The Grove - Hertfordshire - England

The Grove,
Chandler's Cross,
Hertfordshire,
WD3 4TG,
England


  • +44 (0) 1923 294266

  • Anna Darnell

  • Kyle Phillips

  • Andy McMahon


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Grove

The Grove is one of the newest and most enterprising golf course projects recently undertaken in England. Designed by Kyle Phillips (the man behind Kingsbarns), the course opened for play in September 2003 to rave reviews and it's already considered by some to be the best course inside the M25. This is not your typical golf club. In fact, it isn’t a golf club at all – it’s a pay-and-play golf course open to everyone.

More than a decade on, it's a venture that seems successful. It was hard to imagine a course (and the facilities) of this quality without a club and associated members attached. The Grove has certainly attracted many pay-and-play guests and, what's more, they all receive an exceptionally friendly welcome. All the staff are focused on customer service and they will do their level best to cater for your every whim.

We played here first in mid January 2004 and we were staggered. Despite all the rain, the overall condition of the course was outstanding. We’ll actually go as far as to say that the Grove’s overall mid-winter state is better than the condition that many top courses achieve in late spring.

When you drive up the private road towards the “resort”, your first impression might be that you’ve arrived at a new upmarket municipal. The land itself appears uninspiring, fairly open, a few undulations but nothing much else. However, when you get out on the course itself, you immediately appreciate the quality and you quickly begin to acknowledge the design. Phillips has done a neat job, using the natural contours of the land in an understated way to create a discerning golf course. No doubt the Levy brothers, owners of the Grove, were delighted to host the 2006 World Golf Championships... this was the first time that the American Express event visited Britain and a certain Tiger dominated the field to claim the 2006 title.

Here's what Ernie Els had to say about The Grove after the 2006 WGC: "I loved The Grove. Let me tell you, it is very, very impressive. I would say it's the best-conditioned golf course in Europe, certainly from my experience. Everything was perfect; the course is great, the tees, fairways and greens were incredibly manicured and the practice facilities were amazing. And the food we had at the club all week was magnificent. This was the benchmark for how a tournament should be. It was that good."

Four large teeing areas on each and every hole cater for all golfing standards. Measuring a hefty 7,150 yards from the back tees to a leisurely 5,500 yards from the front tees. The raised undulating greens are simply fantastic, very fast and very true. There are no excuses for three putting here. However, if you miss the green with your approach shot, you can be faced with some very tricky recovery chip shots. The fairways are thickly grassed and very lush; the ball seems to sit proudly on top, giving the handicap golfer loads of confidence and every chance to make clean contact with the ball.

The Grove is certainly a course for the cognoscenti and it was back in the spotlight in October 2016 for the Luke Donald-hosted British Masters, which Sweden's Alex Noren won by two shots from Austria's Bernd Wiesberger.

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Reviews for The Grove

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Kyle Philips has done a neat job, using the natural contours of the land in an understated way to create The Grove...a discerning golf course. Rating: 4.4166666666667 out of 6 Reviews: 10

There is always something special to play golf here. The course condition, the service and the design are first class. It's just fun on the course. The tees, fairways and greens to play is for every golfer a pleasure. the design may not be spectacular, but definitely varied and interesting. The course plays relatively easy, the rough was not too high and the greens are in great shape. Compared to Brocket Hall, the course is not quite as beautiful as the tree population is not that outstanding, but overall The Grove offers even higher levels. All in all, a special day of high enjoyable golf that should be finished in The stables and will be remembered for a long time to come.

5 / 6
The Grove
April 13, 2018


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I remain bemused by the high rating The Grove is awarded every year. It's a decent course - condition is always good and the service is exceptional (though you certainly pay for it - see later.) However the course isn't remotely exceptional and there are far more forgettable than memorable holes - in particular the par 5s are dull. I must have played the course half a dozen times and can't remember more than 2-3 holes, which tells you most of what you need to know.

Overall its a very nice society day out, but anyone interested in playing it would be advised to do so at someone else's expense as both the green fee and food/beverages are exorbitant.

Better courses and clubs in Hertfordshire include Moor Park, Ashridge and my own favourite Hadley Wood. If you took a poll of Hertfordshire golfers I'd be very surprised if the majority didn't rate these as the best three, though the ranking order is a matter of personal taste. If they get it back into decent condition, add the Palmerston at Brocket Hall to round out a top 4. And no, I haven't forgotten Centurian......

4 / 6
The Grove
December 28, 2017


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The whole experience of a round at The Grove is exceptional.

'New' golf courses are often frowned upon by golf reviewers, but this place is fantastic. The conditioning of the course is second to none, i doubt you will find better teeing grounds anywhere in the world, whilst the greens were also extremely true.

I played the course off the white tees which made it play as it should, meaning there werent par 5s at 440yds (as you find at many courses when you play off the yellows). a number of the holes stick out to me as exceptional, especially the par 3s which are all brilliantly bunkered.

I would argue that the 1st and 10th are amongst the weakest of the holes, but i suppose at least they bed you in gently.

Holes such as 3, 5 and 8 are very tough and require two great shots to leave yourself a birdie putt.

If given the opportunity to play here, take it. you are treated like a king from the moment you arrive, and the golf course is right up there with the best.

Of 'Newer' courses, i would rank this above both Bearwood Lakes and Remedy Oak of the ones i have played.

5 / 6
The Grove
July 18, 2017


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The Grove is by far and away the best modern inland golf course I have had the pleasure to play.

That doesn’t necessarily make it one of my personal favourites – give me a quirky links or a firm and fast heathland any day – but there is a lot to admire about this Kyle Philips designed layout which opened for play in 2003.

What separates The Grove from other newer courses is primarily the contouring around the greens.

There is great interest added by the many slopes, run-offs and raised putting surfaces that merge nicely into the rolling landscape. Some of the best green complexes can be found at the fifth, seventh, 12th and 17th. You could drop a dozen balls and spend several hours just chipping and putting to these holes and never get bored.

The green contouring effects play on your approach shots unlike I have seen on other similar courses and should you miss the green your imagination and creativity will be called upon in spades. You are usually left with a number of options as to how to play your pitch or chip and this is something I find particularly appealing on any type of golf course.

The pronounced fairway contours are also a welcome change from many other courses of this genre. It is bold and free-flowing as Philips has tried to imitate the undulating linksland that he has done so well at the manufactured Kingsbarns Links in Scotland. It works well at The Grove, however, no matter how well this attempted reproduction is done it’s impossible to create the natural humps and bumps that Mother Nature has harvested at seaside courses.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

4 / 6
The Grove
May 04, 2017


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The architect has done an excellent job on land which is not the best golfing terrain, although there is a proliferation of dog leg left holes on the back 9, which gives a feeling of sameness. I was lucky enough to turn up without notice and get paired with a pro and it was fascinating to see first hand what a different challenge courses are when someone is consistently 290 off the tee (not much of a challenge at all really !). Gentle start which is good design feature. 2nd is strong par 4 with an interesting green complex. Not keen on the large pond at 3. Excellent par 3, , 4th with stream guarding the front. 5th strong par 4 moving to the right. Par 5, 6th is a lovely hole which also moves to the right. 7 is a wedge par 3 which gives good variation on what is a long course. The 8th and 9th holes are my least favourite and feel too “open” and immature (harsh maybe as it is a new course). 10 is an excellent short par 4, abrupt dog leg left. 11 is another dog leg left but a good hole. 12 is just a brute of a par 4. 13 is a downhill par 3 which is very scenic and allows some run onto the green. 14 and 15 are both dogleg left par 4s which are “ok” holes. 16 is a decent par 3. The 17th is an outstanding par 5 with a great approach to the green - classic Kyle Phillips, just a beautiful hole. 18 is a mega tough par 4 finish, very much a tournament finish. Tough ! Overall, a good solid golf course, which is designed for tournament play.

4 / 6
The Grove
May 04, 2017


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I have played here several times over the last ten years and always have a really good day, I enjoy the course and go home with a smile on my face but there is always a little bit of me that is a bit critical but my problems are nothing to do with the course but just the price of everything off of the course. This is a 5-star operation, with 5* prices but in saying that on and off the course it is always busy, so for that reason The Grove has to be seen as a success story. This is a modern looking course with plenty of variety all around; the stand-out observations are the green sites,Grove Golf Course - Photo by reviewer the green side bunkering and the run-off areas that are as good as anything in the country. Presentation and conditioning are near perfect. The first 'big hole' is the SI-1 par-4 3rd (anywhere from 342-446 yards) - bunkers at landing point on the left and the lake starting at 65 yards short and hugging the left of the green make this a super strong hole. The 8th hole is of similar length as the 3rd, dog legging to the right and bunkers on both edges of the fairway protecting. Three more bunkers short of the green plus a severe run off to the left; a measly SI of 13, does not reflect how tough the hole is. The back nine in my opinion is stronger with more interesting holes, including the opener on this nine; a short severe dog-legging par-4 with great protection. The par-4 12th is a tough hole at around 430 yards with a clever false front and a fantastic run-off at the back. The 18th is a big hole too, an inviting drive to a wide fairway but the 2nd shot to this 435 yard par-4 is where there is work to be done as the green is slightly raised with yet more brilliant run-offs. I would say that the course in 2015 is in its best shape since opening. The Grove, it is not cheap but it is very good indeed.
5 / 6
The Grove
August 10, 2015


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Growing up locally I remember when the plot was a British Rail training college, so they have done a great job fashioning a quality course from a somewhat bland plot of land compared to the nearby and highly recommended West Herts (Cassiobury). The holes in the woods and along the Great Union Canal are great fun, and the greens are a great advert for USGA standards for inland courses being firm and fast. However, the very planned tee boxes and slightly underwhelming land reminded me unfortunately of the PGA Centenary at Gleneagles - a very good game of golf, but it's missing the fun factor.
4 / 6
The Grove
July 08, 2015


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Played on Friday in quite a nice 5hr window of good weather. The front nine was somewhat ruined by some hackers slowing up the course - but the marshall respomded very quickly and held them at the halfway hut. Course wise, the greens are very good, the design is pretty good (its pretty much in watford -so only so much picasso can do with a biro) and service is excellent. But the price does not match up to the golf course the grove thinks it is. That said if you can have a nice game off golf here - but its bling before ping. To me Hertfordhsire has some wonderful courses - Moor Park, Brocket Hall, Ashridge etc that i would easily put above the Grove.
4 / 6
The Grove
November 11, 2013


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Rob
January 01, 2015
This review hits the nail squarely on the head. The Grove is essentially style over substance; whilst the service is hard to fault, the course is a bit uninspiring. If you want an excellent corporate day out (ideally paid for by someone else!) then this is it. But if its about the golf, Ashridge, Hadley Wood, Moor Park and Brocket (Palmerston) are all far better courses in Hertfordshire.
Played in a 4 ball here recently. Some people are too quick to criticise new courses. This is a cracking layout, there are some generous drives, some tight ones and excellent strategy required around the greens. The Rough is unforgiving as it should be and there are plenty of alternative tee areas to keep it playable for all handicaps. The Course was immaculate and probably the finest greens I have ever witnessed (although its a close run between the Grove and Finca Cortesin). It is a touch expensive to play at standard rate which is a shame (and why it does not acheive max rating in my opinion) but also great to have a course you can actually play at the weekend. Food in the Glasshouse is very good, and staff are exceptionally helpful and polite.
5 / 6
The Grove
October 15, 2013


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Played here 3 times now, each time the welcome has been great. If you play here remember to get here early so you can make use of the complementary range balls and ask for your clubs to be cleaned (for free). Every time I've played this course the greens have been rapid and the condition of the course is also perfect. The most memorable holes in my opinion is the par 3 4th, the par 3, the par 3 7th, and the run in from holes 13-18 are all good. Overall great experience and one of the best courses I've played. However £180 is a lot so make sure that you use the 2 for 1 vouchers so you can play it half price.
6 / 6
The Grove
July 24, 2013


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