The Grove - Hertfordshire - England

The Grove,
Chandler's Cross,
Hertfordshire,
WD3 4TG,
England


  • +44 (0) 1923 294266


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Grove

The Grove is one of the newest and most enterprising golf course projects recently undertaken in England. Designed by Kyle Phillips (the man behind Kingsbarns), the course opened for play in September 2003 to rave reviews and it's already considered by some to be the best course inside the M25. This is not your typical golf club. In fact, it isn’t a golf club at all – it’s a pay-and-play golf course open to everyone.

More than a decade on, it's a venture that seems successful. It was hard to imagine a course (and the facilities) of this quality without a club and associated members attached. The Grove has certainly attracted many pay-and-play guests and, what's more, they all receive an exceptionally friendly welcome. All the staff are focused on customer service and they will do their level best to cater for your every whim.

We played here first in mid January 2004 and we were staggered. Despite all the rain, the overall condition of the course was outstanding. We’ll actually go as far as to say that the Grove’s overall mid-winter state is better than the condition that many top courses achieve in late spring.

When you drive up the private road towards the “resort”, your first impression might be that you’ve arrived at a new upmarket municipal. The land itself appears uninspiring, fairly open, a few undulations but nothing much else. However, when you get out on the course itself, you immediately appreciate the quality and you quickly begin to acknowledge the design. Phillips has done a neat job, using the natural contours of the land in an understated way to create a discerning golf course. No doubt the Levy brothers, owners of the Grove, were delighted to host the 2006 World Golf Championships... this was the first time that the American Express event visited Britain and a certain Tiger dominated the field to claim the 2006 title.

Here's what Ernie Els had to say about The Grove after the 2006 WGC: "I loved The Grove. Let me tell you, it is very, very impressive. I would say it's the best-conditioned golf course in Europe, certainly from my experience. Everything was perfect; the course is great, the tees, fairways and greens were incredibly manicured and the practice facilities were amazing. And the food we had at the club all week was magnificent. This was the benchmark for how a tournament should be. It was that good."

Four large teeing areas on each and every hole cater for all golfing standards. Measuring a hefty 7,150 yards from the back tees to a leisurely 5,500 yards from the front tees. The raised undulating greens are simply fantastic, very fast and very true. There are no excuses for three putting here. However, if you miss the green with your approach shot, you can be faced with some very tricky recovery chip shots. The fairways are thickly grassed and very lush; the ball seems to sit proudly on top, giving the handicap golfer loads of confidence and every chance to make clean contact with the ball.

The Grove is certainly a course for the cognoscenti and it was back in the spotlight in October 2016 for the Luke Donald-hosted British Masters, which Sweden's Alex Noren won by two shots from Austria's Bernd Wiesberger.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for The Grove

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Kyle Philips has done a neat job, using the natural contours of the land in an understated way to create The Grove...a discerning golf course. Rating: 6.7 out of 10 Reviews: 43
TaylorMade
Ed Battye

The Grove is by far and away the best modern inland golf course I have had the pleasure to play.

That doesn’t necessarily make it one of my personal favourites – give me a quirky links or a firm and fast heathland any day – but there is a lot to admire about this Kyle Philips designed layout which opened for play in 2003.

What separates The Grove from other newer courses is primarily the contouring around the greens.

There is great interest added by the many slopes, run-offs and raised putting surfaces that merge nicely into the rolling landscape. Some of the best green complexes can be found at the fifth, seventh, 12th and 17th. You could drop a dozen balls and spend several hours just chipping and putting to these holes and never get bored.

The green contouring effects play on your approach shots unlike I have seen on other similar courses and should you miss the green your imagination and creativity will be called upon in spades. You are usually left with a number of options as to how to play your pitch or chip and this is something I find particularly appealing on any type of golf course.

The pronounced fairway contours are also a welcome change from many other courses of this genre. It is bold and free-flowing as Philips has tried to imitate the undulating linksland that he has done so well at the manufactured Kingsbarns Links in Scotland. It works well at The Grove, however, no matter how well this attempted reproduction is done it’s impossible to create the natural humps and bumps that Mother Nature has harvested at seaside courses.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

May 04, 2017
7 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

David Oliver

The architect has done an excellent job on land which is not the best golfing terrain, although there is a proliferation of dog leg left holes on the back 9, which gives a feeling of sameness. I was lucky enough to turn up without notice and get paired with a pro and it was fascinating to see first hand what a different challenge courses are when someone is consistently 290 off the tee (not much of a challenge at all really !). Gentle start which is good design feature. 2nd is strong par 4 with an interesting green complex. Not keen on the large pond at 3. Excellent par 3, , 4th with stream guarding the front. 5th strong par 4 moving to the right. Par 5, 6th is a lovely hole which also moves to the right. 7 is a wedge par 3 which gives good variation on what is a long course. The 8th and 9th holes are my least favourite and feel too “open” and immature (harsh maybe as it is a new course). 10 is an excellent short par 4, abrupt dog leg left. 11 is another dog leg left but a good hole. 12 is just a brute of a par 4. 13 is a downhill par 3 which is very scenic and allows some run onto the green. 14 and 15 are both dogleg left par 4s which are “ok” holes. 16 is a decent par 3. The 17th is an outstanding par 5 with a great approach to the green - classic Kyle Phillips, just a beautiful hole. 18 is a mega tough par 4 finish, very much a tournament finish. Tough ! Overall, a good solid golf course, which is designed for tournament play.

May 04, 2017
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

Andy
I have played here several times over the last ten years and always have a really good day, I enjoy the course and go home with a smile on my face but there is always a little bit of me that is a bit critical but my problems are nothing to do with the course but just the price of everything off of the course. This is a 5-star operation, with 5* prices but in saying that on and off the course it is always busy, so for that reason The Grove has to be seen as a success story. This is a modern looking course with plenty of variety all around; the stand-out observations are the green sites,Grove Golf Course - Photo by reviewer the green side bunkering and the run-off areas that are as good as anything in the country. Presentation and conditioning are near perfect. The first 'big hole' is the SI-1 par-4 3rd (anywhere from 342-446 yards) - bunkers at landing point on the left and the lake starting at 65 yards short and hugging the left of the green make this a super strong hole. The 8th hole is of similar length as the 3rd, dog legging to the right and bunkers on both edges of the fairway protecting. Three more bunkers short of the green plus a severe run off to the left; a measly SI of 13, does not reflect how tough the hole is. The back nine in my opinion is stronger with more interesting holes, including the opener on this nine; a short severe dog-legging par-4 with great protection. The par-4 12th is a tough hole at around 430 yards with a clever false front and a fantastic run-off at the back. The 18th is a big hole too, an inviting drive to a wide fairway but the 2nd shot to this 435 yard par-4 is where there is work to be done as the green is slightly raised with yet more brilliant run-offs. I would say that the course in 2015 is in its best shape since opening. The Grove, it is not cheap but it is very good indeed.
August 10, 2015
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
3 people found this review helpful

Dan Hare
Growing up locally I remember when the plot was a British Rail training college, so they have done a great job fashioning a quality course from a somewhat bland plot of land compared to the nearby and highly recommended West Herts (Cassiobury). The holes in the woods and along the Great Union Canal are great fun, and the greens are a great advert for USGA standards for inland courses being firm and fast. However, the very planned tee boxes and slightly underwhelming land reminded me unfortunately of the PGA Centenary at Gleneagles - a very good game of golf, but it's missing the fun factor.
July 08, 2015
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

Tom Sleater
Played on Friday in quite a nice 5hr window of good weather. The front nine was somewhat ruined by some hackers slowing up the course - but the marshall respomded very quickly and held them at the halfway hut. Course wise, the greens are very good, the design is pretty good (its pretty much in watford -so only so much picasso can do with a biro) and service is excellent. But the price does not match up to the golf course the grove thinks it is. That said if you can have a nice game off golf here - but its bling before ping. To me Hertfordhsire has some wonderful courses - Moor Park, Brocket Hall, Ashridge etc that i would easily put above the Grove.
November 11, 2013
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
3 people found this review helpful

Response
Rob
January 01, 2015
This review hits the nail squarely on the head. The Grove is essentially style over substance; whilst the service is hard to fault, the course is a bit uninspiring. If you want an excellent corporate day out (ideally paid for by someone else!) then this is it. But if its about the golf, Ashridge, Hadley Wood, Moor Park and Brocket (Palmerston) are all far better courses in Hertfordshire.
Lp
Played in a 4 ball here recently. Some people are too quick to criticise new courses. This is a cracking layout, there are some generous drives, some tight ones and excellent strategy required around the greens. The Rough is unforgiving as it should be and there are plenty of alternative tee areas to keep it playable for all handicaps. The Course was immaculate and probably the finest greens I have ever witnessed (although its a close run between the Grove and Finca Cortesin). It is a touch expensive to play at standard rate which is a shame (and why it does not acheive max rating in my opinion) but also great to have a course you can actually play at the weekend. Food in the Glasshouse is very good, and staff are exceptionally helpful and polite.
October 15, 2013
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

JamieSmith
Played here 3 times now, each time the welcome has been great. If you play here remember to get here early so you can make use of the complementary range balls and ask for your clubs to be cleaned (for free). Every time I've played this course the greens have been rapid and the condition of the course is also perfect. The most memorable holes in my opinion is the par 3 4th, the par 3, the par 3 7th, and the run in from holes 13-18 are all good. Overall great experience and one of the best courses I've played. However £180 is a lot so make sure that you use the 2 for 1 vouchers so you can play it half price.
July 24, 2013
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

paul
This is a great venue and probably the best 'young' course i've played. You need semi-deep pockets because its not cheap, but even so i felt i'd got value for money in the end ..... the course condition when i played was fantastic and its manicured golf in the extreme, not a blade of grass out of place. even though in places it lacks the maturity of older courses, the intelligent design and contours of the course make it an interesting test. Some of the holes on the back nine are a little more enjoyable and tree lined. Service as you'd expect at a 5* resort is excellent and the price of food /drink in the Stables Bar is actually very reasonable .... if you're used to the SE England cost of living. if you want a treat also try eating in their GlassHouse Buffet restaurant ..... this is top quality food and at less than £40 pp at times it is well worth it, been there a couple of times over the last year and can't fault it....
June 06, 2013
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
2 people found this review helpful

James
I played here on the back on Black Sunday competition which was very well suppported. I thoroughly enjoyed the tough pin positions and length of the course on a windy day( The SSS went to 77!) I think the course is in fabulous condition, the service is very good in all departments and the course offers a fairly unique challenge in these parts. Where it really stands out is the nature of the Green Complexes. There are deep swales and hollows and runoffs on quite a few of them that make second shots very tough and enjoyable. they made me look silly more than once and I didn't mind that as the next one was fun to play. It is in great condition and has a unique egalitarian pay and play policy. I reccomend it. Its a very interesting and attractive course. JCB LAY
October 03, 2011
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Matthew Adams
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. Grove Golf Course - Photo by reviewerThe 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.
October 01, 2011
4 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful