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.
Northants always left me with Golfing amnesia. But not anymore. Whether you like courses that start with a par 3 or not. (the Berkshire Blue, Royal Lytham and St Annes, Liphook, to name a few other luminaries listed here.) Be assured that they are never a gimme. And so it is here. The first at North Hants is a portent of things to come. Well bunkered and inspires a dry swallow. You will most likely be pulling out a long Iron, with its looming hosel and gripped by hands that feel like sausages and ham.
After the opening ordeal of the first, you wander through the rhododendrons to the second and are greeted by a stiff dog leg par 4 to the left that has you double checking the slope rating. 122? Really??? Referee!
The ubiquitous Mackenzie & Ebert Ltd have sprinkled some magic on the third. A par 5 now, with an inviting second shot to a distant two tier green that asks you to boom one over a lake. Not everyone thinks this is consanguineous, however I think it to be a super addition. I hope in time the club dispense with the old ghost green that sits on the shoulder of the lake but I am sure the murmurs of descent from some members have made this unlikely for now.
Northants is a fine and memorable course over two tiers of heathland ground. It offers long and short fours, pretty par 3’s and the par 5’s are strategic. Well routed and offering a variety of challenges that appear at just the right time. Notable for the exceptionally positioning of the bunkers and a 17th green that has been dropped in from the 17th at St Andrews. My first drive here, may well have been handed in to lost property at London Waterloo.
It is marvellous to see so many of Hampshire’s top Clubs making bold and inspiring changes that offer the golfer a thrilling trip. Fastidiously and expertly maintained and a very warm understated welcome too. I won’t leave it another 25 years until my next visit, that is for sure.
Having only taken up golf in my mid-twenties and growing up opposite this course, North Hants was one of the first Top 100 golf courses I was introduced to. One of my close friends has been a member for many years, so over the past 10 years I have had the pleasure of playing North Hants on a number of occasions and despite the recent changes, there has been a few constants: the course has always been in good condition, you’re guaranteed a friendly welcome and it’s a lot of fun to play.
It isn’t the longest course at around 6,500 yards off the whites, but it is a stiff test. With only 2 Par 5’s, there aren’t too many straightforward holes and even the shorter Par 4s require accuracy off the tee, in order to attack the cleverly designed greens. Bunkers are used to excellent effect across the course and are well positioned to catch both wayward tee shots and inaccurate approaches.
Highlight holes for me are the new 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 13th and 17th. In fact there are no real weak holes here, but equally I’d argue there are no stand out holes.
North Hants is a course fully deserving of its Top 100 ranking and should not be overlooked on the Hampshire/Surrey sand belt, but it does play second fiddle to some of its more esteemed neighbours, such as West Hill, Worplesdon & Woking. That said, you are guaranteed a fun round, a warm reception and a good test of golf.
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I’ve had a few great sunny afternoons playing this course (Bizarrely, each time it’s been a sweltering day!). It’s a difficult one to rank - generally on feel, it isn’t quite up there with the top sand-belt heathland courses (the heather and gorse is in limited supply) and yet when I think of each hole, I’m struggling to think of many weak spots.
Holes 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 are all great. Following that, 14, 16, 17 and 18 are also up there as great long holes.
The course is undulating and is certainly interesting. Whilst the par 3s are all ok, none of them particularly stand out as being great holes and this is the closest to a weak point on this course. The green complexes though are brilliant in places (17 is one of the most narrow and penal greens I can remember).
Overall, this is a fun and exciting course with a very welcoming clubhouse for that much needed Post-round drink. Worth a visit!
North Hants is a lovely heathland track. Don't be fooled by it's length, as it only has 2 par 5s, so there aren't too many chances. It has a good amount of quirk with short par 4s, and it starts with a par 3. It looks great when the heather is out, and plays its best in summer when the ball is rolling fast. My favourite holes are 4, 6, 8, 13, 14, 18.
The new clubhouse is the perfect place to chill and have a drink or a bite to eat afterwards too.
Knowing a member here I felt I was obliged to give it a run for it's money. With the congestion of top quality courses around itself and neighbouring counties, it's always going to be tough to make it to the top of the rankings however it's a very modest course kept in fantastic condition.
Starting from the first hole, you aren't given an easy reception. As it was quite busy we did find a few groups watching our tee shots on the 210 yard par 3 which never makes it easier! The look on my playing partners face as he was forced to give me the gimme for birdie was priceless!
The condition of the golf course from the greens to the pathways show you it's a surrey course. The touches required to make it a manicured course in my book have been made.
It's a lovely layout and whilst it may not have 'breathtaking' holes, the condition of the course and charming surroundings makes for a very pleasant game of golf.
The people around the golf course were very friendly and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and would recommend it to anyone.
I was lucky enough to play here with a member on a very warm Friday afternoon in June and took the option to play of the whites. At just shy of 6600 yards on a par 70 this makes for a good challenge.
First off I would say the course is in fantastic condition, the member I played with told me the greens were running regularly at 10 on the stimp and they do run out just that little bit further than you want, a 2 to 3 footer tap in becomes a 4 to 5 footer nervy one. In the main long par 4s are the name of the game here so don’t expect too many driver pitching wedge flicks.
The course demands accuracy this is neither a faders course or a drawers course, to really shoot well you need to shape the ball off the tee. Holes to look out for here are 3(risk reward), 5(hit long), 12(long off the tee) and 16 (over 400 yards, up hill and into the wind when I played).
North Hants is located in a region where there are many good heathland courses and while not quite as good as the 3 Ws, Hankley, Hindhead etc. It is still a very good, well maintained, fair course that has a lovely flow to it. Definitely go and play and make sure you bring your game or you will end up just taking one or two shots more than you wanted and wonder why.
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.