Welwyn Garden City - Hertfordshire - England

Welwyn Garden City Golf Club,
Mannicotts,
High Oaks Road,
Welwyn Garden City,
Hertfordshire,
AL8 7BP,
England


  • +44 (0) 1707 325243

  • David Spring

  • F. G. Hawtree

  • Stuart Mason


Welwyn Garden City was one of the first “new” towns to be developed in England and it’s the second oldest Garden City in the country, predated only by Letchworth. The town of WGC, as it is known in abbreviation, is set only twenty-five miles to the north of central London, but in tune with the garden city movement, this self-contained town is surrounded by greenbelt countryside. On the west side of town, close to the A1M, is where you’ll find the famous Welwyn Garden City Golf Club, which was founded in 1923.

In the early years, the club played on a 9-hole course, which gradually developed into a full 18-hole layout under the architectural guidance of Fred Hawtree. Today’s course measures a modest 6,096 yards from the back tees, but Welwyn Garden City’s par of 70 is tough to better, unless your name is Nick Faldo.

The opening hole is a 466-yard par four card-wrecker and a brutal start to what is, on the whole, a very enjoyable and playable parkland course. On the 1st tee, take aim at the oak tree and the middle of the fairway bunker (which is not in play for most golfers) and try to find the gap in the centre of a skin-tight fairway, which bottlenecks at the landing area. Not many golfers find the perfect spot for an approach to the narrow green, guarded by a large bunker on the right and another short and left… even fewer will walk off this first green marking a four on the card.

The front nine progresses in a more genteel fashion until the 441-yard par four 9th is reached. Making par here on this demanding, tight, stroke index 1 is the exception rather than the norm.

It’s surprising to find a 600-yard hole on a course that doesn’t boast great length, but the par five 17th, considered by many to be the signature hole at Welwyn Garden City Golf Club, is a genuine three shotter for almost every golfer. From the tee, the fairway cants from right to left at the landing area towards ominous out-of-bounds. The second shot must miss a fairway bunker in order to leave an approach to a bunkerless green – but mind the pond to the left and avoid the bunker some 30 yards short of the green, which plays visual tricks. Trust the yardage and aim for the centre of the green.

Overall the golf at Welwyn Garden City is very enjoyable, with varied, entertaining holes and delightfully undulating topography. It also seems to be a proving ground for champions. WGC is the home of Sir Nick Faldo, who plied his trade here, and also, more recently, Walker Cup player and Tour professional Tom Lewis came through the garden city ranks. Presumably there’s something special in the Welwyn Garden City water.
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Description: Welwyn Garden City Golf Club is where Nick Faldo learnt his trade as a youngster and the golf course is a tricky, tight layout that undulates through delightful parkland. Rating: 4 out of 6 Reviews: 1

What a pleasant surprise … there are many parkland courses in Hertfordshire and the area south of the county on the way into London and WGC is one of the better ones and I would recommend a visit. I would imagine that if you play here once, it will not be your only time. The 1st hole is a beauty and a candidate for the best opening hole in Herts; a par-4 at 466 yards with a split fairway that narrows halfway to the hole and with a stroke-index of 3, bogey is a good score for most. The next three holes are fun to play and there are definite scoring chances at the par-3 3rd (135 yards) and the short par-4 4th (340 yards)… In my opinion, the par-3 5th needs a little work, it is just not a good looking hole. In complete contrast, the par-5 6th is very strong, at 525 yards and with a couple of slight dog-legs, this is the pick of the three long holes on the course. I like the 8th hole too; the shortest par-4 on the course at 315 yards but a big sloping fairway from left to right is the big protection. The run of three holes from the 9th are good without standing out but hold on, the next five are fantastic. To play these, the Brockswood Lane has to be crossed and here the five holes seem to be in a small world of their own – there is not a lot of yardage here; 12th at 187, 13th at 280, 14th at 198, 15th at 336 and the 16th at 305 but I dare you to play this set of holes without a smile on your face. Back across the lane for the last two holes, a monster par-5 at 600 yards and then a testing par-3 to finish. I look forward to my next round here and I would say that the current ranking (24th) in a very competitive county is a little low, the back-end of the Top 20 is very achievable – decent atmosphere around the club too.
4 / 6
Welwyn Garden City
September 30, 2014


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