The Grove does seem to attract a wide range of views including many positive mentions of the customer service. However, I visit a course for the golf, and I don’t think I’m alone in that respect. The course design makes good use of a mildly interesting plot of land. The changes in elevation are used in such a way to not make it too much of a slog when walking. I can only agree with those who think that the Grove fails to offer sufficient challenge from the tee. The 15th with its old-fashioned mounding covered in rough on the left side is one of the few examples of a strategic choice off the tee, while the 14th is a good example of a shortish par four infused with great subtlety. The green complexes are the best aspect of the course. They are a little contrived in places, as some need to be, given their less promising sites. Others use the natural contours well (the 7th and 16th). Some greens even allow for the choice between aerial or running approach and the first-time player is not overly disadvantaged if approaching from the wrong side of the fairway. At the end of September 2011 and with some top dressing the greens ran true, at good pace with some subtle breaks. The overall level of maintenance and presentation is high and the course does have some memorable holes which for me included the 3rd, 4th, 14th and 15th. However, for the almost £100 green fee surely golfers have the right to expect more. To charge extra for range balls at that price comes across as being cheap. As others have suggested here, it will be interesting to see how The Grove fares in a weak consumer economy. Overall, it didn’t really inspire or antagonize me either way.
Date: October 01, 2011