Located a mere 20 miles to the north of the capital and close to leafy Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, lies Brocket Hall Golf Club. With two courses named after Prime Ministers who used to reside at Brocket Hall, the Palmerston is the new kid on the block, opening for play in 2000.
Designed by Donald Steel and measuring a whopping 7,080 yards from the championship tees, the Palmerston is a real test. The course winds its way through the undulating estate where majestic specimen trees, including hornbeam, beech and pines create a feeling of intimacy and pose as impressive hazards. Steel’s design philosophy was to provide a top quality course with the least possible intrusion on the site. We think he has exceeded his objective with the Palmerston course and it’s probably just as well, because this is top quality land.
Unlike the older Melbourne course, the River Lea doesn’t come into play on the Palmerston course. Instead, there’s bold bunkering to contend with and, of course, avenues of trees. Steel has created a thinking man and women’s course where the golfer is presented with options. Central bunkers divide the 3rd fairway and the 4th tempts the big hitters to drive left, over a small hollow and across the corner of the dogleg. The short par five 9th is also tempting to attack in two shots, but cleverly positioned greenside bunkers await anything but the best struck approach shot.
Your approach shot on the par four 12th must negotiate an unusual chalk face which lies some 100 yards from the green. This really is a delightful hole, which requires pinpoint accuracy from the tee.Without doubt, Brocket Hall Golf Club is a classy and stylish place to play golf and the Palmerston course is a delightful contrast to the Melbourne. In many ways the Palmerston is reminiscent and just as good as Woburn’s Marquess course. Add in the famous Auberge du Lac restaurant and you’ve got a tasty venue.
Brocket Hall Golf Club (Palmerston course) was originally nominated as a Gem by Len and David and was added to the site on 22nd March 2005. The Palmerston course has since become a ranked course in our English Top 100. The original nomination comments from Len and David follow:
Len: “With its two championship courses and superb practice facilities Brocket Hall is a great set-up. I have played in excess of 300 courses including over 60 of those featured in the Top 100 and consider the Palmerston course at Brocket Hall to easily rank among the best inland courses in the British Isles.”David: “Superb tree lined setting, long testing course with good risk and reward holes, stunning.”
Just like Melbourne, which I played in the morning, the Palmerston disappointed me, especially because of the greens which were very, very slow. The course is showing some wear and will probably require some serious investment in the near future.