Sandy Lodge - Hertfordshire - England

Sandy Lodge Golf Club,
Sandy Lodge Lane,
Northwood,
HA6 2JD,
England


  • +44 (0) 1923 825429

  • David Griffin

  • Harry Vardon

  • Jeff Pinsent

Founded in 1910 and often described as an inland links, Sandy Lodge Golf Club was designed by Harry Vardon and is one of Hertfordshire’s jewels.

“It deserves its name in that it is wonderfully sandy.” Wrote Bernard Darwin in The Golf Courses of the British Isles. “It is a fine training-ground for the driver, and also for the putter, for there are no better greens near London.” More than one hundred years later, Darwin’s comments still hold true.

Sandy Lodge was formed by a frustrated London businessman called James Francis Markes who was tired of playing golf on the muddy parks around the capital. Markes soon realised that the land at Sandy Lodge Farm was perfect golfing country and he enlisted his close friend and six-time Open champion, Harry Vardon, to fashion a golf course.

The result was a wide-open, windswept, inland course that resembled a seaside links and Sandy Lodge remained that way until the outbreak of the Second World War when it was turned over to grazing. Fortunately, the course was restored after the war, but unfortunately large sandy waste areas were grassed over and tree and shrub growth ensued, changing the look and feel of Sandy Lodge.

Despite its changed outer look, the Sandy Lodge golf course remains true to its original roots. It may not be the longest golf course in the area – measuring a little less than 6,500 yards from the back tees – but it’s still a fair and enjoyable challenge for golfers of all levels.

With six par threes and five par fives on the scorecard, there is no shortage of variation at Sandy Lodge. The pick of the half-dozen one-shot holes is the long, downhill 15th called Markes’ Pride which is ringed by a quartet of bunkers and numerous trees. Laddie’s Cockpit, the 7th, in contrast to 15, is a bunkerless par three but it’s a very attractive one shotter that requires careful club selection in order to mark par on the scorecard.

Sandy Lodge is a not only genuinely sandy, it’s also a very hospitable club and the membership is very fortunate to have such a lovely course to tee it up on every week.
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Reviews for Sandy Lodge

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Founded in 1910 and often described as an inland links, Sandy Lodge Golf Club was designed by Harry Vardon and is one of Hertfordshire’s jewels. Rating: 4.2857142857143 out of 6 Reviews: 7

Sandy Lodge is a course with tight, firm fairways and lots of interest throughout its 18 holes. When I played here in March the course was in fabulous condition, it was extremely dry underfoot and the greens were nicely paced and true.

There are many unusual features that elevate this course, situated near Watford inside the M25, towards being one of the most enjoyable I have played in this area.

The wooden sleepered bunkers found at the second and 10th give the course character and it’s a shame there weren’t more of these throughout the round. Incidentally, and regardless of the bunker-style, these are two of the best holes on the course. The latter in particular is a truly exceptional short hole with a deviously raised green.

The course ends with the loveliest par three played across a large depression to a wickedly sloping green flanked by trees and defended by spectacle type bunkers.

Sandy Lodge is never going to be recognised as one of the UK’s great courses but it perhaps deserves slightly higher recognition than it appears to get.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

3 / 6
Sandy Lodge
March 08, 2017


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Had the pleasure of playing at Sandy Lodge recently on a cold but bright winter’s day. The course was slightly wet underfoot and we were playing off the winter tees, but given there was no run, I suspect it played no shorter than it might in the summer (albeit the lack of rough perhaps made things slightly easier). Although playing from winter tees, this actually made things no easier as two par 5’s became long par 4’s (1 & 17), although it did take some (but not all) of the fairway bunkering out of play.The course starts with a series of tough par 4’s (1, 2, 4, 5 and 6) with 2 & 5 being particularly notable. This then leads to a mid-section of good variety. The best holes here in my opinion being the 7th and 10th (both excellent par 3’s and the par 5 11th (a fabulous 3 shotter, into the wind on the day we played). The finish is tough, with 14, 15 & 16 all playing much longer than their yardage suggested on the day we played, whilst still giving excellent variety (particularly the par 3 15th). The 17th (being played as a par 4 as mentioned) is a real brute, and the course closes out with an attractive uphill par 3 flanked by mature trees.There’s a lovely open feel to most of the land, and it’s a relatively easy walking course, making for a relatively speedy round. Sandy Lodge has a traditional clubhouse near the 1st tee / 18th green as well as a driving range, short game area and a great putting green also close by. It was in great shape for this time of year, and considerably drier than many others in North London given the recent rain. Overall a lovely experience, and excellent value at this time of year. I look forward to coming back and seeing it in the summer.
4 / 6
Sandy Lodge
February 25, 2015


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Sandy Lodge may never quite be good enough to make the English Top 100 but it is without doubt a very enjoyable round of golf and one of Hertfordshire’s better courses. The attractive clubhouse and all year round playability must be a good selling point for prospective new members particularly following such a wet winter. The routing and design of the course certainly stands up to scrutiny and has a nice balance of challenging long holes and shorter birdie chances. After a friendly opening par-5 the 2nd is an early favourite of mine with an attractive sleepered bunker sitting 40 yards short of the raised green. The 5th and 6th are where the course really begins to show it’s teeth, both long par-4’s, the 5th heavily bunkered with a tricky two-tier green and the 6th measures over 450 yards with even more difficult slopes to navigate when putting. The 7th interestingly named “Laddie’s Cockpit” is a cracking par-3 that doesn’t have any bunkers but is beautifully framed by a number of mounds. The 8th is another par-3, this time only 100 yards long but par cannot be guaranteed due again to the severe contouring of the green. After another good short hole at 10, complete with plateau green, we come to the well designed 11th. Cross bunkers 50 yards out provide a thought provoking risk and reward option followed by a downhill approach to an attractive green located in an amphitheatre of trees. The 12th is a fine dogleg hole where you must drive over large mounds and the 13th is a short par 4 where gorse, bunkers and another undulating green mean achieving par can never be certain. The 15th is a beautiful but difficult 200 yard par-3 with plenty of sand to catch any ball that is not perfectly struck. Then we come to the wonderful 17th which is by some margin my favourite hole on the course. Bunkers narrow the landing area from the tee as the fairway gently rises and curves left to a wonderfully positioned green. Finding the correct part of the green is important here as a large tier divides the front from the much lower back half. If I lived within a few miles of Watford I would be more than happy to be a member at Sandy Lodge. Four and a half balls would be about right here so I have gone with five. Brian W
5 / 6
Sandy Lodge
March 21, 2014


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Played here on a bright November day - the course was in excellent condition, dry underfoot despite the incessants rains of the previous few weeks. A proper test of golf - some excellent par 4s, strong par 3s and quick, tricky greens. I would rate this higher up the pecking order in Hertfordshire - its a gem.
5 / 6
Sandy Lodge
November 14, 2013


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First thing to mention here is that if I lived locally and was looking to join a club, Sandy Lodge would be high on the list of possibilities. The main reasons being that the course variety and its challenge are obvious, the extensive warm-up facilities, the club atmosphere and because of the sand-based land the course stays open for several weeks longer than other local courses during the now regular long English winter, with no temporary tees or greens either – sales pitch over! My recent visit was some seven years after my first and I had a very enjoyable time; the course for me is not just one of two halves but one of five different stories …. Let me explain; the first four holes are there for the taking in terms of scoring, Sandy Lodge Golf Course - Photo by reviewerwe should all play to handicap or better. Two long and tough par-4’s at the 5th and 6th bite back and then we move to my ‘third’ part of the course. This must be pretty rare, three par-3’s in four holes and it is the middle one of these, the ultra-short 8th at only 100 yards known as the ‘Wee One’ that may just catch you out. Obviously nothing too tricky about a 100 yard shot but this green has some fantastic slopes as protection, they do not look that distinct but they will test even the best putter. The next collection of holes; 11-15 are strong with plenty of variation (two par-5’s, two par-4’s and a par-3 at the 15th) – oh, do make a stop at the welcoming halfway-hut before the 12th tee. We move to another great part of the course for the last three holes; a testing drive on the par-4 16th with out-of-bounds on the left and a fairway sloping left to right, which means many shots will be in the right rough or even in one of the two ‘perfectly’ placed bunkers. The 17th is my favourite hole; an uphill right to left sweeping par-5 with a wonderful tree lined left-side to the hole and then a two-tier green. The final hole is another par-3 and this is very strong; around 150 yards and basically all carry over the ravine and named “Jacob’s Gable” after ex club-pro and renowned golf coach John Jacobs, he once lived behind the 18th green and the top of his house was always the ideal line.
5 / 6
Sandy Lodge
April 28, 2013


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Pleasant course which given the amount of par 5's and Par 3's could be a good course to score on. Greens are superb and place has a nice feel without blowing you away. Green fee is 50 quid which was about right given proximity to London. Would play again
4 / 6
Sandy Lodge
May 30, 2011


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If Sandy Lodge had a little more acreage it would one of the best courses inside the M25. The only downside to the course is that the holes are a little too crowded together. However, having said that, it’s one of my favourite London courses with big bunkers and excellent greens. It is not on the grand scale of its next-door neighbour, Moor Park, but it has charm and intimacy. The largest bunker on the course is similar to that at the Cape at Royal North Devon, except here at Sandy Lodge it comes into play for the approach rather than the drive. Aptly called Sleepers it represents a fearsome hazard so early in the round. The bunkerless par three 7th is a cracker of a hole that has to be played with finesse when the ground is hard and fast otherwise you’ll be OOB. 15 is another great one-shot hole to a green with a false front that requires a running links-like shot unless you can land the ball by parachute. 17, the signature hole, called Mount Vardon, is a wonderful sweeping par five with a narrow fairway and a tricky-to-hold two-tier green. It’s always a pleasure to play Sandy Lodge and I look forward to playing this quintessential English gem again in the not too distant future.
4 / 6
Sandy Lodge
May 23, 2011


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