"Follow the cut of the fairway." I experienced a Homer Simpson 'doh' moment as Hadley Wood's general manager David Jackson pointed out the glaringly obvious in response to my question of the line to follow off the tee. It is early in my pilgrimage of England's top 100 courses and the first time I had experienced a split fairway of dark and light green with the meeting point showing the ideal line of drives. Happily, they informed me well enough to enable some confident and rewarding hitting. However, there were no such easy answers for the McKenzie-designed multi-layered greens which left me utterly bamboozled until the final knockings of a chastening round.
Usually, when I play badly, it tends to reflect on my opinion of the course - not so in the case of Hadley Wood. I was rapt by its beauty from the moment I walked towards the first tee. Frankly, previous lukewarm reviews have left me baffled.
The fairways were in tip-top shape, the greens were immaculate albeit very tricky (I heartily recommend 20 minutes practising because I didn't!) and the environment is dazzling from every angle.
David told us of the many changes he has made since becoming the youngest club manager in the country seven years ago and demonstrated his eye for detail both on the majestic track and in its surrounds. The care he and his team have taken has resulted in a course which was a total pleasure to play on a June evening.
Date: June 27, 2020