Park Langley is a beautiful Beckenham suburb in the London Borough of Bromley that was envisaged by H&G Taylor Builders at the start of the 20th century. A main feature of the development was the construction of an 18-hole golf course and the verdant fairways of Langley Park Golf Club now form something akin to a metropolitan oasis on the outskirts of the capital.
J. H. Taylor, five-time Open Champion – and one of the famed Great Triumvirate that claimed 16 of the 21 tournaments played between 1894 and 1914 – was commissioned to design the layout. Naturally, the course has been modified down the years but it’s essentially still the same layout that was fashioned over a hundred years ago.
Set within a 120-acre tract of subtly undulating parkland, this wooded course doesn’t unduly burden players with demanding terrain but the tight fairways do call for pinpoint accuracy, both off the tee and with the approach shot. Water, in the shape of ditches and small streams, comes into the reckoning on several of the holes.
Extending to 6,453 yards from the back tees and playing to a par of 69, Langley Park attracts a substantial standard scratch score rating of 71 so golfers shouldn’t necessarily expect a stress-free stroll in the park when teeing it up here. As a matter of fact, it’s a tough test of golf that’s been used in the past as an Open Qualifying venue.
A round here gets off to a strong start with four par fours, three of which measure in excess of 410 yards. This sturdy stretch is followed by the longest par three on the card at the 196-yard 5th hole, playing to a tricky, multi-tiered green. The remaining front nine holes are all stout 2-shotters, highlighted by the left doglegged 7th, rated stroke index 1.
On the inward half, the 341-yard 11th might seem like a birdie opportunity as it’s the shortest par four on the course but it’s also the tightest, which rather evens things out. An easier chance of a sub-par score is probably to be had at the 472-yard 14th, the only par five hole on the layout. The round then ends with the final short hole on the back nine at the 162-yard 18th, where the home green sits behind a rather intimidating little lake.
Interestingly, Sir Henry Cotton became the professional at Langley Park when aged 19 in 1926, replacing Frank Bell who emigrated to America. Henry was with the club for seven years before moving to Royal Waterloo in Belgium. Later on, he would win three Open events during the 1930s and 1940s.