Brocket Hall (Palmerston) - Hertfordshire - England

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


  • +44 (0)1707 335241


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Located a mere 20 miles to the north of the capital and close to leafy Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, lies Brocket Hall Golf Club. With two courses named after Prime Ministers who used to reside at Brocket Hall, the Palmerston is the new kid on the block, opening for play in 2000.

Designed by Donald Steel and measuring a whopping 7,080 yards from the championship tees, the Palmerston is a real test. The course winds its way through the undulating estate where majestic specimen trees, including hornbeam, beech and pines create a feeling of intimacy and pose as impressive hazards. Steel’s design philosophy was to provide a top quality course with the least possible intrusion on the site. We think he has exceeded his objective with the Palmerston course and it’s probably just as well, because this is top quality land.

Unlike the older Melbourne course, the River Lea doesn’t come into play on the Palmerston course. Instead, there’s bold bunkering to contend with and, of course, avenues of trees. Steel has created a thinking man and women’s course where the golfer is presented with options. Central bunkers divide the 3rd fairway and the 4th tempts the big hitters to drive left, over a small hollow and across the corner of the dogleg. The short par five 9th is also tempting to attack in two shots, but cleverly positioned greenside bunkers await anything but the best struck approach shot.

Your approach shot on the par four 12th must negotiate an unusual chalk face which lies some 100 yards from the green. This really is a delightful hole, which requires pinpoint accuracy from the tee.

Without doubt, Brocket Hall Golf Club is a classy and stylish place to play golf and the Palmerston course is a delightful contrast to the Melbourne. In many ways the Palmerston is reminiscent and almost as good as Woburn’s Marquess course. Add in the famous Auberge du Lac restaurant and you’ve got a tasty venue.
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Reviews for Brocket Hall (Palmerston)

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Description: Without doubt, Brocket Hall Golf Club is a classy and stylish place to play golf and the Palmerston course is a delightful contrast to the Melbourne. Rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 23
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Carl Tushingham
Played here after heavy rainfall but the course drained fantastically well, particularly the greens, you wouldn't have thought it had rained at all. The course itself didn't quite live up to my expections after reading most of the previous reviews on here. There are of course some stand out holes such as 4th,6th,12th and 13th, but also many fairly standard holes. The greens were extremely true and fast for the time of year, but were diseased and looked visually poor. I think the Melbourne course here is superior in terms of excitement and quality of holes. All that said it is still a very good course all in all.
April 14, 2010
6 / 10
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m reed
I played the Palmerston this weekend. i have waited to play the course for some time and when the oppertunity arose to play i jumped at it. i must admit i was very dissapointed. maybe it was because of the bad weather we have had recently but the course does not appear to be particularly well maintained and the greens were not great. we did not take advantage of all of the facilities so i cannot really make a judgement on them. the staff however were very good. i will try the course again and hope that i am proved wrong but once again i can only say that the course is at best a good course not what i would consider a great course as your albatross rating would suggest.
March 14, 2010
6 / 10
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Andy
March 17, 2010
A shame that you did not have a great experience. My feeling that it is more down to the time of the year to be honest. I have played a number of decent UK courses in 2010 and they are all looking sorry for themselves - the longest winter for 30+ years has not been kind. If you get to go back to Brocket Hall in the summer, you'll rate the course differently I think, thanks.
John Garrett
I've been fortunate enough to play this course dozens of times since its 2000 opening. Whilst this still demands long straight driiving, its also requires great concentration on the greens where the lines are often optical illusions caused by the superb design. The old maxim of aiming for the tree because you never hit anything you aim at doesn't work here as the one behind is larger still. There a fine welcome back in the clubhouse where the facilities are second to none.
January 19, 2010
10 / 10
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faisal
what a delightful course and with some of the best practice facilities in England. The design was naturally flowing with the undulation of the land and there was quite a bit of slope from tee to greens. Its better than Wentworth Edinburgh, Woburn Marquess and Stoke Park Club.
July 18, 2008
10 / 10
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Billy
September 04, 2008
I agree it's a better course than Stoke Park but can't agree it's better than the Edinburgh and Marquess.
faisal
October 03, 2008
I haven't played Marquess but I agree its better than Edinburgh. Palmerston has natural undulation throughout the course whereas Edinburgh only has for part of it. Palmerston is prettier as well.
Nigel Bradley
November 14, 2008
I played Palmerston in November 2007. It was in immaculate condition. I can honestly say it is a splendid course, tough but fair, and ranks in my top 20 ever played.It is an oasis of tranquility too.
Paul Nash
Overall, the Palmerston is one of the best new courses that I have played in the last couple of years, and better than the Melbourne. I would rate it in the same league as, but, probably, slightly behind the Edinburgh at Wentworth: in my opinion, both courses are excellent but they have a few weaker holes, unlike, say, Bearwood Lakes, which has 18 excellent holes. However, it is better than the Buckinghamshire. Many people have compared it to Woburn although I suspect it is most like the Marquess, rather than the Duke’s and Duchess (the only ones I have played). It has touches of the Duke’s and Duchess (although with less of the heathland feel) when in the more wooded parts of the course between 3-6 and 12-16, but it is not as intimate or pretty as either overall, although it probably has them beat for conditioning. Also, the course runs alongside the A1M, which provides a lot of background noise in parts, and it is also this area that provides the best holes. Holes 8-11, and the first, are easily the weakest and are of a different feel, more open and parkland, to the rest of the course. The 18th and 7th are also parkland in style, but are better holes.

Without doubt, the course was immaculately presented. This has been one of the worst years in my memory for getting courses up-to-scratch in the early- to mid-Spring season, when many courses are usually emerging from winter much improved during April and with plenty of colour and growth. This year has been a stinker and, talking to many people and reading lots of reviews, and by my own experience, very few courses were in good nick at this time (25 April). Both courses at Brocket were certainly exceptions. The greens and their surrounds were almost velvety in texture and extremely true and consistent. Likewise the fairways – they were a touch long but beautifully consistent and carpet like, and better than most courses at their peak. The greens had been tined and prepared several weeks earlier but they were already smooth and instilled a lot of confidence.

There are some really strong holes on the Palmerston course, the pick of the bunch being par 4s 2, 4 (SI2), 7 and 12 (a really unusual crater-type hollow awaits if you are too long off the tee or mess up your approach). Holes 15 and 16 were also nice tree-lined holes in the lower part of the course, although I am struggling to remember them as they were very similar. There are 2 very nice par 3s, the 5th and the 14th, both being very similar downhill holes facing the same direction, although 14 is the longer. I thought the other two par 3s (8 and 17) were quite average. Two of the best holes on the course were par 5s: 6 and 13. Hole 6 goes uphill and left at the top before falling down into the valley and rising back up to a raised green: positioning is crucial throughout, as the hole is also cut from the forest, and will punish any errant shot. The 13th is one of the most intimidating, long and difficult par 5s I have played, which is reflected in its SI3 rating – I think it was the most difficult hole on the course: the drive and approach shots are very tight and at over 550 yards even from the yellow, you can’t afford to play too cautiously if you want to get up in three; with a well-bunkered approach, I can’t see too many people reaching in two.

The course is a good challenge and is well designed with plenty of variety with some quite strategic holes. The bunkering could have been a touch more strategic (or intrusive) to tighten things up a bit but, overall, a very fair and varied challenge that will reward good, straight, golf. The setting of an ancient aristocratic estate lends itself to creating a special aura or ambience. While this was certainly true, I didn’t get the same sense of occasion as some places when driving in, for instance Stoke Park – although this is a better course than Stoke – or Wentworth. It is a long drive into the estate with plenty of speed bumps; you pass several buildings and estate cottages and it takes a while to wind your way through to the walled car park – it is then a further trot past the on-site car valeting service to the court-yarded pro shop and entrance to the club house.

The club house was nice, although it did feel a little bit on the corporate side and none of the staff were particularly chatty or welcoming, which contrasts with, say, the reception my party received at St George’s Hill where the Marshall/ Starter welcomed us over coffee and outlined the plans – times/ layout/ payments/ sandwich selection for lunch/ tips etc. Nevertheless, it was not bad, just not as special as it could have been. The food – breakfast/ lunch and dinner – was OK/ not bad, but again, nothing fantastic. The one place I thought looked really special and gave off a real sense of style and occasion was the highly acclaimed Auberge du Lac restaurant, which sits on the banks of the river opposite the clubhouse and in-between the bridge where you drive in and the bottom of the 18th hole on the Melbourne, near the ferry – it is the most delightful looking building, formerly a 17th century hunting lodge – doubtless the meals are not cheap! The visitors changing rooms were small with few lockers and not very appealing compared to what you might expect, but were functional with showers and towels provided.

Overall, our visit lacked the personal touch in the clubhouse and the pro shop, although the starter was friendly. In conclusion, the course is well worth playing if you get a chance, as they don’t take casual visitors, only societies. At a guess, in my experience, it is not a top 100 course but a ranking of around 150-200 in GB & Ireland seems about right, maybe slightly higher due to its exceptional conditioning. PN, Wokingham.
December 22, 2006
8 / 10
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Grahame Pepper
Played the Palmerston last week for the first time, one of the best golf facilities i have played anywhere, the course itself is a fair but tough test for all standards even higher handicappers, off the back tees it feels very playable for 12 and unders.The greens are very receptive and putt true if you can read the subtle lines, it does have some elements of Woburn and will give some tricky stances, use a buggy with the satelite yardages screen for the full experience.
July 10, 2006
10 / 10
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John
I've played Wentworth, Sunningdale, Woodhall Spa. Show me a better parkland course than this. It is exceptional and you just can't believe its a young course. Its carved out of the woods with great quality undulating fairways and beautiful greens. Get there if you can play it. This course will be famous. And you heard it here first!
July 03, 2006
10 / 10
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Tarby
If you like tree lined fairways you'll love this course. Tough approach shots into the greens made all the more difficult due to the undulations in the fairways. Better players will probably perfer this course to the Melbourne. There are more hills on this course than the Melbourne so if you are lucky enough to play both courses in one day, play the Palmerston first and enjoy a more leisurely game on the Melbourne in the afternoon. One word sums up the Palmerston however: Quality.
April 27, 2005
8 / 10
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Andy
Billed as the second and newer course at Brocket but this could easily be the pick of the two for some. Very Woburnesque in places (which is always a plus point) and also very fair. Undulating fairways of Augusta proportions make the buggy option the best way to get around. The par 5 6th is a cracker of a hole, treelined dog-legging left to a raised green. There are many ‘wow’ holes on the course that will stay in your mind for years - Playing golf Brocket Hall is a treat of the highest order.
April 20, 2005
6 / 10
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Hugh
Why do I like it so much? For a start it is in a beautiful setting - some holes lined by majestic pine trees, or mature beech, hornbeam and sweet chestnuts, and others with commanding views from the high points over rolling Hertfordshire countryside and woods. Each hole is very individual and varied - uphill, downhill, dogleg right, dogleg left and only two holes on level ground. The greens are undulating and with a multitude of possible pin positions the shot on to the green is always challenging. One could never get bored playing it. And it’s a fair golf course, which will reward you when you play the right shot.
April 12, 2005
10 / 10
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