Enfield Golf Club was founded in 1893 when a 9-hole course was laid out for the members in the Middlesex countryside to the north of London. It’s not known who designed the original layout, but ten years after it was fashioned, the club decided to call in James Braid to extend the course from nine to eighteen holes.
Braid, who was working at nearby Romford, was at the height of his playing powers, having just won The Open the previous year at Muirfield in 1901, but he was also taking the first few steps in his golf course design career, advising half a dozen clubs in the counties of Essex, Suffolk and Sussex.
The new 18-hole Enfield course opened for play in April of 1903, followed shortly after by a competition for invited professional players. Braid set a course record of 78 in a qualifying round, then beat J.H. Taylor in his semi-final match play tie before losing in the final to Harry Vardon.
Twenty-five years later (by which time Braid had collected another four Open titles among many other championship wins) he was called back in to remodel the course when the sale of some land resulted in the loss of two of the longest holes. The course in play today is basically the one that Braid completed in 1929.
“Enfield is a course with an old-fashioned feel to it,” wrote authors John F. Moreton and Iain Cumming in their book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses. “The brook affects eight holes, the land is undulating, and steeply up and down, the greens are often on slopes and the bunkering is testing.”
Extending to 6,154 yards from the back markers, the course isn’t overly long. The back nine plays 450 yards shorter than the outward half, due largely to the three short par four holes at the 11th, 16th and 18th. The tree-lined fairways fit rather neatly into a compact property, with every inch of available land utilised.
Notable holes include the 390-yard 5th, rated stroke index 2, which plays uphill to the green and the 476-yard 9th, where big hitters might choose to take on Salmon’s Brook from the tee. On the back nine, this threatening water hazard also presents itself in front of the green at the downhill 14th, the final par three on the scorecard.
Ive played Enfield a few times over the years, happy to see its been added to top100 as it is a gem. Well kept course with some really getable holes that make risk and reward really come into play.
Another course I played a number of times in my youth (quite a while ago now) but remember little from back then. I have returned recently and really enjoyed the course and that can certainly be called charming. The look and the feel of Enfield is similar to the many other courses not too far away – north London/south Herts. is an extremely congested place for parkland golf and the area south of the M25 (J23-J25) gives plenty of options, which is great with so much demand right now.
Enfield is a James Braid design going way back to 1893 and as mentioned, whilst not ever going to be a big hitter in terms of rankings, the course and the club has plenty going for it and I will be back soon as playing here is a lot fun.
A couple of negatives would be that some of the fairway bunkering is in need of a facelift as over time the traps have become a little dated and need a stronger modern look. The bunker upgrade program has started and the first evidence is at the 13th – the bunker front left of the green has set the standard – just now need the time to continue with the rest of the course.
The other thing would be that in places a little TLC is needed; quite an unsightly service path/road in between the opening and closing holes is not great on the eye either. Now the positives: -
A start of par-4, par-5 and par-3 is a great way to begin any round as the variety is obvious and you are likely to be able to use a number of different clubs early; for these three holes I used six clubs plus the putter – a perfect foundation to the rest of the round.
Enfield’s par-3’s are exceptional; all what you may call manageable lengths at 148, 131, 185 and 164 yards – scorable for all and you are likely to use 4 different clubs too. The shortest of these is the 6th and it at the furthest point from the clubhouse – really it is nothing more than a flick but such a pretty hole with a green surrounded by bunkers.
You then walk nearly a mile in a straight-line playing holes 7-9 as you make your way back in the direction of the clubhouse – good solid holes.
If the club are ever looking at a name change, they could do no worse than re-naming to “Salmons’ Brook” as this brook is crossed on no less than eight holes on the course and just maybe, this name would just add to the charm – just a thought.
Back-9 holes of note include the par-3 14th, called ‘Island’ – downhill across the brook to a long green – a joy to play this hole. The 16th hole is the short par-4 all courses should have, this is a severe dog-leg to the right and for some is reachable but the risk/reward is not an equal balance, so the play is mid-iron to the corner and wedge it close.
This is a typical parkland course that is common in this part of the world and sometimes it can be difficult to stand-out – I think Enfield definitely competes with a number of plus points including the greens and approaches being in first class condition and the attention to detail in these key areas is obvious.
Lots to enjoy at Enfield Golf Club and a lot of good people doing a grand job here, plus plenty of clubhouse updates going on right now too, which will make the full visitor experience even better. I look forward to coming back soon.