Harpenden Golf Club was first established in 1894 but the club moved to its current site at Hammonds End in 1931 to enjoy a course co-designed by F.G Hawtree and J.H Taylor. The enduring design duo laid out around fifty courses in the years between the wars and Harpenden is a fine example of their work.
Three golfing icons, Abe Mitchell, Percy Allis and Arthur Havers teamed up with the newly appointed Harpenden professional, George Randall, in an exhibition match to herald the opening of the new course. Arthur Havers remarkably made the first hole-in-one at the par three 8th (then the 15th).
Set in 150 acres of gently undulating parkland on the south-western edge of Harpenden, the testing par 70 course measures 6,377 yards from the back tees, but the original Hawtree and Taylor brief was to lay out a course that stretched out to an incredible 7,000 yards. This would have made Harpenden one of the longest courses in the country at that time. However, the early Harpenden membership wisely decided that 7,000 yards was a test too far for their hickories, so they settled for a course of more modest length.
Harpenden has hosted the regional finals of the Lombard Trophy for two years running and other important regional tournaments have been played over the club’s rolling fairways, including the Hertfordshire Men’s County Championship in 2019. The English Senior Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship was also hosted here in 2017.
Golfers who have succeeded at Harpenden have relied on accurate positional play rather than sheer length. But the first three holes are tough par fours that measure more than 400 yards.
The 3rd is a good example, where a straight drive is crucial in order to avoid out of bounds on the right and trees on the left. However, if your drive is too short, you’ll be faced with a tough approach that must clear a ditch that crosses the fairway some 80 yards from the green. To make matters worse, this putting surface is subtly borrowed and one of the trickiest to read on the course.Our favourite holes come back-to-back at 13 and 14 heralding the start of a homeward stretch of six holes that begin and end at the clubhouse.
Lovely parkland course set in open countryside.
The holes offer several different challenges and the greens are good.
Overall there is enough variety amongst the holes to make this course more interesting than many others. The par 4s and par 5s are its stronger holes with several similar type par 3s.
A little shorter than some other courses reflected in its par of 70 with four par 3s and two par 5s.
The clubhouse facilities are good and the layout of the course around the clubhouse gives good views and options for playing a few holes.
I organised a society event in late September at Harpenden and would say this was an excellent course. It has a great variety of holes if perhaps no obvious signature holes (which might disappoint people who like that kind of thing!). It is quite a long course with not too many par 4s that I could reach easily in two which I missed, but I can't really blame the course for my lack of golfing ability. Given the dry summer the fairways were very green and the greens were in beautiful condition. We paid a bit more than we usually do at other clubs for our day out at Harpenden, but all agreed it was well worth it.
Our Society of 20 played the course on 20th August 2014 and we were very impressed with the overall condition. The holes are attractive, varied and present a good challenge for the club golfer. The greens were true and fast and we very much enjoyed the day. We thought that the welcome we received from the staff was extremely good and the food and general ambience first class. We will return.
A great location due to its position (just off the M1 J9 and M25 J21), this is a great test of golf. Famously nestled in ‘Eric Morecambe’ country (Eric’s house backs on to the course) this is a friendly and well kept club and course. A tough par 70 (CSS 71 of the backs) will keep your attention. Fast greens and decent beer await. Loved playing it and look forward to many more enjoyable rounds at this golf course!