Set within a former 325-acre deer park, the 18-hole course at The Warren Golf & Country Club started out in 1902 when the owner, H.W. Thomson, created a 9-hole layout as a private course for his enjoyment and that of his guests.
When Thomson died in 1934, the estate passed on to Fred Durham Sr. who expanded the layout, converting the farm buildings into a clubhouse, and starting a formal membership.
The golfing element on the estate grew over the years so that it now includes a 9-hole track called the Bunsay course and a delightful little par three 9-holer called Badgers.
The Warren course extends to 6,228 yards, playing to a par of 70. With no par fives (and only one par three) on the on front nine, the outward half plays to a par of 35. The only par five holes on the shorter back nine arrive late in the round, at the 16th and 18th.
Highlight holes include the short par four 3rd (“Death or Glory”), the tough par four 6th (“Chestnut Drive”), and the even more difficult 9th (“Sand Hills”).
On the back nine, the shortest of the three par threes at the 151-yard 17th (“The Well Hole”) features three bunkers on the left side of the green to help protect par.
This course is far too low in the Essex rankings. It’s an undulating course that gets off to a cracking start with a strong downhill par 4 that plays across a small pond to a tiny green. A scary first approach shot!
Some people may not enjoy the crossing fairways on the next hole but I quite enjoyed the quirkiness. Hole 4 was a particular favourite with a great approach into a tricky green from an elevated fairway.
The par 3s are all strong and difficult - hole 10 in particular - a long iron into a tiny target with tall trees on both sides. I was happy with a bogey!
Overall, this is a delightful course that was in great condition when I played. It’s not a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination but 20th is definitely not a fair representation in the Essex rankings for this hidden gem.