Situated just outside Brentwood, South Essex Golf Club is in the fortunate position of having three returning 9-hole loops in operation. The Heron nine is the most challenging of the three circuits and these holes are matched up with the Hawk nine to form the 18-hole “championship” layout which measures 6,755 yards from the tips.
The trio of holes on the Heron course at 6, 7 and 8 comprise “Barn Wood Corner” and they’re the most scenic on this nine, routed around Barn Wood and bringing three water features into play. The par three 8th is the signature hole on the layout, extending to 243 yards from the elevated competition tees.
The Hawk course weaves gently through attractive parkland and around established woodlands. The home stretch begins at the 7th, the most demanding par four on the 27-hole complex, with a fairway sloping steeply from left to right. The closing hole is a tough par five which plays to a two-tiered green positioned next to the clubhouse.
I've been playing South Essex for many years and the current investment in the club is really beginning to notice. A new clubhouse, buggy paths and GPS buggys and carts are a great and welcome addition.
The course when I last played (30-03-21) was in great condition - as to be expected as no one had played on in for 3 months, but I would say I thought the greens would have been slightly better but the roll was still very good.
The par 5's are some of the toughest you will play. Only the 10th is ever reachable in 2 and that is for the biggest hitters. A tough but really enjoyable course - par 3's aren't the greatest, all pretty stright forward but no two holes are the same. I really enjoy playing here.
(facilities and staff are worthy of a higher ranking but we can only judge on the course alone)
I can’t help but feel that this is a course with a lot of potential that never quite lives up to it. There are a lot of interesting holes across some interesting and undulating land - holes 3, 7, 12, 13 and 14 are all very strong holes and 18 is a cracking finish). There are also some solid holes in between that offer plenty of variety and a lot of fun.
Where the course is let down is the conditioning of the course. The greens are not great, bunker quality is poor in places and it’s quite hard to play a round here in under five hours.
It offers a good value course for those who aren’t too bothered around those finer points and the sport needs these courses that offer cheap green fees for golfers but still offers an interesting track. However, for me, that lack of TLC will always keep this course back - with a bit of investment, this course could easily be a 4 ball rating.