Liphook is as pretty as a picture and one of the earliest examples of strategic design. This delightful, classic heathland course spans Hampshire and Sussex’s county boundaries - it's a course for the connoisseur, not for the dilettante.
The club was founded in 1922. A teacher called Arthur Croome (a partner in the architectural firm of Fowler, Abercromby, Simpson and Croome) designed the course, his one and only. “He did it wonderfully well,” wrote Bernard Darwin in Golf Between Two Wars, “all the better perhaps because he had not much money to do it with and must rely as far as possible on kindly Nature.”
According to the club's history, Tom Simpson joined Liphook Golf Club and became "Master of the Green" and he was later responsible for a number of course revisions.
By today’s standards, Liphook is relatively short, measuring less than 6,200 yards, but with a lowly par of 70. Playing to handicap is another matter. The heather, pine and birch place a premium on line rather than length.
The sandy ground is wonderfully undulating with natural depressions and elevations and, in some ways, the terrain is reminiscent (if a little less dramatic) to that at nearby Hindhead, where there is another charming and understated golf course.
Liphook starts unusually with a par three. “For sheer beauty I think I like best the second hole,” wrote Darwin, “a short one with its knowing little bunkers waiting by the fringe of the green and its clump of dark trees keeping watch and ward behind. The fifth, too, is picturesque with its big golden bunker and its stream.”
Bunkers are audacious, characterised not only at the 5th, but also at the 6th and 11th. The prettiest holes and probably the best sequence of holes is the trio from the 12th to the 14th. If we had to pick a favourite hole, we would plump for the 14th, a short par four doglegging to the right where a bold drive will leave a short pitch to the green, and a good birdie opportunity will be on offer following a well-positioned drive.
Liphook is a classy golf course which does everything well, but in an understated way. A charming course with friendly members – the perfect venue for golf.
A recent major course renovation was undertaken by Mackenzie & Ebert.
Liphook, designed by Arthur Croome and Tom Simpson, is an interesting course to play. It is not long at 6300 yards yet it is a course that requires clear thinking for the longer hitters as there are several opportunities to cut doglegs but they could run out of fairway. Other holes dictate a shorter club off the tee to not run into heather. It is also a course that requires quite a bit of local knowledge regarding the greens due to the many undulations. This is a course where one must consider which part of the green they want to land on, or which side to miss on due to the slope and speed of the greens.
If one is just off the greens trying for a chance at recovery, one must carefully judge where to land the ball. If on the green, these are some of the speediest greens one will find.
Or so I was told. I played Liphook in the month of January a few years back after a couple of days of rain. The greens certainly were interesting and quick, well-shaped and ran true, but obviously not as fast as they would from spring to late autumn. But one could still see areas of the greens where a stroke struck too firmly will speed by the hole or one struck too weakly will curve to one side or the other.
The greenside bunkering is very good as well with a nice variety of size and depth. There are several bunkers on the course where the front side of the bunker has heather for additional defense.
Other than the greens, it is a relatively easy golf course for those who can control their ball flight and trust the club for the yardages.
I would like to play this course again in the spring, when the rhododendrons are blooming. Combined with the heather, gorse and trees, it likely is one of the more beautiful inland courses one would play. It would also good to see the alterations made to the course.
As to the course I played, there is ample room off most tees with most shots having a carry over heather.
There are not any great holes here, but several are solid. I thought the best holes were the par 3’s with several of the par 4’s also very good such as the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, ninth and twelfth. The front side is more interesting than the back side.
In terms of critiques, the par 5’s are the weaker holes on the course, particularly the eighteenth which should be a par 4. Also, four of the five par 3’s are of a similar length. One wishes eleven and seventeen could be lengthened. This course could have be really special with another 500 yards which would have provided more variety to the holes. Many of the greens are too large for the length of the hole and additional yardage would have fixed that. Today’s “minimalist” golf architects would likely be very pleased with the size of the greens but I am not on the same page for this type of golf course. Finally, the course bends to the right on most of the holes with only a few going to the left.
Starting on a par 3 is sometimes disappointing but given the first hole at Liphook is slightly downhill, the 200 yards is not as intimidating as it sounds particularly as the large green has no bunkers. A miss slightly left of the green can have one’s ball end up on the green due to the swale on the left side. There is a well-placed spine running across the front half of the green. Missing long left will likely mean you cannot stop your ball at a pin on the left.
I liked the second hole, a slightly longer par 4 with a slight bend to the right with a fairway tilted to the left and the green sitting lower and running away from you. The approach shot plays a bit shorter as the land is downhill. It has a very large green.
The third is a mid-length par 3 fronted by two deep bunkers and a green sloped back to front. You play from another slightly elevated tee into a large, tilted green beautifully framed by trees and crossing over heather. I could only imagine how beautiful this hole must be in the summer. This is a fine par 3.
The fourth is also in consideration for the best hole as a long par 4 bending slightly right. A nice patch of heather is between the tee and fairway. The heather continues down the right side of the fairway. Bunkers are at the front but perhaps the bigger danger is going over the green due to the steep fall-off.
A short par 5 is next with a wide fairway going slightly to the left. One hits again over heather with the heather continuing down the right side. For shorter hitters, there are three nicely shaped bunkers on the right for the second shot and two on the left side of the small green. There is a swale at the back of the green but most of it is somewhat flat. It is a disappointing hole.
Six is a longer par 4 dogleg right with bunkers down the left side and two opposite the green. The bunkers are again well-shaped. The green is tiered and small. I thought this to be the best hole on the golf course.
Likely the best par 3 and perhaps the best hole is the seventh, a 150 par 3 crossing over heather to a two-tiered very tilted front to back, right to left green with opposite, large and deep bunkers. There is a sizeable spine roughly in the middle. It is a splendid hole with the slightly hidden green on lower ground. One can see the eighth fairway right behind the green.
A short par 4 going to the right follows with another carry over heather and then heather on either side among the trees. Two bunkers on the left side of the fairway are perfectly placed. Fronting the green again are two bunkers. The green is slanted left to right and again is a large green. I imagine this to be one of the prettier holes in season. The green is one of the more undulated.
The splendid front nine ends with another hole trending to the right. This longer par 4 is uphill. There is a rough area of land short right of the green and a mound near the front left. A tree pinches over the right side of the green. This hole has no bunkers and does not need them. The green is slightly small for the length of the hole and again is undulated with a fall-off on the right. It is another nice hole.
The back nine starts with a short par 4 where the longer hitters will try to clear a road and heather on the blind tee shot. I thought this to be a weak hole.
The par 3 eleventh is a real treat due to hitting over heather, trying to avoid the three bunkers surrounding three sides of this narrow, undulating green. The second bunker on the right is fairly deep and is to be avoided. One could argue it is the best par 3 but not quite as visually attractive as three and seven.
For me the second-best par 4 on the course is the twelfth, a longer, straight par 4 that must be gorgeous in the spring. There are two fairway bunkers on opposite sides and three artfully crafted bunkers at the green. The green has subtle undulations but is flatter than many others.
A shorter par 5 comes going downhill from the tee and then uphill to the green. A ditch crosses the fairway at an angle about 130-140 yards short of the green which is well protected by bunkers and sloped to run off at the front. Heather is on both sides but the fairway is generous. It’s an okay hole.
Fourteen is a sharp dogleg right short par 4 follows with a smaller green. Longer hitters can try to cut the dogleg by carrying the trees. I did not care for the hole as much as others have highlighted it.
Another short dogleg right par 4 follows after crossing the road. It is likely the sharpest turn on the course, again going over a fair amount of heather. A long hitter will try to cut the corner by flying the trees on the right but could run through the fairway on the left. I think this hole is harder for the better players who take the risk rather than the shorter players who merely have to find the fairway. The green is one of the better ones on the golf course with a ridge cutting diagonally through it. There are two longer bunkers on either side. I felt this to be the best short par 4 on the course due to the trees surrounding the green creating a sense of solitude. From the tee one should glance over at the sixteenth green for the pin location.
The third short par 4 in a row follows except this goes to the left. There is a long area of heather and a bunker on the left side for the longer hitters to consider. The green has a bunker on the right and a smaller bunker behind the green. The hole plays downhill and the fairway can easily be reached by an above-average length hitter. The green slants right to left. There are some bushes on the left as one nears the green that creates a nice visual effect.
The final par 3 is of a similar length to all but the first. The tee shot must carry heather nearly all the way to the large green as it feels like a waste area down the right. It is a very large green for the hole and flattish. The hole is not of the quality of the earlier par 3’s.
The finishing hole is a much too short par 5 at only 460 yards. The fairway slopes to the right. Heather and trees border both sides of the fairway and four bunkers on the right lead the way into the two-tiered green. I think the members should change this to a par 4 even if the par goes to 69 as it would change a weak hole into a very good finishing hole.
Putting aside links courses near the sea, Liphook is one of the most beautiful golf courses one will play. Sunningdale, Wentworth, Swinley Forest, St. Georges Hill, are all of a similar bent but obviously of a higher quality due to additional length and more interesting land. This is a course that a better, longer hitter does not need to play except to work on their putting. For average handicappers, this is a good, solid golf course.
Back at Liphook after a year to find that the club is to undergo a major course alteration, designed essentially to avoid the present hairy/scary road crossing after hole 14. The work has started and it looks like three newly designed holes are close to being completed. Withdrawing the poor hole 14 from play will benefit the golf course and a sensible way over the main road will certainly add to enjoyment… the present arrangement is heart stopping!
Liphook is absolutely sublime and shame on anybody in the area for not playing it or being ignorant to its majestic existence. It is my humble personal opinion that golf in England is woefully under appreciated. Visitors from around the world flock to Ireland and Scotland in their millions (for understandable reasons), but arguably the best mix of golf (links, heathland, moorland) is in England.
For years, gems like Silloth on Solway, St. Enodoc, St. George’s Hill and West Sussex fly under the radar without much global recognition – and I can now add Liphook to that list.
Some of the most stunning settings for golf with awe-inspiring green locations. The trees frame the holes so beautifully and it truly feels like you’re walking in paradise. The peaceful isolation and brilliant playing conditions warrant huge congratulations to the green-keeping staff for top notch putting surfaces. We have the vision of Arthur Croome back in 1922 to thank for building this course, his one and only.
The par 4 second hole immediately gave the “wow” factor with a sloping fairway heading up to a slightly sunken green. The entire setting is just gorgeous as your adventure begins. You cross a road on two occasions as the routing is laid out on two paddocks, but the beauty and challenge is very consistent throughout. I loved the angles that are created on almost every hole, with highlights including the drive on the 6th, and the magnificent stretch of dog-leg par 4s 14 to 16. The mixture of excellent routing and perfect planting of heather makes this course a work of art. The opening par 3 didn’t deter from the strength of the short holes, with the 3rd and 7th holes being personal favourites.
I can’t say enough about how strongly I recommend golfers to experience this course. Liphook would be a club I would join in a heartbeat if I lived in the south of England.
I have played here a couple of times and the thing that stands out are the absolutely delightful and very quick, true running greens that the members here get to enjoy day in day out through the season. If there are better greens in the county I would like to know as I don't think I have ever putted on anything better than what they have here. I also love the look and feel from holes 2 to 14, delightful heathland holes from start to finish with lots of interest in each hole's design along the way. It is hard to pick a favourite among them and I love them all. For some reason I am not a great fan of the par 3 first or the stretch from 15 onwards although they're still enjoyable, just not quite the standard to my eye of the other holes but it is just an opinion and others may not agree. It's a great day out and great value and I strongly recommend. I can see why it consistently gets rated best in Hampshire although out of the other top inland tracks, Blackmoor gives it a good run for the money and North Hants and an improving Stoneham are all in contention to try and knock it off it's number 1 perch. If you get an invite, clear your diary and go and enjoy.
I've played a lot of golf courses in Hampshire but Liphook Golf Club is easily the best there is for the county. It is a beautiful heathland course with many great golf holes. It starts off difficult with a long par 3 playing over 200 yards and then followed by a long par 4 with heather all the way down the right side but it looks stunning. Every hole is great and it requires you to play lots of strategic shots in order to get round in a good score. Personal favourites would have to be the par 3 3rd hole, uphill and plays about 150 yards, do not go long because it will leave you with a downhill chip with the green sloping away from you! The 16th hole is fantastic, known as 'the quarry'. A dog leg left with a big quarry on the left hand side, if you keep it straight off the tee then you will be left with an awesome approach shot. The club is fantastic and every time I go there I am in love as it truly is a beautiful course in great condition all year round.
Well worth a spot in the BI top 100. Quality golf course and excellent greens. Plenty heather (maybe a tad too much) to test the patience of a wayward golfer!
There’s no denying that Liphook is a very fine golf course, 18 holes played over beautiful undulating heathland with fairways that wander through mature woodland.
It has some interesting green complexes, superb putting surfaces, fine bunkering and is a lovely place to play golf.
That all said, something just didn’t quite click for me here and I came away a little underwhelmed.
I know of many others who won’t agree with this sentiment and they sing Liphook’s praises to the hilt. I liked it very much but didn’t love it like I thought I might. Perhaps it just didn’t suit my eye.
Or maybe it was my high expectations, of a course that features favourably in all the various rankings, that wasn’t quite met. There are certainly some excellent holes at Liphook but the highs weren’t quite as high as I anticipated, or indeed had hoped for.
I played it on the same day as nearby Blackmoor and contrary to popular opinion I found its near neighbour to be superior, albeit slightly, in most departments. It’s personal opinion of course and a second playing of each venue may well change my perspective but for now I can only write about my initial experience.
Maybe Liphook saves the best for last because the 18th is a real cracker with a blind drive and lovely looking approach. It’s a modest par five at just 462 yards and will allow many golfers to finish on a high note.
I strongly suspect I will return to Liphook for another look. Fingers crossed it’s a grower!
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Quality course, deserving of being at the very top of the county listings. You will probably not play faster greens anywhere than they get them here, the course is a delight, except for the busy road which punches through the site and which you have to cross twice. It is difficult to find much wrong with the layout although personally, I do not think holes 15 and 16 are up with the rest of the course as they seem to have been "squeezed" in whereas you do not feel that anywhere else on this wonderful layout. A must play if you find yourself in the area.
Booked to play Liphook while we were staying at nearby Champneys. Perfect golfing weather an i was asked if i wanted to join 2 members and another player. What a fantastic group of people, all playing at a good level. As for the course, absolutely fantastic. It is one of the best courses i have played, the condition of it for april was superb, the greens were a pleasure to play on. i was told that it is built on sand and playable all year and you could tell. They are making some changes, which in my opinion are not needed but i understand why. managed to birdie the fantastic par 3 which is always nice after being told how hard it is. Lots of very challenging holes, all of which offer something different. Thanks Roy and Phil, i'll be back asap.
Played 10 March on a drizzly day ! Having played the 3 best of Dorset heathland courses in the last week, the defining difference is the quality of Liphook's greens. They were true and still had good pace. Really enjoyed the course and unlike a number of courses that I've played as a 1 ball, a number of groups of 2 and 3 let me through so I was able to get round in just over 2 hours. Absolutely loved the course. Standout holes in my opinion were 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 17. Weakest holes were 15 &16, although still decent. Overall and excellent golf course