the river to a green which is protected by trees on both sides.

As we plot our way round the Melbourne course, each hole continues to entertain and ask questions, but the most telling question is left until the last hole. The 18th is one of the finest closing holes in golf. This teasing downhill par five appears straightforward enough from the tee. A solid drive down the left and over the brow of the hill will leave a dilemma for all but the very best golfers. The question is; lay up or go for it? Whatever the answer is, there will be time enough to spare for reflection when you are carried across the River Lea by a ferry to complete the hole.

Finally, a word about the practice facilities. Brocket Hall is home to The Faldo Golf Institute. This state-of-the-art golf instruction centre includes an indoor teaching school, a long game zone, a short game zone, a chipping and bunker zone, a putting zone and a par three, six-hole approach zone. If practice is your thing, then you cannot fail to be impressed.

Brocket Hall is one of the best golf clubs in Hertfordshire and if you are given the opportunity to play here, we thoroughly recommend it.

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Reviews for Brocket Hall (Melbourne)

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Description: The Melbourne is Brocket Hall Golf Club's oldest course. This challenging layout wends its way across undulating 18th Century parkland. Rating: 7.1 out of 10 Reviews: 27
TaylorMade
Mark Chaplin
Undoubtedly one of the finest settings in England though for me this course didn't live up to it's surroundings. Several pretty water holes but long walks to the bridges and a broken ferry on the 18th made the walk a rather long slog. Sadly the greens had been deep cored the previous day so it was impossible to get a true impression of their quality. As with so many UK courses this green work was not reflected in a discount. Ideal corporate venue as long as it's not on your account!
October 03, 2006
6 / 10
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John
This course is exceptional. Not because it necessarily forces you to shoot very high scores, but because it continually asks questions of your game. Your shot selection has to be very good. The river setting also helps the first four and the last few holes be of exceptional scenery... the ferry crossing to the 18th green beating any approach I've seen on any final hole anywhere.The first is along the river and any shot in the right half of the fairway will leave you wet. Every second shot is below your feet, forcing you to play right and into the river. The second is a challenging 190 yarder over the river protected by trees on both sides. The third is an uphill par 5 setting you up fora downhill par 4 where a perfect drive will leave you with a 170 yards shot over water again.. Then we head inland with some great holes on #8, #9 and #15, before the second over the water #16. The eighteenth we've spoken about.. great, great, great.The fairways could be kept better but the greens were true and rolling fast. You must play this if you have not.
July 02, 2006
10 / 10
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Carl Statham
I was staying in the house when I played the Melbourne course and that is very impressive, as is the facility as a whole and it probably has the best practice ground in the country. The course is also immaculate and you see very few members, so I presume the whole set up is very exclusive. The course as a design is good, not great, and the golf course feels as if it really doesn't belong and the first and last holes are a prime example of that (and yes there is a ferry). Apart from the view the first is a bad hole and considering the history (Elizabeth 1st was told she was queen here when Mary died) no one should be allowed to put a golf hole on the front lawn let alone one so poor. American in feel (thats not a criticism) and I think challenging to high handicaps, but even off the whites in a howling gale I played 3 under my handicap. Having said all that the green staff do an amazing job and the greens are truly excellent. It was really very enjoyable to play and I would like to play it and the Palmerston again one day. In terms of comparison, it is a much better set up than Moor Park and in between their courses in terms of course design quality. Play it if you get the chance but I presume that the Palmerston is the one to try and play on.
May 18, 2006
4 / 10
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Keith Baxter

A great collection of varied and memorable holes, Brocket Hall is worth playing if you can get a game. The Melbourne has a touch of The Wisley, a hint of Hanbury Manor and a bit of the Buckinghamshire all rolled into one. Some lethal water carries will intimidate the feint hearted and the greens will find out all but the best putters. The whole Brocket experience is classy but never over the top. This has to be one of Alliss's better designs.

September 01, 2005
5 / 10
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David Richards
I arrived with high expectations and the drive, the clubhouse were superb. The opening couple of holes set the course up nicely a short but treachorous opening hole following by a scary par3. The 4th then has a long second over water, after this the course becomes more like any other inland course. It is hard to explain, but this is an excellent new course but only an average old course. It has the feeling of an old set up with all the tall trees, but you just know it is still in its infancy. We played off the tips and I didnt find it overly challenging, wide fairways and as long as you put the ball in the right place the greens were quite welcoming. All in all a good day out, but I am sure that when this course matures it will become a very popular venue. The closing 18th is one of the most spectacular closing holes I have played, a par 5 (520yds), with either a lay up and a 120 yd shot in, or as I found a 220 yd carry off a down hill lie. Not to be sniffed at. Still my ball stayed dry, I made birdie and went home happy. Worth a visit.
June 29, 2005
6 / 10
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Tarby
A tremendous course set in prime Hertfordshire real estate. An excellent mixture of undulating greens of differing sizes gets you really thinking. Many holes played over water with big carries to contend with can make it quite tough to score well playing from the white tees. The par 3 2nd hole with an 190 yard carry at the beginning of your round can either make or break your round early on.Once you've played here you will deffinately want to come back.
April 26, 2005
8 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
What I like most about the Melbourne course is the variety and quality. When you get these two traits, then you are on to a winner. A very tough opening drive with the River Lee just waiting for anything slightly right, then the Lee needs crossing on the 2nd, the 4th and towards the end of the round at 16 and 18. The Melbourne is one of the best set of 18 holes outside of any Top100 list, in fact I believe this should be placed higher than many of the courses in the current Top100. Hopefully the Brocket Hall set up can soon get the recognition it surely deserves. Not too easy to get a game unless you know a member or are part of a corporate event but I hear there may be scope for some green fees in the near future – worth looking out for. One of Hertfordshire's best courses for me.
April 19, 2005
6 / 10
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