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.
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
Played it this week and found it an excellent golf course. You have to navigate get it properly or pay the price. The course was in excellent condition and the greens were lighting.They were also receptive to approach shots. The club and its members were very welcoming and this is definitely up there with all the great courses in this area.