Located in the village of Radlett, a mere 15 miles northwest of London city centre, the course at Porters Park Golf Club has hosted Open Championship Regional Qualifying in the past, which gives a good indication of the quality on display at this lovely Hertfordshire track.
The golf club was founded in 1899, when a golf course was set out within the grounds of the Porters mansion house, which was then owned by MP Grace. The Porters property also boasted a cricket pitch within the grounds, laid out by by the renowned WG Grace. Three years later, the land was sold to Cecil Raphael, who became the club’s President and Patron.
to the book
by Mike Berners Price, Raphael “performed the dual role of
benefactor and dictator for twenty years until 1923 when he offered
the club the opportunity to purchase the course and clubhouse for
The author continues: “Unfortunately, funds were not available and the land was purchased by Middlesex County Council. Shortly afterwards, Raphael resigned from the club when his sons were asked to pay green fees while playing on the course.”
We don't know for sure who originally laid out the course, but according to The Golf Course by Geoffrey Cornish and Ron Whitten, Scottish professional Cuthbert Butchart either designed or redesigned the course. Indeed, Butchart listed Porters Park as one of his designs in an advert published in the German Golf Federation yearbook of 1911 alongside other courses, including his most famous creation, West Hill.
The course was used during World War II for crop production and anti-tank obstacles by the 10th and an old pillbox by the 14th can still be viewed today. C.K. Cotton became the club secretary in 1945 and he’s credited with a number of course improvements during his short tenure.
Past members at Porters Park include Peter Townsend, who became a junior member in 1959 then went on to participate in both the Walker Cup as an amateur (1965) and the Ryder Cup as a professional (1969 and 1971) before eventually becoming Captain of the PGA in 1994.
Today, the course can be stretched to 6,529 yards, though the par of 70 for this distance is two full stokes less than the standard scratch score from the back markers so don’t expect an easy walk in the park if playing from those tees.
A round here starts with five par four holes, the toughest of which is the left doglegged 4th, played across the brook that runs through the course to a three-tiered green which is well protected by three large, menacing bunkers.
The 448-yard 8th is another fine par four on the front nine, where the brook comes into play again and a little gully eats into the right side of the fairway as it climbs gently uphill towards a blind green perched on top of a ridge.
On the back nine, the par three 14th is the pick of the short holes, with a back-to-front sloping green positioned behind the brook, while the 472-yard 18th provides a strong finish to the round as the tree-lined fairway narrows considerably on its way to the home green.
Neil Coles & Associates recently consulted at the club and the design firm oversaw a bunker renovation.
November 17, 2006