Hanbury Manor - Hertfordshire - England

Hanbury Manor Golf & CC,
Ware,
Hertfordshire,
SG12 OSD,
England


  • +44 (0) 1920 885000

  • Albert Sinfield

  • Harry Vardon, Jack Nicklaus Jr.

  • Stan Power


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Hanbury Manor

The Jacobean-style manor house was built in 1890 for the Hanbury family and in 1923, it was converted into a girls’ boarding school. It remained a school until 1986, when it was ambitiously transformed into a luxury hotel and the prestigious Hanbury Manor Golf & Country Club.

Harry Vardon originally laid out a nine-hole course in the majestic parkland grounds in the early 1900s, but it was Jack Nicklaus’s eldest son who brought the Hanbury Manor golf course back to life. Behind the manor house was an undulating piece of farmland and this was used for the addition of nine new holes and the original Vardon parkland layout was completely revised. The official opening took place in 1991, with an exhibition match between Tony Jacklin and Dave Stockton. Jack Nicklaus II was there too.

Nicklaus II has done a great job. He has used many of his father’s tricks of the trade and created an exciting golf course with double fairways and plenty of threatening water. Hanbury Manor is PGA championship standard and it plays its length, measuring over 6,660 yards from the medal tees. The two nines are distinctly contrasting, each having a completely different look and feel. The newer front nine is much more exposed, laid out on undulating land in a modern American style while the back nine feels traditionally park-like with fairways flanked by stately trees.

Hanbury Manor’s tournament potential was quickly recognised and, in 1996, Trish Johnson won the Women’s European Open by five clear shots. The following year, the Men’s PGA European Tour arrived in the shape of the English Open and the tournament remained at Hanbury Manor until 1999.

Scoring well on this demanding course is easier said than done. The 8th hole is the toughest on the course, measuring 425 yards with out-of-bounds all the way along the right hand side. The approach shot to the green is tricky, even from the middle of the fairway. The green is elevated and protected by a lake on the left and a grassy hollow to the right, the ground and the green slope cruelly towards the lake. The back nine features some memorable holes, playing through majestic oaks and across numerous lakes.

Hanbury Manor stands on its own in an area absent of great golf courses. There’s a lovely ambience to Hanbury Manor, an English rural version of an American Country Club.

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Reviews for Hanbury Manor

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Description: The two nines at Hanbury Manor Golf & Country Club are distinctly contrasting, each having a completely different look and feel. Rating: 6.5 out of 10 Reviews: 16
TaylorMade
Mark White

When I land in London I sometimes stay at a hotel with a golf course. I can check-in, play a round where I care less about my score and more about being refreshed, but have the advantage of being able to go right to an early dinner and the hotel rather than get in a car and drive. Hanbury Manor is a good example of a hotel/golf course where that can be accomplished.

Hanbury Manor is an average resort golf course. There is nothing interesting or unique about it. There is not a single “wow” hole. This is not to be said that it should be avoided. For anyone living within 25 minutes of it or choosing to stay at the hotel, I am certain they will have an enjoyable round because it has a nice mixture of long and short holes and there are a few elevation changes. But it is definitely not a golf course that one should go out of their way to play, even if their bucket list is to play the top courses in Hertfordshire. I have only played two other courses in Hertfordshire, both of which I thought to be better than Hanbury Manor, so I will not question whether it belongs in the top 10 in the county. However, one should drive farther in order to play both a more interesting and challenging golf course. If one is looking for a hotel/golf course option, I preferred the Forest of Arden, The Belfry, or The Oxfordshire.

Hanbury Manor is a tale of two nines with the front nine being completed by Jack Nicklaus, II with him making modifications to the back nine, originally laid out by Harry Vardon. The front nine is wide open while the back nine has some trees but basically wide open. The greens on the front nine are large and with slopes but no real undulating character, other than the seventh. The holes on the back nine have better bunkers as well as greens with a bit more character such as the slightly elevated greens on the sixteenth and the seventeenth.

The par 3’s in particular are bland. The par 5’s are the better holes on the golf course.

Of the holes I liked at Hanbury Manor I would list the second, a downhill par 5 with a pond fronting the green. The long par 4 eighth dogleg left with out-of-bounds right has a pond near the green and some nice mounding around the green. The ninth par 5 has some nice bunkering as you near the green on this dogleg right. The par 5 twelfth hole has a green set back amongst the trees. The par 5 seventeenth is a slight double dogleg although the green is set back too far from the pond fronting it. It has a nice smaller green much like the twelfth.

While the eighteenth has a pond, trees on either side of the fairway and bunkers near the green, somehow the hole is boring mainly because the green does not have much going on.

As I stated, this is an average resort golf course. It could be made better with additional bunkers and more interesting greens, but I am doubtful the hotel owner would want to make any additional investment. I do not think it is worth playing more than once unless you live close by.

February 07, 2020
4 / 10
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Brian Ward
I played Hanbury Manor for the first time in late October and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Heavy rain had fallen for twenty four hours or so prior to the visit, leading to concerns as to whether the course might be closed. We need not have worried as all fairways and greens were fully open and surprisingly dry. Inevitably we found a couple of wet areas but the presentation and conditioning was of the highest order for the time of year. The Hanbury Manor Golf Course - Photo by reviewerround kicks off with a couple of risk and reward holes, a choice of two different fairways on the 1st, followed by the interesting downhill 2nd, which offers the option to attack a shallow green situated over a pond in two for the big hitter. If I had to choose a favourite, I would go for the 8th, a difficult par-4 playing well over 400 yards as my pick of the front nine. Even with a good drive you are faced with a demanding second shot to a well protected raised green. Anything pulled left will almost certainly find sand or a watery grave. The back nine is laid out on more mature parkland overlooked by the impressive Jacobean country house hotel. These holes are more attractive due in the main to numerous mature trees and lakes. The more intimate nature of this side of the layout is noticeable immediately when walking on to the 10th tee, where you can easily be blocked out if you find the right side of the fairway. All of the par-5's are particularly good, the 12th requires a strategic approach to steer a safe passage and the 17th, which borders a picturesque lake, is a real cracker. Brian W
November 25, 2015
6 / 10
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Andy
I feel the need to post a player review for Hanbury even though I have posted for the course before plus I have played here dozens of times since the 90's. I will also point out that I am not a member and have no connection at all. OK, so the main reason for writing is that after two games in two days here in April I want to share my recent thoughts... The course is looking as good as I have seen it at this time of year for a very long time - presentation and condition is much improved and the green-keeping team are definitely on their game, which is key to Hanbury Manor; it must look good for golfers to have a positive opinion I think. The greens are in great shape and now have a collar separating the putting surface from the first cut and are a picture when approaching. Hanbury has always had a little criticism since the early days of hosting Tour events but right now, on and off the course things are on the up. The run of holes from the 7th to the 9th remain my favourite on the front nine and the great par-5 12th and the par-4 15th are my back-nine picks. I would say go and play, either if you have been before or to make your first visit - I would also say that you will not be disappointed.... Not too sure if a re-entry into an English Top 100 is on the cards but they are certainly in a better position than in recent years...
April 24, 2015
6 / 10
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Bianconeri
I was expecting a lot from this course given it's prior European Tour venue status and £90 green fee, however it failed to impress. The front nine is very open and plays completely different to the back nine with long walks between greens and tees. The condition was also disappointing with patchy fairways and what appeared to be diseased greens.A good corporate course at best, but worth half the green fee.
September 23, 2011
4 / 10
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John Garrett
I've played here a dozen or so times and nothing ever prepares you for the first tee where the green lies some 280 yards away over swathes of long grass and a bunker. Whether to assume your first drive of the day is going to be your best or bale out on the less than generous fairway to the right. This is far from your only directional decision on the course but confirms it as my best thinking man's course in England. The course is in two halves with the old easily outwitting the new. I also remember a less than well marked ditch where our buggy all but turned over in our efforts to avoid it. The restaurant is a tour de force.
January 19, 2010
8 / 10
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Andy
I have played at Hanbury annually since the course opened in the early 90’s and at present I would say the front nine is looking as good as ever. Not too easy to play the course unless you are a member’s guest, a resident or on a corporate, which does make the course look rather empty at times and I think this is a shame. Long gone are the days when Hanbury Manor should try to keep the place exclusive – times are hard and when the course hosted the English Open are a distant memory. If more golfers got the chance to play the course, then I am sure there would be more positive reviews and in turn a busier golf course. If you get an invite, always take it….
August 01, 2009
6 / 10
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Carl Tushingham
This course was in fantastic condition, particulary the greens that were as smooth as silk. However i'm not convinced that this should be ranked as high as it is, for it to be above Broadstone, Brocket Hall (Melbourne) and Blackmoor to name just 3 is a mystery to me. Don't let this put you off though as its well worth playing. The course plays very short of the yellow tees and offers may birdie oppotunities, try it off the whites for a challenge. There are plenty of risk and reward holes on this modern track, good thinking holes. For me the stand out holes are the four par 5's they are all guarded by water or huge bunkers. Set up for corp days, but play it if you get the chance.
May 13, 2009
6 / 10
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Andy
June 30, 2009
Your comments re Hanbury's position in the rankings has turned out to be very valid. Our new 2009 numbers sees the course drop behind the three that you have mentioned.
Andy
Great thing about the course here is that it is a great test and not too busy. Course condition in 2008 has been better than my last visit (2005) and although there are bigger named courses with bigger reputations, Hanbury is a great stay and play option. The Sunday night option is great value. Par-4 8th is a toughie - the approach shot especially.
October 06, 2008
6 / 10
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Tarby
Played the course in March and took advantage of their great value winter package deal.Found the course to be in excellent condition and the greens as good as you will find anywhere in the country.I have played the course a number of times now and always enjoy it and the surroundings. If you are looking for a corporate venue, look no further.
April 24, 2007
8 / 10
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dan
I played here on a winter golf package in mid december. I could not believe how good the condition of the course was. I have played many of the great course in england usually in the winter as the cost is reduced but the condition of Hanbury Manor was way above all of those. They had just finished a bunker refurb the bunkers looked and played amazingly, if you go in any!. As for the cost of the round. It was £49 including bacon roll golf and a buffet lunch. In my opinion the best valued day out I have ever been on and will look to try to play in the summer. Play it if you can it is a real gem.
January 17, 2007
10 / 10
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