Pinner Hill Golf Club was inaugurated in 1928, with one of the most prominent founders, Mr F. L. Griggs, becoming the club’s first president. The course is the result of the collaborative design/construction talents of J. H. Taylor and F.G. Hawtree and nothing much has changed with the layout since its inception.
Set on the side of a hill, hence the name of the club, the course measures 6,394 yards from the back markers, playing to a par of 71, with holes organized as two returning 9-hole loops. The back nine measures more than 200 yards shorter than the front nine, due in the main to a configuration that includes three par threes.
Feature holes on the scorecard include both the short par fours at the 2nd and 12th, the first of the par threes at the heavily sand-protected 4th, and the tough 398-yard 18th (rated stroke index 6), where the fairway crosses a rather intimidating watercourse less than 100 yards shy of the home green.
First thing to mention is that the course at Pinner Hill is about 35 miles from my home and my first game here was in August of this year – what a mistake to have left it so long, as this is delight to play and one of the most enjoyable London border courses that I have played in a very long while. The big theme is a rolling course, with strong elevation change and so much variety from start to finish. Without getting too caried away, Pinner Hill has everything and all positive – short and long par-4s, short and long par-3s and testing par-5s.
The opening four holes give such a strong message right from the off; the 1st a downhill par-5 at 527 yards and such an inviting opening tee shot. A 307 yard over the brow of a hill par-4 is the 2nd then the 3rd hole is one of the tough par-4’s that is slightly uphill and 411 yards - this first four stretch ends with a good looking par-3 at 157 yards. That first 45 minutes on the course delivers in a big way; quality, variety and a lot of fun.
A constant at Pinner Hill is that the tee shots on all of the par-4s and par-5s are probably the easiest shots on these holes with pretty generous landing areas and then the difficulty increases the closer that you get to the greens (great design). Many holes have false fronts, raised greens and very strong greenside bunkering – all in all, this course and it’s quality has certainly has flown under the radar, for nearly 100 years!
When I look at the front-nine hole yardages, it really does seem that every style of hole has been covered – rarely seen.
The back nine starts with a similar hole to the opener, a par-5 that is a touch over 500 yards and also downhill – not exactly the same but similar. One slight observation on the 10th is that the fairway bunkering about 110 yards from the green, does need an upgrade.
The quality continues with a beauty of a 163 yard 11th – with four brilliant bunkers covering the front and left of the green. The 12th is a great example of a hole getting tougher towards the green; the hole is only 280 yards long and turns dramatically right – so it’s a positional tee shot that is needed, then a shortish approach to a raised green with a step through this is where the hole bites back – such a clever design and SI-8 for such a short hole tells a story.
So many holes became favourites after playing just once and if pushed, the 417 yard 14th is my standout. It is at the furthest point south on the course and once again, you should be able to get a drive away with not too much trouble, just avoid the lone fairway bunker on right side. I played my approach from about 180 yards to an offset green, with a false front and another step on the putting surface – bunkers left and right make this a tough but a real quality hole.
It comes as no surprise that Pinner Hill ends well; a couple of par-3s and two strong par-4s – easy to write about them all… The 244 yard par-3 17th – is blind (downhill), is too long and also a call-up hole – these three things should go into the mix and make me hate it! BUT I actually love it…. You do not see holes like this often, not sure about unique but ultra-rare.
If being honest, the 18th tee shot is the least inspiring on the course, slightly uphill and not easy to see the landing area – the look of the approach to the green is ok though and the pond around 110 yards short of the green shouldn’t be in play but who knows?
I would suggest that if Pinner Hill is easy to get to from where you live, do not hesitate to visit as the course exceeded expectations for me by a long way and the current county ranking of #10 does not accurately reflect what I know about the courses of Middlesex – I will be back soon.
a classic local course to me but worth checking out of you are in town, you know you've played it the next day as its a real up and down. top tip, the club fitter Kevin Redfern is one of the best in Europe, what he doesn't know about club making etc isn't worth knowing, check him out via the club website.
Hilly and uninspiring. Far better courses in the area
Leaving the noise of the main road down below and driving up through the posh houses around the estate gives you a feeling of exclusivity as you approach the course, but this members club is actually extremely welcoming to visitors. The course itself is a lot of fun to play, some very demanding holes and others that would be considered weaker in comparison, but sure help with your score! Not exactly a great course, but a nice gem in an area where many courses are prohibitively priced.
Standout holes for me would be the par 5 hole 5 (any slice will disappear down the slopes on the right, and the approach also needs to be very precise), the view from the tee of hole 11 really frames the par 3 and the challenges it brings, hole 12 is a quirky short par 4 with a severe dogleg right but a strong right to left camber on the fairway, so anything but a controlled fade will end up in the left rough much further away than expected, hole 16 is a beast of a par 4 for its length and the drop off areas around the green, hole 17 is a 220 yard par 3 that slopes severely downhill: use the contours and be lucky! Many other long par 4s as well make the course no pushover whatsoever.
My quibbles would be that some of the holes feel very similar to each other, in terms of direction and layout, and also two par 5s (holes 1 and 10) run parallel to each other down a strong slope, so don't play like par 5s and again fell very similar to each other.
Some of the views of London in the far distance are also very impressive (look backwards on hole 14, or was it hole 7...?).