Golf courses in Kent

Olivavu

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These are the golf courses I have played in Kent and my opinions and experiences of them. I'd be interested to hear what others think of these and if they have any recommendations for other courses to play in the Garden of England!

Hever Castle - I have played here five or six times and rate the course fairly highly. It is pretty well looked after, nicely spread out and has some good features. The greens are always in good nick and the green fees can often be had for a reasonable price on one of the deals they offer from time to time. It isn't usually overly busy and I have never had to queue at a tee. It doesn't have a bad hole on the entire course and there are some tricky water features to work around. ********

Poult Wood - The first 18 hole course I ever played and I have probably played there over 50 times since I started playing golf in late 2009. The greens have been in very good condition ever since then and I thoroughly enjoy putting on them. It isn't the most challenging of courses and the single par 5 is only just long enough to really be considered one. But it is an excellent place to start playing 18 holes of golf and is usually well tended. I wouldn't recommend it to the low handicapper looking for a challenge, but it is a solid course that is ideal for a twilight round in the Summer after work. Very good condition for a council run course. ******

Cobtree - A reasonable course, but one that irks me because of it's close together tee times. I have played there seven or eight times and only once have I not had to queue on the majority of holes during my round. It's slightly too expensive for what it is as well, but it clearly has a good catchment area being right next to the M20 motorway. None of the holes stand out as exciting, but it is a reasonable standard course. *****

Weald of Kent - I really enjoy playing this course. It is fairly wide open, allowing confidence on the tee shots. The first hole has an intimidating lake right in front of it, which has swallowed up many a ball. The famed ditch that runs through the course also adds an extra hazard to a lot of holes and the par 3 sixteenth is a challenge late on in the round. The eighteenth is a nice downhill drive that takes in a good view of the clubhouse and weald countryside. It has a good variety of holes and is challenging enough for most players. The greens have been lightning quick of late, which adds another challenge. The clubhouse is nice and offers a reasonably priced meal and plenty of offers on golf plus a meal. Their regular 241 offers are excellent value as well. ********

The Ridge - My friends and I play for free here as one of us holds sponsorship of the first tee. So I have played here many times this year! The course is in a retired Orchard and it shows in late Summer/eatly Autumn when there are plenty of rotting apples lying around! Some of the front nine holes are crammed in with dog-leg after dog-leg, and the out of bounds markers are a little tight in places thanks to this. It isn't an easy round of golf despite the relatively low yardage thanks to this as well. Some of the greens have some nice slopes and breaks, making for some intuitive green reading requirements. The first hole is my favourite, and I would rather it were the last hole! ******

Nizels - This course seems to have some pretentions about it's place. I don't think it is a special course by any means, but the cost of a round can be quite high. There are some good holes, particularly the par 3 sixteenth that sees a tee shot hit from high down to an inviting green - which I nearly holed in one on my second round there! It is pretty well looked after and a fun course to play, but I don't think it needs to be priced higher than the likes of Weald of Kent. ******

Deangate Ridge - I like this course. It's run by Medway Council and doesn't have a particularly nice clubhouse, but it's a reasonably long course with some interesting holes. The fourth hole is a downhill par three that requires a good tee shot. The par 5 that follows is quite lengthy and requires a good tee shot to clear the ridge. The greens are usually in good condition too. There aren't any interesting hazards, however, as I don't think they have the budget to incorporate them. *******Hemsted Forest - One of the best courses I have played. It is very well looked after and rather traditional in it's style. It has some very inspiring tee shots and some really interesting holes. They close one day a week to look after the course, which is a good idea - but I suspect it has helped to push the green fee up to £40 on the weekend. Good ball control is necessary given that most holes are tree-lined. I thoroughly enjoy a round there and would recommend it to anyone. *********

Austin Lodge - A course I really enjoy - but a buggy is essential! The first hole has one of the most inviting tee shots on any course I have played and really gets the round going with bang. The thirteenth has another high up tee with an inviting drive opportunity. There are several ups and downs and some fairly unique par 3 holes. The tee shot on the eighteenth is blind and makes for an interesting finish. They do good winter green fee deals and the course is rarely overpopulated. It is well looked after and nicely spread out. One of my favourite courses and good value for the pay and play golfer. *********

Lullingstone - A course for the big hitter. I have played off the white tees a few times here and it adds up to a reasonably big yardage! The holes have some good variety and are well spaced out. There are plenty of ups and downs on the course, but a buggy isn't essential. Is geographically close to Austin Lodge and shares some features thanks to being in a similar valley. It doesn't have the character of Austin Lodge though and isn't quite as well looked after. The clubhouse is rather dated, but well run. The wind really can get going on this course and it causes havoc with ball flight. It is very reasonably priced for a green fee, but that may be because the course is not easy to get to! A twilight round for a tenner is excellent value. *******

Upchurch - I don't mind this course at all. It is quite tight in places, but has some variety around the course and isn't usually queue-busy. The first tee is a blind uphill shot, which leads to some mystery when searching out a tee shot. The clubhouse is a little dated and in need of work, but the course is always in decent condition and the greens are consistent. The ninth and eighteenth holes are probably the best there, which is good for finishing up a half or full round. Not too difficult to get to, with it being reasonably close to the M2 and M20. Green fees aren't too expensive either. And it has toilet halfway round, which is rather rare! A course I don't play all that often, but one I will return to. *******

Leeds Castle - The best nine hole course I have played. Ok, I haven't played many, but still. It is a real shame it isn't eighteen holes as it has some character and splendid views. The fifth hole has a very inviting tee shot with a great view of the castle itself and is one of my top ten holes to play. The sixth is a very bland hole, but the rest of the course has plenty on offer. *******

Hilden Park - Awful little nine hole course. A glorified pitch and putt that appears to have been crammed into a very large back garden. Would not recommend it all unless you were going to play with a junior who needed a quiet environment to learn in. *

Oastpark - Would be so much better if the owners/management remotely looked after it. The fairways are like the rough on other courses and the greens are diabolical. It used to be an eighteen hole course years back and I am not surprised they turned it into a nine holer if they couldn't maintain that. Needs some investment and good management and it could be a reasonable course. **

West Malling (Hurricane Course) - I have only played the 'second' course here and it wasn't too bad. It was a bit crammed in places, but it was a reasonable course. The eighteenth had been touted as similar to the finisher at Augusta, and I can sort of see the similarity. I enjoyed the section of the course most that was over the road, as it was a bit more spacious and open. I have only played there once so far, but will be returning as we can play for free as part of the sponsorship deal at The Ridge. *******

Kings Hill - A course that is not aligned in quality with the cost of its green fee. It is an expensive housing estate, so obviously the locals can afford the higher than average fees. It is an enjoyable course and they have a nice enough club house offering decent food for reasonable prices. There were some good holes there and none of them were particularly weak. A solid course, but not overall worth a £35+ green fee. *******

Broke Hill - Only played there the once. I thought it was a well looked after course, but I didn't find it particularly exciting. It had a lot of similar holes and lacked variety. I didn't have a great round, so perhaps that is why! I would give it another try though. *******

Tudor Park – Another course that is a touch more expensive than the course warrants, but given that is a Marriott hotel, I don’t mind so much. Plus, I got married there last year and had a warmup round before and came from a few shots behind to win the fourball! It has good variety and different challenges. The greens are quite well looked after and the course isn’t tightly packed together. *******

I think that’s all of the courses I have played, but I expect there’s one or two missing!
 

User20205

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I've played Nizels/Austin Lodge/Lullingstone/West Malling/Broke Hill. Sorry to say I didn't really rate any of them. As a course I thought Lullingstone was the best/most interesting, but the condition is poor, and we followed a bloke playing in a vest.

Broke Hill was OK but not especially welcoming when we played.

You should try Wrotham Heath, I played it this May and thought it was a cracking course.

http://www.wrothamheathgolfclub.co.uk/
 

Olivavu

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I have been looking to play Wrotham Heath for a while but have never got around to doing it. It looks good and I have heard positive things from other golfers too.

I have never seen anyone in a vest at Lullingstone and would be very disappointed if I did. I guess that is an indication of the need for some pay and play courses to overlook some things to get money in. I hate seeing people in trainers, jeans, tracksuit bottoms or collarless shirts. It isn't hard to wear the appropriate attire and clubs should be more picky in who they let on the course - as it can and does impact their reputation.

I have only been playing for two and a bit years. I love the game and am trying hard to learn as much as I can. Perhaps what I look for and enjoy in a course is aligned with my level of ability and isn't the same as a low handicapper. Or maybe because I don't have the money to pay £40 odd a round means that I haven't been able to acquire a taste for top notch courses as yet.

But I have been honest and fair in what I think.
 

Leftie

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have you played broom park??

Played it a couple of years ago.

Clubhouse is most unusual - massive mansion once owned by Lord Kitchener.

Course is probably about 20 years or so old, and it shows. Once matured (give it another 10/20 years) and it should be very good. Not one I'll hurry back to though.
 

Olivavu

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Nope, not played there.

I live in Maidstone, so have played most of the courses around this end of Kent.

Not played Bearsted, Wrotham Heath, The London Club or Darenth Valley either.
 

RichardC

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Bearsted is playing tough at the moment, but that is due to the rough being brutal (as seems to the case at many clubs).

Let me know if you fancy a game one day.
 

Olivavu

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That is a very nice offer. Thankyou.

I play off 22 at the moment and am finding it hard to reduce.

My best scores are 89 at Poult Wood and Upchurch. Usually shoot between 90 and 97. Struggling to get it down lower!
 

RichardC

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They are doing some course work this week, so hopefully they find an answer as it's as bad as I have ever seen it. If you are a yard off the 1st cut then it's a tough ask to find it.
 

Olivavu

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My grandad was a member at Bearsted for 20 years or so. But I wasn't into golf as a kid, and so never played there.
 

chrisd

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They are doing some course work this week, so hopefully they find an answer as it's as bad as I have ever seen it. If you are a yard off the 1st cut then it's a tough ask to find it.

It's the same at Ashford at the moment, quite the hardest I've known it in the middle of August. Hollow tining this week though.
 

Iaing

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Played it a couple of years ago.

Clubhouse is most unusual - massive mansion once owned by Lord Kitchener.

Course is probably about 20 years or so old, and it shows. Once matured (give it another 10/20 years) and it should be very good. Not one I'll hurry back to though.

A wee bit older than that. A crowd of us played it when we were down in Kent for the 1985 Open. Don't remember a great deal about it other than the impressive mansion.

One course I do remember from that trip was St. Augustines which I think was between Sandwich and Ramsgate. Not a long course but tight and hugely enjoyable. Played it a couple of times in the evening after spending the day at St Georges.
 

Bratty

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In Kent, you should also try to definitely play Pedham Place, Broom Park, Chart Hills, Redlibbets and Westerham. A couple of average courses would be Darenth Valley and Birchwood Park.
 
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