I have been fortunate enough to play a number of parkland American-style courses this summer, including The London Club, The Grove, Brocket Hall and Bearwood Lakes and yesterday I played Chart Hills for the first time. This was by far my favourite as the whole experience felt more personal than corporate, and the course seemed to have more character. On arrival the staff were extremely warm and friendly and the club house was very well presented. It somehow managed to give a traditional members club feel despite being a modern design. We played off the blue tees but with a strong wind and no run on the ball this was a stern enough test off a 5 handicap. The condition of the course was very good and despite having 180 bunkers the maintenance of the bunkers, greens and tees was impeccable. The architecture of the holes makes the course hard but fair, good shots were certainly rewarded and bad shots nearly always punished. With so many bunkers, any misplaced approach shots invariably ended up in the sand. The bonus was that the bunkers weren’t over or under sanded, so as long as you hit a good shot you got a good result. The holes were very varied and required a number of different shot types. Most offered reasonable chances to putt for a birdie if played well. The most memorable for me was the 14th - the 380 yd par 4 offers a classic risk reward, with a carry of around 240 yards to fly the water leaving a clear path to the green, or lay up to 220 to leave a difficult uphill approach shot over an array of bunkers. A thinking man’s hole! I don’t think I would tire of playing Chart Hills, and I don’t think I would ever run out of new bunkers to find myself in! A truly memorable experience and highly recommended. Worth noting that Leaderboard golf offers a package to stay at the nearby Dale Hill and play both courses which is a treat well worth considering if coming from far afield.
Date: September 15, 2010