Nestling in the London suburbs, the verdant course at Northwood is a lovely haven away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city

Northwood Golf Club Course Review

Courses Blog

While preparing a Golfer’s Guide to Middlesex for the June issue of Golf Monthly, I realised that I had played fewer than half of its courses. Wherever I went, a name that kept springing up was that of Northwood Golf Club, and I decided that I really should brave the M25 again to have a look at the design that many rate as the best in the county.

Conditions

A cool but sunny afternoon in early June

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The relatively small county of Middlesex is generally regarded as suburban and residential. Look more carefully, and there are some pockets of strong golf, not least the Tom Dunn/JH Taylor layout at Northwood. Following a snack lunch in the spacious clubhouse, I headed out onto the course which opens with a short par 4 that heads north-west to a beautifully sited green.

The gentle opening hole runs slightly right to left

The gentle opening hole runs slightly right to left

You then turn in the opposite direction to play the longest hole on the course, one of just two par 5s, which leads on to the very pretty third which should only require a short iron.

One of just three short holes, the attractive 3rd raises hopes of a two

One of just three short holes, the attractive 3rd raises hopes of a two

The next four holes serve up the toughest sequence on the course, all of them tough two-shotters where any teen-handicapper should be more than satisfied with four fives. I particularly liked the fifth which has a bunker on the corner of the dogleg before a long approach over a dip to another well-framed green.

Stoke Index one, the dogleg par-4 5th plays its full 464 yards

Stoke Index one, the dogleg par-4 5th plays its full 464 yards

The sixth also plays long and again calls for a carry over a dip which means that taking an extra club is advisable.

A gully short of the 6th will catch anything under-hit

A gully short of the 6th will catch anything under-hit

Seven has a tough drive where you need to stay left before another long approach down into the valley, and there is finally some respite at the two par 4s that close the front nine and lead you back to the clubhouse.

A bank of rough protects the approach at the drive and pitch 8th…

A bank of rough protects the approach at the drive and pitch 8th…

The back nine opens with yet another green that enjoys a lovely, natural setting, before the second long hole which works its way from right to left.

…as it does at the opening hole on the back nine

…as it does at the opening hole on the back nine

Twelve is another feature hole where the approach is particularly demanding. A ditch snakes its way in from the left and then hides itself behind the right-hand bunker to catch anything that makes it over; an excellent par 4.

The 12th runs right to left and is well protected by a stream and sand

The 12th runs right to left and is well protected by a stream and sand

A long par 3 and a gently rising par 4 are next, before the third and final short hole at fifteen which calls for an aerial approach over sand.

The final short hole is beautifully framed by tall trees

The final short hole is beautifully framed by tall trees

The 16th is another long par 4, bunkerless but calling for two very well struck shots, before the drive and pitch 17th which offers hopes of getting one back on the card.

An unusual drive at the penultimate hole - played over the approach to the greenkeeping compound

An unusual drive at the penultimate hole – played over the approach to the greenkeeping compound

The final hole is tree-lined all the way down the right, so the sensible shot is away from the trouble leaving a short- or mid-iron to the long green below the clubhouse.

The closing hole is best played to the left

The closing hole is best played to the left

Inside the slightly raised clubhouse where there are great views down over the course, there is a warm welcome with a good selection of food and drink. It had taken me a long time to get round to visiting Northwood which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary, but I am delighted I finally made it and can see why the course and club are considered to be among the very best in the area.

The revamped clubhouse provides excellent views out over the course

The revamped clubhouse provides excellent views out over the course