A heathland golf course with a great flow

North Hants

North Hants Golf Club

Date Reviewed
May 13, 2015
Reviewed by Ed Battye
North Hants, home of the elite amateur Hampshire Hog golf tournament, is one of the several ‘second tier’ courses situated on the notorious sandbelt to the South-West of London.

This is the most westerly of them all lying in Hampshire and to say that it plays second fiddle to some of its illustrious neighbours, whilst undoubtedly true, is doing it a little bit of a disservice in a literary sense because there is some exceptionally good golf to be found here.

Played over sandy, fast-draining turf and through glorious pine, birch and fir trees the setting is as splendid as you could hope for. And many of the holes are first-class in their quality. It can’t quite stand shoulder-to-should to the famous courses in this region but it is well deserving of its ‘Top 100’ status and I imagine quite often goes under the radar of the visiting golfer, when it really shouldn’t.

The opening holes have had some alterations in their recent history, and a keen eye will spot this, but none-the-less the round gets off to a very promising start and you soon get a flavour of North Hants.

After the tough second hole, a par four of 433 yards that turns uphill, the third hole is the first that really stands out as something special with a large pond guarding the front and right of the green at this inviting par five. It starts a stretch of holes that is of the highest order. The short par-four fourth is backed up with a tough two-shotter, then comes a sweeping downhill par four that should only require a short pitch off a good drive, this is then followed by a tough 422 yarder. A brilliant 122 yard par three, with an amazing angled and two-tiered egg-timer shaped green, and a demanding par four conclude the front side.

Do you see a pattern emerging? Hard hole, easy hole, hard hole, easy hole… North Hants keeps you on your toes but doesn’t beat you up. It gives you a chance to make-up for lost shots but equally never allows you to boss the course. The course gives, the course takes away.

The routing of the layout brings you back to the clubhouse at the halfway point. Unusually the tenth (as well as the first) is a par three and a good one at that before the course continues in a similar vein to the front nine.

The pick of the bunch on the back-nine for me was the short par-four 13th. Played slightly uphill and at 334 yards it is clearly and knowingly out of reach for the vast majority of golfers from the tee but it kind of suckers you in to having a go! And there is lots of trouble between 30 and 80 yards short of the superbly sited green, just where the fairway pinches in; bunkers, heather, gorse and trees.

The run for home, the last few played alongside the railway line, is also extremely good. The 14th and 16th are fine par fours but the par-five 17th is the best of the lot with an angled green protected by a bunker that the putting surface wraps itself around in a similar fashion to the Road Hole at St. Andrews. Out of bounds flanks the right from where the preferred approach should come from.

I came away from North Hants, famous for its connection with Justin Rose, very impressed with the course. The good stuff is of the highest quality and there is little not to like. There is tons of variety, a great mix of holes and the flow of the round is superb.

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