Established in 1910, Denham Golf Club enlisted the services of Harry Colt to lay out a course for members and these 18 holes opened for play the following year. Unusually, the clubhouse was fashioned from a 16th century tithe barn and farmhouse and this rustic old structure adds greatly to the charm and ambience of the place.
Another interesting aspect to the infrastructure at Denham is the railway station beside the course – a bit like Prestwick in Scotland or Aberdovey in Wales – where golfers can alight the train at Denham Golf Club Station on the Chiltern line from Marylebone then cross the 11th fairway to the clubhouse.
There’s nothing spectacular or awe-inspiring about Denham; it’s just an honest, solid parkland track that delivers a challenging, engaging game for members and visitors alike.
With only two par fives on the scorecard (back-to-back at holes 13 and 14), the strength of the course is found amongst its dozen par fours, particularly the 7th on the front nine and the 15th on the inward half.
Donald Steel – a long-standing member at Denham Golf Club – reckons it is the perfect model for any club, saying that “at the heart is the imperishable hallmark of a Harry Colt golf course and a unique farmhouse-style clubhouse but, equally as important, is a vibrant membership that appreciates both. On a personal note, you only have one Home Club and Denham has been mine for over sixty years. Never would I have traded it for any other”.
An impeccably conditioned course and a standout for this area, Denham surpassed my expectations from other reviews here.
The maintenance here in August was superb; not a poor fairway lie all day and the greens were a fiendish joy to putt on. The rough adds excellent framing and whilst we lost a ball or two, it is kept manageable vs other tracks where a visit to the rough can be instant lost ball.
The course throws up some great surprises. Semi-blind tee shots on 2 and 4 yield to intricate second shots (don’t be fooled by the bunkers 70 yards short of 4 which mess with depth perception). 10 looks a straightforward 2nd but after pulling mine left, I then ran through the back of the lightning fast green and ended with a 6. It is a course that nudges you offline and into tricky spots without feeling overly punitive.
11 and 12 are standouts but 7, 8 and 16 also great. The only two holes I found a bit bland were 13/14 the two par 5s and 9 is overly long.
Having played nearby Moor Park and Berkhamsted recently, I put Denham well ahead of both for interest, condition and intrigue.
My last visit to Denham was at least 25 years ago, when those IT supplier golf days were aplenty, and Denham was part of that rota to host them. In those days my scoring was more important to me than the courses, nowadays a complete turnaround with the focus now on course design and golfer’s opinions of them. Denham is a traditional club that is working hard to embrace the modern world at the same time, which must be applauded. I enjoyed the course this summer and hope to play again soon.
The course opens with four par-4’s with the 2nd the pick of these; 379 yards dog-legging to the right. Holes 3 and 4 play alongside the Denham Aerodrome and the windsock is a useful aid to help with the approach shots – great Harry Colt cross bunkering 100 yards out on the 4th.
The 6th is a strong hole; a par-4 under 400 yards, turning a little right, a scattering of well-placed bunkers and a green with subtle borrows that can make you look foolish if putting from the rear of the green.
The 8th is my favourite par-3 on the front nine – 187 yards with bunkers short and all around the left-side of the green – if you can hit just inside of these bunkers, the ball does feed down towards the green.
Approaching the 11th is great fun – another par-4 under 400 yards but the shot to the green (ideally from the right of the fairway) is from way up high to a green with great bunker protection. The very next hole is likely to be the most memorable on the course; the shortest par-3 at only 135 yards with a slightly raised long green and more strong bunkering – simple tip here is to hit the green – recovery skills of Seve required from the lower ground on the right if missing on this side.
The 15th at 417 yards is a strong par-4 and the step in the green put a premium on hitting the perfect distance on what will be a fairly long approach for most.
The penultimate hole is just 354 yards and the downhill tee shot is key; aim slightly right of centre and play to about 210 yards is the best advice. The approach will be steeply uphill to a green with four bunkers protecting and a heavily contoured green, mainly sloping back to front – four is a very good score here.
The closing holes on both nines are strong but as an observation are a little similar to each other for me; both over 400 yards and not reachable in two for many golfers. Good holes but as I say, very alike in my opinion.
Really enjoyed the return to Denham this year and a better course than I vaguely remember from my games there in the 90’s – a traditional members club that is moving in the right direction in terms of modern ideas – there is a lot to like about here as a member or a visitor and well worth a visit - #9 in county is a little low in the rankings.
A classic Colt design, with all of the subtleties you would expect. After the driveable par 4 1st hole, hold on for the next 10 holes, including two challenging long par 3s, then make your score from 12 onwards. The 12th is a wonderful short par 3 over a ravine, before two fairly reachable par 5s. The 15th and 16th are the only real changes from the original Colt design, but we are left with a challenging par 4, and a short, but testing par 3 16th.
As you walk down the 18th fairway, where a tee shoft left will be blocked out and right may bounce away to the trees, you can look forward to a drink and lunch in the 16th century clubhouse, the best is yet to come.
Denham is a traditional private members golf club tucked away in Buckinghamshire countryside where you will find a lovely parkland layout.
The course was constructed in 1910, opened for play the following year and was the handiwork of Harry Colt. At the request of the Club a railway station, called Denham Golf Club, was opened in 1912 and continues in operation today – it is located just across the 11th fairway and only a few minutes walk from the charming 16th Century clubhouse.
Laid out in two loops, both starting from the clubhouse, the opening and closing holes of both halves do nothing to set the pulse racing but the middle section of each nine contains some very enjoyable golf. Aviation enthusiasts will also enjoy the regular comings and goings from Denham Airfield which borders the third fairway.
Denham is certainly a fine club with a good golf course but despite being in excellent condition the midweek green-fee of £60 is a difficult one to justify although a twilight rate is available after 4pm and would certainly make Denham worth a visit.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Denham is definitely NOT a Phil Collins course… jackets are required in the dining room and it was a struggle to get them to lift the jacket concession on the hot summer’s day I played here… Phew talk about sweaty. The course itself is a little belter and has all the ups and downs and Colt design trademarks that any golf course aficionado could wish for. It’s a classic lie-of-the-land course with the par three 12th my pick of the holes – a brilliant table-edged uphill par three with quirky steps up to the green on the right side. The par 34 front nine is not as entertaining as the back as there are seven P4’s and two P3’s on the front while the back is a more conventional and varied 5-2-2 configuration. Denham has something lacking IMO, it failed to get my pulse racing but I enjoyed the walk in the park more than I enjoyed the infernal buzzing of the light aeroplanes that seem to be perpetually taking off and landing at the adjacent Denham Aerodrome.