Originally founded as Hitchin Golf Club in 1904, Letchford Golf Club had a 9-hole course in operation within twelve months of its formation. Harry Vardon was invited to expand this layout to eighteen holes five years later and the newly remodelled course was officially opened in October 1910 with an exhibition match between Vardon and James Braid.
Nothing much happened thereafter until the start of the new millennium, when additional land became available to create three new holes and lengthen four others. The newly extended layout opened for play in 2004 and today it measures 6,459 yards from the back tees, playing to a par of 71, with holes configured as two returning nines.
Notable holes include the right doglegging 7th (the only par five on the front nine), the shortest of the par threes at the 14th (in the southwest corner of the property), and the shortest of the three-shotters on the scorecard at the 480-yard 16th, where a power fade drive puts players in prime position for a birdie or better at this risk-reward hole.
Jonathan Gaunt drew up a course improvement plan in 2015 and the club started work on this in earnest in 2020, with five holes altered initially. Cross bunkers on holes 3, 5, 6 and 15 were filled in and new sand hazards introduced at more appropriate distances off the tee.
Another one of the many parkland courses of Hertfordshire. Letchworth for me gets off to a slow start with a 287 yard par-4 and a 193 yard par-3 with not too much about it – both will need the greens to be cleared before the next group plays, so a slow start in both senses of the word. The third hole is where the course starts for me and would actually be a great opening hole at a little over 400 yards – this must have been a discussion point over the years.
Three more par-4’s follow the third hole and may be described as a little up and down as they run alongside each other – decent holes but nothing to get too excited about.
The 7th is the only par-5 on the front and at 554 yards is a strong test; a big dog-leg to the right and to a raised green complex that does look a bit out of character – this part of the course is on the west boundary and also here is the par-3 14th – as mentioned both are ok green-sites but not in keeping with the lushness of the other sixteen holes.
Without a doubt the back nine is stronger; a touch longer and with two par-5’s it is better balanced. The 11th hole at 370 yards and a tough SI-5 is the best hole so far; a drive to favour the right-side of the fairway gives best angle of attack and will mean that you do not get blocked out down the left.
Approaching the 395-yard 13th is one of the tougher 2nd shots at Letchworth – this crosses the valley that runs through the course and will play one club longer than the yardage.
If the course at Letchworth starts slowly, it most certainly finishes well – the final four holes are the best run in my opinion and a tough finale. Three with SI’s of 9 and under mean that you will have to play well to score well. The 15th – only 372 yards but stroke index 1 is another with a tricky approach shot. Like the 11th, do choose the right-side of the fairway – this side is best to fly one of the cross bunkering to a offset green. I vote the short par-5 (477 yards) 16th as my favourite hole on the course; dog-legging right and then with a fairway that narrows around layup distance is a perfect risk and reward example.
A pretty par-3 over water is a decent penultimate hole and the very last hole is a very big test; 442 yards and a beast of a finish – par’s are not common on this 18th hole. As well as the length, the fairway pinches in around 80 yards short of the green and that presents problems whether trying to hit the green in two or choosing best layup position.
First and foremost, this is a members club with a course that is strong in places but as a collection of 18 holes, is a little behind many of the other Herts. courses of a similar style. If there could be a plan to raise the front nine to the excitement of the back nine, then this could become a stronger county ranked course…
Course condition is normally very good here. Greens are very well kept and are renowned in the area for being fast and true.
The layout is good overall, gets a bit samey from 4 - 6 but I guess it makes the most out of the space they have. Back nine is better and has a big variety of holes.
If you can, it's worth coming here to play, but make sure it's with a member (members guest fee) because without a member the £50 odd green fee is a lot for this area and it's not really worth it.