Sundridge Park Golf Club is situated close to the city centre of London, within the suburbs of Bromley, a mere 25-minute commute from London Bridge train station. Even though it’s something of a hidden gem, this splendid 36-hole facility is easily accessible by car via the M25 motorway which is located 16 miles further south east at Swanley.
Established in 1901, Sundridge Park operates two 18-hole championship layouts. The shorter Willie Park Junior-designed West course is more than a hundred years old and the newer East course was fashioned by Sir Guy Campbell and C. K. Hutchinson, shortly after the club merged with Elmstead Woods in 1929, allowing the development of a second 18-hole track.
The East course was officially opened on 18th April 1931 with a 36-hole exhibition match between Abe Mitchell and Henry Cotton. During World War II, the layout suffered serious bomb damage but it soon recovered and was used for a few big charity events before it then hosted more prestigious tournaments like the Southern Professional and Kent Amateur Championships.
Today, the course extends to 6,532 yards, playing to a par of 71, with tree-lined fairways set out on gently undulating terrain. The River Quaggy cuts across the line of play at holes 3, 4 and 5 though the most challenging hole on the front nine is the 414-yard 7th, which rises gently from the tee to an offset green that runs away from front to back.
On the inward half, the tough par four 14th – with its fairway sloping markedly from right to left towards the river – has ruined many a good score. There’s no room to relax at the right doglegged 18th either, because the final hole narrows to a pond on the right of the fairway before veering right and uphill to the home green.
It's been a little while since I played Sundridge Park, but I remember enough to write a simple review. The setting is really good for a parkland - undulating with very well matured trees - but the only thing holding back the East is the design. I'd say the course is challenging enough but the course needs a few more bunkers to really push its way higher up the county rankings. It also, while featuring many lovely holes (holes 3, 8 and 13 are great), lacks a real standout hole. I felt that no. 13 had a nice greensite and some nice undulations to go with it, but the tee shot needed more protection. Having said that it's a lot of fun and well worth a look if in the area.
The two courses at Sundridge Park fly a little under the radar in terms of rankings but this club is very strong indeed as are both courses. The current ranking for the East is #10 and the West is #19 in county; I would have them both a little better than this and definitely much closer to each other. The East has a stronger set of 18 holes but the West has some better holes without a doubt.
The 4th hole is very good; a tough 415 yard hole that turns left but with the camber of the fairway sloping right – not an easy par at all. The 8th hole is another favourite of mine – here is a tree-lined big dog-leg to the right from an elevated tee, this hole is fun and quality at the same time which is probably what every golfer wants.
Two par-3’s at the 9th and 11th are pretty holes, with the 11th the shortest of the one shotters – nb a nice halfway house pitstop after the 9th should not be missed.
The final third of the East, in fact from the 12th onwards is just a really strong stretch, many more tree-lined holes that ooze quality. Like the West course here, the East’s final hole stays in the memory for a while – elevated tee, turning a little right and then uphill to the green, with a good looking lake about a 100 yards out on the right to contend with.
I give the East and the West courses at Sundridge Park 4-ball ratings but both are strong ones – if there was a chance to combine the best holes from both courses, then this would be an easy 5-ball rating.
A day at the club to play both courses is well recommended.