Located a mile or so to the northwest of Barnet, Dyrham Park Country Club is set majestically in a 200-acre Hertfordshire estate that dates back to Elizabethan times. The current listed 19th century manor house was restored in the 1960s and is now the grand centrepiece of a golf club that has serious aspirations.
C.K. Cotton laid out the golf course at Dyrham Park Country Club in 1963 and it stretches to 6,428 yards from the back tees. Accuracy rather than sheer length is required, but the gauntlet is thrown down right from the off where your driving will be tested while negotiating four holes that measure in excess of 400 yards – and only one of these is a par five, after the club changed the 4th to a two-shot hole. An interesting and rather unusual blind tee shot waits at the par four 3rd, requiring a solid strike over a series of sculpted hedges on line with a fairway marker post.
If your card is intact after the opening four holes, you can give yourself a pat on the back and settle into a thoroughly engaging parkland test that features a number of water holes. If your driving is on song, you’ll love the “signature” 7th hole at Dyrham Park. This old fashioned short par four asks serious questions and tempts the bigger hitters to take the direct line to the green… the risk is a 200-yard carry over the lake… the reward is a short pitch to a raised green that cants from front to back.
Recent renovations to the 11th and 13th holes have seen the introduction of two impressive new lakes that provide genuine and daunting challenges to golfers of all handicaps. These two new water hazards each measure 1,500 and 2,000 square metres respectively, creating a high degree of risk and reward as well as looking spectacular. The par three 11th also sports a new teeing area, complete with sleepered wall and a new green raised more than ten feet above its original level, making this one-shot hole one of the more daunting and exciting in the area. Greens at both the 3rd and 10th holes have also recently been rebuilt to USGA standards.
The aquatic hazard at 13 starts a sequence of three further water holes, which are considered to be Hertfordshire’s answer to Augusta’s Amen Corner.
“The Loop”, as it is known locally, is the original watery stretch of holes from 14 to 16, situated at the eastern extremity of the property. The back tee stretches the 14th to more than 200 yards and it must be a knee trembler for those playing in the monthly medal as golfers peer through a narrow chute of trees, across a lily pond to where the small green, ringed with bunkers, waits patiently – most golfers will not need their pitch mark repairer on this hole. Careful club selection is required on 15 as the doglegged fairway on this par four tips towards water. Accuracy is also the order of the day on the short par four 16th, as the fairway slopes down to trees on the left and a stream protects the green to the left and the back. Dyrham Park Country Club may at first glance appear modern, but the club has strong tradition, a grand clubhouse and an underrated golf course at its heart.