The London Golf Club is situated in rolling countryside close to Ash Green and the historic Brands Hatch motor racing circuit. The late Sir Denis Thatcher – husband of the former Prime Minister Margaret – opened the club in September 1993. But the official course opening took place in July 1994 and was marked by a Charity Challenge Skins Match on the Heritage. Jack Nicklaus – the Heritage course designer – battled with Seve Ballesteros and Tony Jacklin. Seve’s magical short game eventually helped him to edge Jack out with ten skins to eight. Tony was an also-ran.
The Heritage course is the realisation of the dream of businessman Masao Nagahara who felt that there was a need for a world-class golf club within close proximity of the capital. Nicklaus designed the Heritage with five sets of tees and if you can get a game on this private members course there is bound to be a tee for your ability. The sister course – called the International – is almost as good as the Heritage and it's more accessible, proving to be a popular corporate venue.
With wide generous fairways, the Heritage is a course that tempts you to reach for the driver on many tees, but the key to good scoring is in your approach play. The huge USGA greens are well protected by enormous irregularly shaped bunkers which wait to catch the wayward shot. Naturally, Nicklaus has used water as a feature on a number of holes and perhaps one of the best examples of a water hazard is on the par five 5th where a lake edged in stonework guards the green. There are two drop zones on the excellent par three 7th indicating that the lake is a serious problem and the custodian of hundreds of golf balls. But perhaps the best water hole of all comes at the short par four 13th which requires an iron off the tee and then a short iron approach across the lake to a narrow green that slopes away from you. It’s a cracker.
The Heritage course was the venue for the 2008 European Open, which saw England's Ross Fisher cruise to a stunning seven-shot victory. Frenchman and world number 449 Christian Cevaer was a shock one-shot winner of the 2009 European Open, which was again staged on the Heritage course. Tornament golf returned to the London Golf Club in 2014 in the shape of the World Matchplay Championship, but this flagship event was played on the International course rather than the Heritage, with Mikko Ilonen beating Henrik Stenson 3&1 to claim the title.
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Average Reviewers Score:
A day at the London Club is a memorable experience with two excellent courses to test your skills. After a quick look around the impressive clubhouse our day began on the Heritage Course which is generally regarded as the superior layout. I wouldn't describe American style parkland as my favoured type of golf but the Heritage is certainly a quality layout with bold bunkering and superb greens. There is water to contend with on six holes adding plenty of excitement to what is already a stiff challenge. The two par-3's on the front nine are both very good, the 3rd being downhill with water on the left and the 7th, all carry over a lake with bunkers waiting behind. The four greens that are approached over lakes are impressive, all are raised well above the water and fronted by attractive stonework. The 5th and 8th are both good par 5's, the former is another protected by water and on the latter a tree in the middle of the fairway needs to be negotiated with your approach. The 9th is possibly the pick of the par-4's on the front nine as the raised green is protected by deep bunkers on both sides. On the back nine, the 12th is a good risk and reward par-5 where you must avoid the trees on the right before deciding whether to attack a green situated amongst a cluster of bunkers. My favourite hole on the back nine though is the picturesque 13th, less than 300 yards from the yellow tee but a great short par-4. A lay-up short of the water is necessary for all but the longest of hitters. The 18th provides a tough finish with another lake to be avoided from the tee, leaving a difficult approach to a well defended raised green. Well worth your time and money if you get the chance to play here. Brian W
Have now played The Heritage twice. Its a big Nicklaus style US course which is like marmite. Some will love it and others, like me, detest it. Yesterday the rough was penal and the fairways narrow and this coupled with the super slick greens and high winds caused chaos. My favourite hole wa the 10th, a dog leg right protected b a lake to the left.
The clubhouse is loud, large and completely souless. Its not really a golf club at all as it s really designed for the travelling businessman.
I was lucky enough to play this course on a beautiful sunny day in June with only a slight breeze, which is rare for The London Club. I've played the International before and had wanted to get onto the members only Heritage course for some time and it was worth the wait. It has much more charm to it, with some lovely risk reward holes. The condition was excellent and I wasn't bothered by the sandy driving range, I still get a kick from warming up off turf to be honest. What I haven't experienced before was how the fairway bunkers were created, they were a hazard but were compact and firm enough to clip the ball away and make some decent yardage. Overall, a friendly club with great facilities and two good golf courses. I think the Heritage deserves to be a few places higher than its International sister though
First thoughts are that this is a fantastic club - friendly, down to earth, but not ott. The driving range was in a shocking state (again) with so much sand that hitting an iron was a nightmare (even for an 8 handicap). The course itself is a fantastic layout by Mr. Nicklaus, with no two holes similar, and a lot of risk and reward holes - the par 5s are one of the best collections in the county. Wide fairways, but demanding green complexes - bring your best course managment! Condition was very good, but the greens were rather slow for this time of year (about 9 on the stimpmeter). The course is based on chalk, so the ball doesn't sit up quite as well as some of the sandier tracks in Surrey. Although a very good course, it doesn't classify as great. Having seen the revamped Wentworth a week before, and having played the Berkshire and the Wisley, this course is a league or two below, but definitely worth playing if you have some luck (member's guest) or some money...
Played the International (for 2nd time) and Heritage in the same week. The Heritage is a superb course, vastly superior to the International. The tees, fairways, bunkers and especially the greens were in immaculate condition. As a corporate member, i will definitely be back to play the Heritage. The clubhouse is top notch and service is fantastic. Well worth the visit and its rating should be higher than it currently is. Much higher.
After years of waiting patiently, I finally managed to get a game on the Heritage. I had high expectations as I've played the International on a number of occasions and that's a super course. Frankly a little disappointed with the Heritage despite playing to handicap. The water holes are really good and agree that the 13th is one of the best short par fours around but for me there is not enough variation for me to rate this higher. I enjoyed my game but expected a bit more. Nicely conditioned course and a fantastic clubhouse with excellent service.
A wonderful course that was in immaculate condition when I played it recently. Generous fairways that were like fringe greens,big bunkers mostly grouped and located in the perfect postion to swallow up your ball, whether you are playing from the back tees or the front ones. Large greens in top condition, no bobbles here.
Plenty of memorable holes,5th and 7th with water carries. 10th tough approach to an elevated green guarded by large bunkers. 12th offering two ways into the green, one bold one safe and a lovely 18th to finish.
I could quite easily get used to playing this course week in week out.
Beautifully carved new course in fine condition. Only for members and their guests which is a shame but if you get the chance take it. Ultra modern style and this is top end of the new courses. The bunkering is superb and these greens, wow – if you miss putts here, it’s your fault as these are fantastically true. There are six holes that feature water and the bunkering at the greens is worth a mention with some having seven bunkers as protection. There are a lot of special holes on this course, favs for me par-3 7th all carry over the lake and the short par-4 13th again approach to the green over another lake (thanks Mr. Nicklaus). The experience at the London club is to be remembered, on and off the course you are well looked after. Hope to play the International here soon – some say it’s as good – Cant wait to try.
The Heritage is a nice course and is marginally better than the International. The Hertiatge is tough to get on but I played here with a member and found it a tough track which plays two or three shots harder than you think. Clubhouse lacks any atmosphere and it feels a bit soulless but the courses are worth playing if you're into Nicklaus designs.