North Hants Golf Club is located at Fleet on the western edge of the glorious sand belt, which cuts through Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire. This delightful heathland course is set enchantingly amongst stately pines and silver birch trees and, naturally, heather and gorse abound.
The club was originally founded in 1904 and James Braid, the designer, described the course as, "most sporting and interesting". But the plans were ambitious: North Hants was to be more than just a golf club. This was one of the first projects to create an American-styled country club and the clubhouse provided excellent facilities, while high quality tennis courts and croquet lawns attracted Hampshire's high society.
In 1913, the course was re-shaped by Harry Colt for the princely sum of £25 and in the 1930s, Tom Simpson made further modifications. Sadly, the tennis and croquet sections of the North Hants Club did not survive the Second World War and the land formerly used for these sports was transformed into one of the country's first golf practice grounds.
Following Donald Steel's modifications to three holes in 2001, today's course now measures 6,472 yards. Although it's not the longest course, it does represent is a real challenge. Accuracy from the tee is an essential ingredient because most holes are set between avenues of trees and you'll need to find the correct part of the fairway to attack the generous but well-protected greens with your approach shot.
North Hants was used for Final Qualifying for the 2004 Women's British Open and the club also stages an annual amateur competition called the Hampshire Hog. Michael Bonallack won the inaugural 1957 event, but failed to defend his title the following year. 22 years later, in 1979, Bonallack returned to reclaim the title. Sandy Lyle and Gordon Brand Jnr. have also emerged as subsequent "Hog" winners.
Undoubtedly, North Hants has a fascinating history but it would be remiss of us not to mention the club's most famous son - Justin Rose. In 1995, at the tender age of fourteen, Rose won the Hampshire Hog with a record score of 134. When he turned professional in 1998, Rose was still a North Hants junior member and now, he's an Honorary Member. No doubt each and every club member follows his progress with great interest.
As a member of this golf course for just over 9 years now, I would like to think that I can give a good, accurate and non-biased review of North Hants having played there so much now. It is a great course right up there with the best in Hampshire and deserves the praise it gets, the reviews that other people have given are very accurate, it is a friendly golf club which has some lovely members. The facilities are good with a nice driving range and large practice putting green. The clubhouse was renovated just over a year ago and the change has made the club so much better. Before the renovation it was quite a small clubhouse and would get very cramped as there was an awkward room in the middle of the clubhouse that no one would ever use, so on competition days it would become very busy. However the renovation saw the bar become much bigger and the clubhouse to double in size, everything became much nicer and it gives off a much better vibe as it is a lot more modern. The course is great as well however in my opinion it has gone through a lot of changes since I first joined and not all of them have been good. Around 18 months ago they chopped down hundreds of trees and got rid of a lot of the heather on the course which I don't think they needed to do however the course still looks great. They have also made a great change to the par 5 3rd hole as it used to be too short for the long hitters especially. They have pushed the green back by a good 80 yards making it a much harder 2nd shot and one to think about. It is now also guarded by bunkers and quite undulated making it a much more challenging par 5 than what it used to be. My favourite holes would have to be the par 3 8th, a nice short but challenging par 3 as the green is not easy to get up and down from if missed. And the par 3 15th is a lovely hole playing around 150 yards with heather running all the way down to the green, making it look like a great hole. Overall I believe that North Hants is well worth a spot in the top 100 in England and they are making a lot of changes to try and improve the course which I think will look even better in the future!
North Hants, home of the elite amateur Hampshire Hog golf tournament, is one of the several ‘second tier’ courses situated on the notorious sandbelt to the South-West of London.
This is the most westerly of them all lying in Hampshire and to say that it plays second fiddle to some of its illustrious neighbours, whilst undoubtedly true, is doing it a little bit of a disservice in a literary sense because there is some exceptionally good golf to be found here.
Played over sandy, fast-draining turf and through glorious pine, birch and fir trees the setting is as splendid as you could hope for. And many of the holes are first-class in their quality. It can’t quite stand shoulder-to-should to the famous courses in this region but it is well deserving of its ‘Top 100’ status and I imagine quite often goes under the radar of the visiting golfer, when it really shouldn’t.
I came away from North Hants, famous for its connection with Justin Rose, very impressed with the course. The good stuff is of the highest quality and there is little not to like. There is tons of variety, a great mix of holes and the flow of the round is superb.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
North Hants is a course I’ve been meaning to play for years and I recently played here. One word immediately comes to mind. Charming. It’s not the longest course on paper but it didn’t play short for me and the finishing handful of holes are a stern challenge. With pleasant elevation changes and a programme of tree clearance which is successfully encouraging the heather to return, North Hants narrowly misses a 5-ball rating from me, but only just. It’s almost as good as the three W’s and has a touch of Walton Heath and West Sussex about it. A fantastic new clubhouse, good practice facilities and more heather will surely see North Hants become more widely recognised as one of the sandbelts many very good courses.