Just moments from a busy motorway, Rochester and Cobham Park is a wonderfully secluded oasis - Rob Smith reviews the course

Rochester and Cobham Park Course Review

For rather unclear (and possibly non-existent) reasons, despite having played all of Kent’s better-known courses and knowing that it had hosted Open Qualifying following a major course upgrade nearly 20 years ago, Rochester & Cobham Park was missing from my golfing CV until last Summer.

As I headed down the busy M2, I wondered whether the proximity of the traffic would be an issue. Happily, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The unusually long and private access road generates a real feeling of anticipation as you approach the large clubhouse overlooking the scenic and surprisingly peaceful course.

The opening loop of three holes consists of a tough par 4 which plays a little longer than it looks, the shortest hole on the course, and a well bunkered par 5 that may offer you the chance to get ahead of the game.

A good mid-iron at the par-3 second will offer a birdie chance

A good mid-iron at the par-3 second will offer a birdie chance

The 4th is a beautifully framed, tree-lined and potentially driveable par 4, and the par-5 5th takes you out to the most easterly part of the course.

The short but very sweet fourth hole

The short but very sweet fourth hole

There is an inviting drive at the next, a sweeping dogleg right where long and left is good, and the outward half concludes with another tough two-shotter to a narrow green.

The tough drive at the ninth suits a draw

The tough drive at the ninth suits a draw

The back nine begins with a very long par 5 where you can really open the shoulders and a short hole back in the opposite direction.

Fine views from the par-3 eleventh

Fine views from the par-3 eleventh

I was very taken with the SI1 12th which skirts round some trees as you work your way up to an excellent green site.

The twelfth calls for two good blows

The twelfth calls for two good blows

Another fine pair of par 4s follow this, a dogleg right and an attractively bunkered two-shotter where a pair of fives will probably be a more common occurrence than two pars.

The fourteenth green

The fourteenth green

At the 15th there is a rare on-course encounter with a traffic-control system – very sensible – and it is also arguably just as tough as the 12th as the approach requires a long carry up the slope to a very well-protected green.

Traffic lights at fifteen - not something you see every day!

Traffic lights at fifteen – not something you see every day!

The longest par 3 at sixteen is followed by the short but tricky drive-and-pitch 17th, and the round concludes with another testing, slight dogleg to the left and a large green overlooked by the clubhouse – a suitably strong finish to a strong course.

The closing hole is a strong two-shotter

The closing hole is a strong two-shotter

It took me way too long to get round to visiting this lovely course which I enjoyed including in my recent Golfer’s Guide to north-west Kent, and I plan to make up for lost time by returning to play there again this Summer.

The caterpillar of an emperor moth joined us on the 11th green

The caterpillar of an emperor moth joined us on the 11th green