Lamberhurst Golf Club dates back to 1890, when a 9-hole course was laid out within the Court Lodge estate, home to the Morland family since 1733. The Army requisitioned the fairways during World War I and World War II but they recovered to function as an operational golf course soon after both conflicts ended. When adjacent farmland became available for lease in the early 1970s, Ken Cotton and Frank Pennink extended the course to a full 18-hole layout.
Today, the course extends to just less than 6,500 yards from the medal tees, with more than half the holes doglegging one way or the other. There are only three par threes on the scorecard and these are played at the 140-yard 7th, the 217-yard 12th and 156-yard 17th. The most difficult hole comes early in the round, at the long par four 4th, where the River Teise cuts across the fairway half way to the green.On the back nine, the river again plays a part in proceedings at the par five 13th as it slashes across the hole immediately in front of the green. Lamberhurst’s signature hole is played one hole earlier, at the aforementioned par three 12th (“Pond”), with the tee shot required to carry across an intimidating combination of water and rough to a small green protected by bunkers to the left, right and front of the putting surface.
A first visit to Lamberhurst in around thirty years and pleased that I have returned recently - there is not a lot to dislike at all and there are strong parts of the course with decent holes. Lamberhurst can hold its own on length reaching close to 6500 yards but equally friendly down at 5700 from the front. A big standout here are the amount holes that are less than straight, in fact there are some serious dog-legs, especially on the front nine.
The opening three holes are a little up and down but all three are under 350 yards, so nothing too scary to start with. Toughest shot here is the approach to the 3rd; missing right is not ideal – green slopes that way and the run-off is pretty severe too.
The 4th is SI-1 and at 455 yards is a hard par-4 without a doubt; downhill from the tee to a fairway that moves to the left and there is an element of luck to how far your drive will go. Get the right line and maybe a forward bounce and the green is in sight – anything slightly less than perfect and it will be three shots to the green as the River Teise cuts across at 200 yards out.
The 5th (Bluebell Wood) is my favourite front-nine hole – it is one of the many dog-legs (to the right) and a shortish par-5 at 507 yards. A tough drive with the course boundary running on the left side.
The first par-3 is at the 7th - a good hole, just the tee, a big valley and the green-site 140 yards away – tip here is to aim just slightly left of centre.
I like the 395-yard par-4 8th hole – an elevated tee, to a right to left fairway and a near 90-degree bigger move to the right – a really strong hole, with position off of the tee the most important shot.
The back nine has some great holes starting at the 11th; called Twin Oaks and being uphill, a little left to right and close to 400 yards is tough to par. I also really like the back to back holes at the 14th and 15th – the former is a reachable par-5 at 477 yards and then the 15th is forty yards less but in my opinion somehow plays longer, harder and has one of the toughest greens on the course; so many undulations mean than any two putt here is huge (SI-2 for a real reason).
Not unique but pretty rare is Lamberhurst’s last hole – a reachable par-4 and stroke-index 18 should give most players a decent score to end on, just got to ensure that your tee shot is not blocked out on the left side.
Overall – a good course to seek out if you have not played and wondered if you should – current ranking in Kent feels about right but equally a couple of places either way would still represent where the course sits in a strong county.
Lamberhurst is a nice members course set in the heart of Kent. The layout is fun and playable for all levels of golfer. The first few holes are very score able although if you find yourself on the wrong side of the fairway it can be difficult to find the putting surface. The 4th hole is the most difficult on the outward half…a long par 4 with a ditch crossing the fairway which comes into play for the longer hitters or those who get in trouble from the tee. The approach shot to this small green is not a pushover as bunkers guard the entrance. The 9th is a fun dog leg left to right par 4 with a sloping green awaiting the second shot. Hole 13 is good par 5 risk and reward hole with the fairway narrowing in the driving area, once the fairway has been found the player will need a long iron to find this green protected at its entrance by a brook. Lamberhurst finishes with a fun short par 4 which is drivable although OOB awaits the errant tee shot and the green like many others is quite undulating. Although not one of the better known courses in Kent I think Lamberhurst is a little gem, its in decent condition most of the year and the greens have always been excellent when I have played here.