Ben, my golf relations assistant, has just driven up in his buggy to check on my well being. “How you coping with the course Mr. Mossack?” Perhaps he’s just spotted me pulling one into the nearby lake, so I cover quickly. “all good here Ben, thanks. Loving it.” Ben smiles and drives off. It’s an impressive example of Golf at The Grove.
Not content with letting the course speak for itself, the service and support are the added ingredients that make the whole golf experience here a little bit special. As it is entitled to be with green fees from £155-£199 depending on the time and the day.
The Levy brothers have turned this corner of Hertfordshire into a haven of luxury living. The Grove hotel is the centrepiece, an 18th century mansion amid 300 acres of rolling countryside with Colette’s at The Grove, its fine dining restaurant a more than worthy support act.
But it is Golf at The Grove that makes up the triumvirate. A golf course without the safety net of a club membership to fall back on, it is still a public course, yet good enough to host the British Masters in October 2016.
Designed by Kyle Philips and opened in 2003, it does Hertfordshire’s hills proud, utlising every bit of rolling contour and valley to carve out a golf course that simply feels so natural. .
It’s around the greens and run offs where there has been cosmetic tinkering, making many of them devilishly difficult to score well if you’re short, long or miss on either side. In other words miss the green at your peril.
Talking of greens they are normally super quick too, but on this occasion, as they’re being readied for the fast approaching British Masters, I’m spared the ignominy of three putting on all but two.
There are more than a few stand out holes for me. The 3rd hole Hoggery, a par 4 stroke index 1 at 446 yards which hosts Devil’s Lake sitting just in front of the green. Enough said. The 4th, Boathouse, a slightly uphill par 3 with a snaking stream along the front that catches anything short. Even at just 127 yards off the forward Grove tees I found it mighty challenging. The back tees are 210 yards, you have been warned. The Greenhouse 11th is a dog leg par 5 and a perfect risk/reward hole with a green protected on its left side by multiple bunkers.
As I play a majestically lucky tee shot at the par 3 16th, the aptly named Mausoleum, Ben’s back.
“Thanks, been hitting them like that all morning.”
I lie so well I’m almost believing it myself.
“Anything you need?” He asks
I don’t have the courage to tell him I’m on my last ball.
Thankfully, I stroll off the 18th still in possession of a ball and then my clubs disappear right before my very eyes.
“Just sending your clubs off to be cleaned Mr. Mossack”
So with spotlessly clean clubs and some fond memories, I stop in at the nearby Stables Bar for a well-deserved cool drink and watch the activity on the first tee.
This is an expensive round of golf, but the question you have to ask yourself is, is it value for money?
Golf at the Grove comes with all the trimmings; it is manicured to perfection, you are treated like royalty and I have to admit, I was a little start struck. Many famous names have trodden these fairways, including the England team who stayed here just before the European Championships. I am led to believe. But less said about that the better.
So, yes, if you want to be a pampered golfer, and play on velvety greens and fairways, it is well worth the admission.
But regarding that business with Ben, well that’s just between us.
All images (c) The Grove
Tell me more about Golf at The Grove
18 hole Championship course
7,152 yards par 72
Golf at The Grove, London Country Estate, Chandler’s Cross, Rickmansworth, WD3 4TG Tell:+44(0)1923807807
Tee Time Reservations: +44 (0)1923 294266
Green fees from £130 and will depend on time of year and peak or off peak.
Hotel residents enjoy a small discount.