The opening of the exclusive Centurion Club on July 1st 2013 was a surprising event. Very few private clubs have opened during recent tough economic times and there is no shortage of golf clubs in this saturated golfing area to the north of London.
Simon Gidman, formerly an assistant of the Hawtree design team, was chosen by the Centurion owners to fashion the exclusive golf course. The Centurion management decided not to pay the design fees associated with a big named architect and chose instead a relatively unknown designer with a modest portfolio.
The Centurion Club is located to the west of St Albans in rural Hertfordshire countryside and we were invited to play the course shortly after its official opening.
With woodland flanking the first five holes, there’s a feeling of maturity from the off and there’s more than a passing resemblance on these early holes to those located at nearby Brocket Hall and a few miles further north at Woburn. There’s an open country feel at 6 and 8 though 13 (reminiscent of the London Club) and from 14 to 18 you are transported to Grove-like holes.
Donald Ross thought that “variety is the spice of golf, just as it is in life” and so, if you seek variation and you have a few spare pounds in your pocket, then the Centurion Club may be for you. However, if you want to experience an exciting new golf course but don’t want to join, you’d better start looking right away for a friendly Centurion member to sign you in.
The inaugural Golf Sixes event in 2017 concluded with Denmark winning the final against Australia on the closing green. Centurion Club also staged the 2018 tournament (won by Ireland) before the event relocated to Oitavos Dunes.
Groundbreaking again, Centurion Club hosted the first of four stages of the Aramco Team Series – the first team event of its kind on any professional golf tour – when three female professionals team up with an amateur. In London's team event Olivia Cowan led her team to victory while Marianne Skarpnord won the individual title. The unique series spans three continents with tournaments in London (Centurion Club), Sotogrande (La Reserva), New York (Glen Oaks) and Jeddah (Royal Greens).
Clubhouse is very nice and staff welcoming. Pro shop was virtually sold out as they had just had big ladies tour event. Food was excellent. Course starts off really well with tree lined holes and then it open up. I feel it needs time to grow and in time it will improve but for me it wasn't as good as expected.
A fantastic course - beautiful, challenging, rewarding, and a lovely atmosphere. But what is going on with the bunkers? Far from good enough for a course of this quality. As if someone stole the sand. Needs urgent fixing!
I played Centurion as a guest last week. The tee boxes, fairways and greens were in very good condition, but the bunkers really let the course down. Such a shame for such a good course.
I have been hoping to play this course a few years now after previously visiting for dinner and catching a glimpse of what looked at the time a beautiful course. The exclusivity of the venue is apparent from the moment you reach the gated entrance. The club house is immaculate as was the course. The course plays long with plenty of par 5s. I have to say one of my favourite courses for sure in England.
I really enjoyed my day there. As people have said its a tale of two courses with a treelined first few holes then opening out. Good condition even for the time of year with a few wet patches but good greens and bunkers. Clubhouse is modern as expected with a nice outdoor and canopied area.
Centurion is a weird one for me. I think it lacks an identity with the first 5 holes being in a heavy forest like Woburn (with the exception of the approach into 4). The remaining holes are extremely open like The Oxforshire, with no trees in play.
It's a championship layout, with too many tee boxes for my liking, and it's long almost just for the sake of it. The condition is great, and there are some really good holes (2 7 17 come to mind). The clubhouse is very nice, but it lacks atmosphere.
If you're into resort courses like Celtic Manor and The Grove then you'll probably like it, but it's not my cup of tea.
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The Centurion Club is a relatively new private members club in Hertfordshire. The facilities are excellent, great clubhouse and nice practice facilities…The course starts off with 5 nice holes threaded through the trees giving a feel of Woburn. The 3rd is the highlight in my opinion a longish dogleg right par 4 that requires length and accuracy from the tee to give you the opportunity to reach the well contoured green. From hole 6 onwards the course opens up a little and instead of trees framing the fairways the holes are divided by man made dunes. These holes are ok but not overly memorable until you reach 14 a cracking par 3 set in amongst the trees. 15 is long par 5 back up the hill before you reach 16 a long downhill par 4. The par 3 17th is a short par 3 played over water although it is a shame the water does not come into play. 18 is long par 5 also slightly uphill playing in the same direction as 15…if you hit a decent tee shot you can reach this green in two although water on the right awaits the miss struck approach. I have played The Centurion on a number of occasions and the conditioning has always been good as has the service and welcome…I would happily return here when the invite presents itself.
Centurion is a well routed and well conditioned golf course, with excellent practice facilities and the meanest sausage sandwich you’ve ever tasted.
The first 5 holes have a distinct heathland feel with fairways framed by tall, majestic pines and cleverly contoured greens that keep birdies off the card.
The aesthetic then changes somewhat and becomes more downland in style. Something I found quite unusual at first, but one I appreciate the more I play it.
As you move into the stretch of holes from 7-13, each hole is framed not by pines but by the natural contours of the land. Humps, bumps and hollows all come into play along with some well positioned bunkers and water hazards. In some ways, this part of the course feels a little like the Grove.
The course closes with three great holes, including the signature par 5 18th which plays over water to the green. It gives the golfer a risk / reward option: lay up short or hit the 3 wood.
For those old enough to remember Tin Cup, there’s only ever one option...
Had a lovely (albeit chilly) round at the Centurion Club on 21/11/2019.
Felt very privileged to have the course to ourselves.
The course was in very good condition, despite the recent heavy rainfall. There were a couple of fairways that were sodden, but that was not in any way, the ground staff fault!
Greens were tricky, and the first five holes especially, were picturesque. A lovely finishing hole in front of the clubhouse too!
Staff were friendly and helpful, and we were made to feel very welcome. Overall, if you get the chance to play here, then do it.... you won’t be disappointed!
I was lucky to play here as a guest of a member, and will hopefully return as its a wonderful place to play golf.
If you get the chance to play, do it..! From the outside people will disregard it as a new modern course with a private/exclusive membership, but I can easily say I've never felt so welcome at a golf club before. No silly dress codes or rules, an incredibly relaxed atmosphere and members who are passionate about their club. Many places can learn from Centurion on how to run a club in the modern day.
As for the course itself, it starts with 5 holes through the trees which are really high quality. The 1st and 4th are reachable par 5's (with 2 very good hits), the second is a delightful par 3 with an interesting green providing tiers and undulation. The course opens up from the 6th hole and mixes some great vistas, nice driving holes and some fantastic second shot approaches.
After 13, it's back briefly into the trees for a stunning par 3 (favourite short hole on the course) and a great finish with some tough holes. The 18th is a cracking par 5 to finish in front of the modern clubhouse.
There are not many places in the UK that have the mix which Centurion does, a top class course and facilities, almost hotel like service and a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. Bearwood Lakes, The Wisley and The Grove provide obvious comparisons and it is great to see that not all top100 courses need history and lunch with a tweed jacket.