The course at Highgate, North London is not that well known outside of the area. It is a fantastic club with a decent course and one that visitors should seek out to play. For those non-locals, this area is a very affluent part of London and also in a fairly congested golf course location - plenty of courses in Middlesex and around the south of Hertfordshire are not that far away at all.
There is plenty to like about Highgate; presentation of this parkland course is really good; Derek Mason and his green-keeping team certainly love the course. The course by any standards let alone modern ones, is not on a lot of land – under 90 acres for 18 holes could not and would not be allowed to be built today. If length is what you want in a course, then Highgate is not going to deliver – 6015 yards at it’s maximum. If charm, quality of greens and tees, a great club atmosphere, and strong club beliefs are important, then here is your club/course.
Highgate starts with some short par-4s; 284 yards at the first and 335 yards at the second – so a good scoring start is not a major challenge. The third hole is strong; 376 yards to a left to right fairway and then an approach across the valley. At 117 yards the fourth is the shortest hole and very pretty. The stroke index #1 hole comes at the sixth and rightly so, this is a big par-4 at 462 yards but the bunkering needs to be a lot sharper – there are some that are misplaced and a little weak. I think we have to remember that poor bunkering (position and quality) is a big no no and all clubs need to have this high on their priority list.
Playing the par-4’s at the 9th and 10th are unique as they play above, yes above the hidden Metropolitan Water Board reservoir that has been there for nearly 100 years serving London – when you first see these holes you can be forgiven for thinking they look a little odd but once you understand that there is valid reason, then all is well.
With the space restrictions on the course there is not a real practice area, so the position between the par-4s at the 13th and 14th is used for hitting a few balls and whilst understandable, really is not that great.
The next two holes are the longest and strongest of the par-4’s – the 15th is 440 yards and uphill to the green and the 16th at 468 yards – a small suggestion would be to make one of these a par-5 – two reasons; the percentage of golfers reaching either hole in two shots is very very low and also as there only one par-5 on the course – just would help with the balance I think.
Lots to enjoy about Highgate and one of the better courses in the area.
Date: August 16, 2019