The Grove - Hertfordshire - England

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


  • +44 (0) 1923 294266


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. Never happy to rest on laurels, The Grove’s greenkeeping team (in consultation with Kyle Phillips and his shaping specialist Theo Travis) completed a renovation of all 90 bunkers in June 2020.

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Reviews for The Grove

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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: 6.3 out of 10 Reviews: 52
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Graham Whitworth
I really don’t understand what all the fuss is about regarding the Grove and think this place is massively over hyped and overrated. I first played here 3 years ago, shortly after it first opened and yes I was initially impressed and thought the fairways were immaculate and the greens were amongst the best I had ever played on. However, having recently returned, I was appalled at the condition of the course and my recent trip gave me the opportunity to refresh my memory of the course itself and I was left feeling utterly uninspired by it.Firstly, the condition of the course was nothing short of atrocious. A considerable amount of the fairways were covered in “GUR” and the greens were slow and covered in pitchmarks and sand. This was a disgrace considering the £135 green fee, and the condition of the course perhaps symptomatic of the fact that it is not a members golf club. The people that use the course are predominantly made up of corporate hackers and so clearly don’t care too much about repairing any of the damage they cause. Secondly, I think there are very few memorable holes, other than the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 17th and 18th. It may be long, but there is so much room for error here and so little punishment for bad shots, again symptomatic of the corporate market it is catering for and, like many American designed courses, especially where tournament golf is concerned, low scores and forgiveness are the priority, rather than providing a real and testing challenge.On the positive side of things, yes, you can’t fault the practice facilities or the hospitality and service levels of the staff. But, overall, and I know this is a controversial view when compared to many of the other opinions of this website, I think this place lacks charm, character and atmosphere and is nothing more than a good place to go if you are attending a business conference with some golf attached as part of the day. It certainly isn’t worth going out of your way to play.
April 14, 2008
1 / 10
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P M
August 20, 2008
I must concur with this. I went there recently to play with my father who had requested this as a present (albeit an expensive one). The state of the course was uttely appalling, the play was too slow, waiting on every shot and sometime 3 on a hole - the marshalls were no help. I felt that I could have gone somewhere else paid less and had a better day.
Simon
November 19, 2009
You were unfortunate to play the course at the time you did, I played there 31st Oct 2009 and the course condition was unbelievable. Best greens I have ever played on, fairways were better than most greens I've played on and the pace of play was fine (4.5hrs with a 4 ball). I would recommend heading back there if you get the chance, I sincerely couldn't fault anything about the place.
Peter
November 23, 2009
I don't think that 41/2 hours for a 4 ball is acceptable!
sandeep
August 05, 2010
i concur, just played there twice in the last 2 weeks, and its in sensational condition.
mike christie

on my first visit i was impressed. on my return i was blown away with condition of the course and the all round improvement. it must have the best fairways and greens in england.

January 24, 2008
8 / 10
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Alex Deutsch

A wonderful course with a great English feel. I played the course back in late March and must say that it was truly a success. The course is kept in immaculate condition, with perfect greens, beautiful fairways, and neat bunkering. As far as new courses go, it is the top, and definitely possesses the charm of an older, longer-established club. The course was quite beautiful, and its March state was just as good as many courses are now in June. If you are in the London area, this is certainly a must-play, as you have a splendidly designed course in a beautiful setting, up-kept perfectly, and the staff couldn’t be friendlier. Many little things that the resort does to welcome the golfer are great, as they provide you with yardage book, bag-tag, following the pattern of American resort courses. In addition, if you don’t have your clubs with you don’t worry: their rentals are X-20’s! This was overall a terrific experience and should definitely be on everybody’s must-play list.

June 12, 2007
8 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
My third playing visit to the Grove left me feeling suitably impressed that the course continues to improve as it matures. The 2006 AmEx event was a brilliant success and the script seemed to be pre-written; it was the week after the Ryder Cup and also another win for Tiger (who was 7 under par for the final hole alone that week). This has now projected the Grove to be known as a great course and venue around the world. The greens really are as good the tour pros said last year and it must be impossible to better them anywhere in Europe – they are fast and true and all good putts will be rewarded. The 5th and 10th are great par 4’s (not long but quality). Lasting memories are of great greens that are sited with brilliant undulation with plenty of run-offs and a course that stands-up during the English winter. Just a couple of downs for me (and not related to the course) – the dress code on-course seems to be non-existent, which feels strange and also beware the Grove is not a cheap place to eat and drink…
March 06, 2007
8 / 10
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grahamewebb
Played 30th December and paid £100. Must say initial impressions of club house were very good. Met by extremely friendly and helpful staff - the full valet experience (ok, so maybe one expects that for a oner, but they were very courteous).Course given a lot of overnight rain was in very good condition, tees solid, greens although slightly spider'd in places, were excellent and ran true.3rd sticks in the mind and the par 3s are an excellent mix with none of this silly 200+ yards length (from the Grove tees anyway!) . Some good 400 + par 4s too which played long, but that's what you expect, and want, on a course that hosted WGC.Good for mid to high handicapper as well as plenty of room, although the rough was wet and muddy in places which make it tough to advance further.Drinks were vastly overpriced (over £4 for a coke!) but facilities otherwise excellent - showers/lockers etc.All in all a great day and I think at £100 it's ok - I wouldn't want to pay anymore.
December 30, 2006
8 / 10
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Tim Reed
Played a couple of weeks after the WGC. Fortunately I was not paying, as £580 for three green fees and two buggies was plenty. The condition of the course was exceptional. The fairways were the best I have experienced in the UK and the greens were lightening fast. The rough was unbearable and meant a good search every time a ball went in to it. The clubhouse was very luxurious and very very expensive. you must go at least once
November 24, 2006
8 / 10
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Nick Roy
Overrated, overpriced, overplayed...an average golf course..painfully slow to play at the weekend...It is featureless...& tries to make up for this with the long rough. facilities are more leisure centre than luxury...a club & course with no personality. dont waste your money...go and play the West or East course at Wentworth
November 22, 2006
2 / 10
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Hugh
November 24, 2006
Played The Grove just after the World Golf Championships for the 4th time just to see if they could improve on the incredible conditioning... and it was amazing. We've always managed to get round in four and a bit hours and that it with a stop off at the halfway house. The Grove is a totally different prospect to Wentworth. If you want excellent tee to green conditioning a decent service the Grove is hard to beat.
J M Frew
A fine course, well prepared and in excellent condition. I have the played the course a couple of times now and each time becomes more enjoyable as you work out the do's and defintely don'ts of the course. I particularly like hole 4 where if you opt for safety leaves a daunting chip and 15 where you play up a series of steps in the fairway and the pin position was clearly an April fools trick from the greenkeepers...As it matures and the trees get bigger, the views will improve and it will become softer and a more relaxing place to be.
April 07, 2006
8 / 10
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barry moulder
Having played here in January I cannot praise this place high enough, the £100 green fee is quite pricey, but if you can afford it there should be no other place in Southern England that can match it. The service is immaculate and you are made to feel like royalty by the excellent staff, and the course was in amazing condition, I cant think of a course I have played in the summer that could match the course condition here in the winter, and that includes places like Wentworth and Sunningdale. We played the course from the back tees and although quite open it certainly is long enough, over 7000 yards. The design, like Kingsbarns is subtle but the greens and bunkering is first rate. I feel it is testament to the Grove that it is hosting the WGC and believe it is the rising star of UK golf courses. From parking up to going home this place is pure golf heaven.
April 01, 2006
10 / 10
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Hugh

Played here a couple of weeks ago and I was impressed. It's a lot of money for sure but they do look after you. The turf on the greens, tees and fairways is faultless - the Grove has to be one of the best winter courses around. Goodness knows how much they spent on sand and drainage. We played it from the medal tees (we were all reasonable high single figure handicappers) and we found it relatively straight forward. I wonder whether the pros will eat it up? Liked the natty half-way house which looks exactly like a house...amazing...shame about the price and quality of the food. Nevertheless a good course. I do get the feeling that the course was laid down to accompany the hotel and leisure facilities, rather than finding a decent site for a golf course and then building a hotel/country club. Having said this, Kyle Phillips has worked a minor miracle with with ordinary land.

November 19, 2004
6 / 10
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