Golf Societies in Kent
There are plenty of Golf Societies in Kent for those who enjoy playing multiple courses and depending on how often they play, can visit as many as 24 courses a year.
With many courses changing hands in recent months, following the recent surge in participation, many are re-investing in their venues.
In addition, many independent golfers or nomadic golfers of all persuasions, are keen to read TSGers recommendations.
There are more than 80 golf courses for Kent Golf Societies to play and with a good Motorway network including the M2, M20, M26 and A21, it is pretty easy to move around the county freely.
However, be warned – there are a number of ‘Private Members’ clubs in the county who are far from welcoming and some see nomadic golfers as second class citizens.
We say avoid these clubs and visit those with proven hospitality and a warm welcome.
With this said, we must also remind you that Kent is one of only a few counties in England that still hosts The OPEN championship and is home to the ‘holy trinity’ of golf clubs;
Royal St. Georges, Royal Cinque Ports (see below) and Princes, all of which have hosted the oldest Major golfing competition.
Golf Societies in Kent – Where to golf…
The London Club
The London Golf Club is well-known for its outstanding 36-holes of golf, but not so many are aware it was Jack Nicklaus who designed the courses.
Both provide the visiting golfer (some from all over the world) two golf courses of impeccable quality that both play well all year round.
In addition, it has an award-winning clubhouse, first-class hospitality and exceptional service, all set in 700 acres of idyllic Kent countryside, just 25 miles from Central London.
The club officially opened in July 1994, with the Charity Challenge Skins Match played on the Heritage Course. Jack Nicklaus battled with Steve Ballesteros and Tony Jacklin, but in the end, Steve’s magical short game helped him win. Since then both golf courses have hosted many Professional events.
The Heritage course is a Jack Nicklaus Signature design that bears all the hallmarks of the 18-time Major Champion.
Host to the 2008 and 2009 European Open, the course provides an exhilarating test for golfers of all abilities.
Maintained in pristine condition all year round, with fast-rolling greens and immaculately presented tee-boxes and fairways, the Heritage is rightly regarded as one of the country’s finest golfing experiences, perfect for golf societies in Kent wanting to make special memories.
The Heritage is a classic Jack Nicklaus course which forces you to consider every shot. Dramatic tee shots and daunting approaches make this course both memorable and challenging.
Exclusively for the use of members and their guests, the Heritage is maintained to the very best standards all-year round.
The International course is pure downland. Long grasses sway in an ever-changing breeze.
The course is naturally firmer and the quick undulating fairways force a links-style approach, while short holes over water provide dramatic respite.
This is undoubtedly one of the finest downland courses in Europe.
Fast, undulating fairways allow you to chase the ball into position.
The course is punctuated with exciting risk and reward tee shots over water that really get the heart pumping.
Home of the 2018 and 2019 Staysure PGA Seniors Championship, the course has hosted both the Volvo World Match Play Championship and Regional Open Qualifying.
This course proves a tough test for the most talented of golfers while providing the opportunity to shoot some great scores with a number of risk-reward holes.
Royal Cinque Ports
Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club is a Members’ Club with an 18 hole golf course, regarded by many as one of the finest in the world.
Located in the south-east corner of England it offers superb golf all year round.
Its fast-rolling fairways and superb greens have stood the test of time and provide a stiff challenge to lovers of links golf.
The East Kent Mercury (still in circulation today) in their column of 26th April 1890, reported that the idea of creating a golf club had been mooted, but it was another few years, on the 12th February 1892 that a group of men met at the Union Club, Walmer, for the purpose of establishing a golf club at Deal.
On March 8th, the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava was elected president and on March 31st Major General JM Graham was elected Captain. Also at this meeting, instructions were issued for plans for a Clubhouse to be submitted.
Subscriptions were set at 2 guineas and 10 life members were created for the princely sum of £50.
The Clubhouse was built in late 1892 and the building remains today, with a friendly and relaxed the atmosphere, the staff smiling and helpful and the quality excellent.
The original Links, constructed with such speed by Henry Hunter in 1892, has a 9-hole layout. It had the same greens on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd as exist today, although the tees were further forward and the holes therefore shorter.
Four years later, by the end of May 1896, plans to extend the course to 18 holes were submitted and in 1898, all was complete.
The reorganisation of the layout by Braid in 1919, following the ravages of World War 1, made 8 a new short hole, and created new holes at 10 and 11.
In addition, the modifications to 13, 14 and 15 are plain to see from a glance at the ‘Professional Opinions’ sketch created at the time.
Following World War II, Sir Guy Campbell, aided by Henry Cotton, restored the course substantially from that laid out by Hunter and Braid, and play recommenced in 1946.
King George VI bestowed its Royal mark on the club on the 5th September 1949.
The Club has been the scene of many Championships over the years, including two Open Championships in 1909 and 1920.
The course is protected by the sea wall but if the North wind starts blowing, this course is a real test of golf and in a prevailing wind, the last seven holes at Deal are reputed to be amongst the toughest in golf.
A recent review on The Social Golfer, by Editor Ian Mullins, gave it the thumbs up, even though he was required to wear long socks with shorts. He described the course, as Stunning, Beautiful and Sublime – high praise indeed. But a word of caution, a round at this course will set you back approx. £180 – £200!
Sundridge Park GC
Sundridge Park Golf Club is set in the beautiful and historic landscape of a Grade 1 listed Mansion, with both the 18-hole courses weaving their way through majestic woodland to provide a fair but true test of golf.
Sundridge Park Golf Club was established in 1901 and is located in Bromley, Kent. It is just seven miles from the City of London and is surrounded by history with the name ‘Sundridge’ first appearing as a locality in an Anglo-Saxon Charter dated AD 987.
The estate was owned by Sir Edward Scott from 1869 to his death in 1883.
He was well known as a breeder of pheasants and he often invited the Prince of Wales – later King Edward VII – to Sundridge Park for weekend shoots.
The estate passed to Sir Samuel Scott in 1883. In the summer of 1901, with the mansion empty and the estate being sold for development, a dozen far seeing Bromley men conceived the idea of a golf club for their town.
Sir Samuel offered a 21 year lease of 125 acres of land (now the West Course) on very favourable terms.
120 years later the club proudly boasts two magnificent championship courses, maintained in superb condition.
Designed by Willie Park Junior, and with later additions from world-renowned architect James Braid, the courses blend beautifully into the stunning historic parkland.
The River Kyd Brook cuts through the heart of the courses to provide an extra element of ‘risk and reward’ on many holes.
Although not long by modern standards, both courses measure over 6000 yards, but it is the quality of design that makes the challenge.
Undulating terrain, tree-lined fairways, well-placed bunkers and slick greens all mean that good strategy is key for low scoring.
Every hole provides a different challenge and, despite being just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s greatest cities, the courses provide a place of tranquillity and calm.
The East is an Open pre-qualifying course and is fair, but challenging; newcomers are often inspired by the stunning setting and quality of its true, consistent greens.
Of equal quality, The West is truly testing and enjoys commanding, panoramic views of London’s famous landmarks, encompassing Canary Wharf to the east and the Wembley Stadium Arch to the west.
In 2018, the club undertook a major refurbishment programme to the clubhouse interior and constructed a new terrace at a total cost of approx. £1m. Golf Societies in Kent take note, this is a great venue to host a golf day.
Wrotham Heath GC
Wrotham Heath Golf Club was established in 1906 and is a well-established heathland course.
The friendly club is well located with Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Maidstone all within a 15 minute drive and only minutes away from the M20 and M26 with good access to other parts of Kent and South East London.
The Clubhouse is an original Oast house which Kent is famous for and it has been hardly touched over the years.
The golf course itself is fairly short by today’s standards, at a little over 5,600 yards, but it plays much longer in reality.
The course has spectacular views across Kent and offers a challenge to golfers of all abilities. Furthermore, the course benefits from being on a free draining sandstone ridge which makes it the envy of many courses in the area, by being able to play golf all year on both greens and tees.
Wrotham Heath Golf Club‘s original course designer is unknown, although some say the first Club Professional, Len Job, was almost certainly responsible for its construction.
The course stayed almost frozen in time until the expansion to 18 holes came in the 1990s. It was around this time that golf was experiencing a boom time, and eminent course architect, Mr. Donald Steel, was commissioned to design the new holes. After only two years, the full course was opened for play in May 1995.
Since 1995, tees have been extended and a major woodland management program put in place. Reintegration of heather around the course is assisting in the restoration of the original heathland. Many golf societies in Kent have enjoyed a day out at this course.
TSGer Matt Coffey, wrote:
Established in 1895, Bearsted Golf Club is a ‘Members’ club. It is a superb 18 hole parkland course situated in the historic village of Bearsted, just 2 miles from Maidstone. Easily accessible from the M20 and 20 minutes from the M25, this course is easy to find.
The course, now over 125 years old, is renowned for its long challenging par fours, its beautiful tree-lined course and its warm welcome to visitors.
A Parkland course, this track is longish at over 6200 yards from the Yellow tees but if you plot your way around, you can score here. The fairways are well-maintained and the greens are superbly looked after, giving you a true test of golf and patience.
In two loops of nine holes, this mature course is unusual in that it starts and finishes with a par 3. It features some beautiful landscaped and challenging holes, many with excellent views of the North Downs and the beautiful surrounding Kent countryside.
The Club has a great bar and restaurant facilities with a lounge and spike bar where golfers and guests can enjoy a post-round drink overlooking the course.
Both bars open out onto a large veranda with views across the Par 3, 1st and 18th holes – perfect for a golf day or charity event.
Golf Societies in Kent – By Mark Crane
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