Bush Hill Park Golf Club was founded in 1895, with members playing a 9-hole course situated at Queen Anne’s Gardens in Enfield. The club was given notice in 1909 that the property was required for housing development, forcing it to relocate to the nearby Old Park Estate which was owned by Hugh Rawlinson Ford.
A new 18-hole layout opened for play on 7th June, 1913 – designed by Harry Vardon, the professional at nearby South Herts Golf Club – and both the grounds and clubhouse were purchased in 1922 for £20,000. James Braid was called in to remodel the layout in 1933, with the local paper reporting that “various improvements” were implemented and “two new holes were made.”
In the book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses, authors John F. Moreton and Iain Cumming write: “The only real changes since then involve new 1st and 7th holes, and the removal of Vardon/Braid’s 10th and 18th, all short holes… Holes 1 to 12 are ‘normal’ holes, but holes 13 to 18 are on a fast descending/ascending, wooded piece of land, a wonderfully old-fashioned, tight sextet of holes.”
The local county council offered £70,000 for the course and the clubhouse in 1939, but World War II intervened and the transaction was never finalised. During the war, the clubhouse was leased to the Anti-Aircraft Brigade and ditches were dug on parts of the course to deter enemy aircraft landing. The Home Guard patrolled the course and a warden’s post and air raid shelter were also built.
The modern day layout extends to a modest 5,776 yards from the back tees but length isn’t the most potent protector of par at Bush Hill Park. The tree-lined fairways are narrow here so if you’re prone to spray the ball wide off the tee or you’re careless with approach shots to the greens then you’ll have a hard job trying to match the par of 70.
As earlier indicated, fairways laid out on the first two thirds of the course occupy a mildly undulating landscape, while the last six holes – three of which are par threes – are routed around more heavily contoured terrain to the south of the historic clubhouse and they offer golfers a thrilling, fun-filled finish to the round.
Notable holes on the course include a couple of short par fours at the 4th and 14th (both are eminently birdieable); the longest par five on the card at the 6th (rated stroke index 1, it doglegs right to a bunkerless green); and the signature hole 13th, where the putting surface sits behind a pond that slants across the fairway on a diagonal line from right to left.