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.
Date: February 07, 2020