Berkhamsted goes again to entrance for the return of golfers
For the first time in almost 100 years, the classic English inland course at Berkhamsted Golf Club in Hertfordshire is played differently this season.
But golf purists needn't worry: the club has simply flipped its nines so that players returning after the last suspension can enjoy a stronger start and end to their rounds.
The reversal is the only major change to Berkhamsted's par-71 course, which is 6,683 yards long, since James Braid last redesigned it in 1926, improving the course from Willie Park Jr. and Harry Colt's original designs.
Currently, only Berkhamsted members can experience the diverted golf course, although guest rounds will begin on April 26th and all golfers will be able to book a game on the Heidelandplatz from July 5th onwards.
Berkhamsted's first hole is now a scenic 194 yard par 3 over water to a well guarded green – a much tougher test than the gentle par 4 opener the club used to have.
The famous bunker-free Berkhamsted thus complements a short list of other notable English courses with par 3 starts, including Royal Lytham & St. Anne's, Walton Heath (old), Southport & Ainsdale, Liphook, North Hants and Hayling Island.
Starting on the 15th, there is now a memorable 4-hole final course that ends with a dog-leg par 4 from an elevated tee that overlooks the clubhouse.
Club captain Ian Carlile said: "For those of us who have been here for years, it felt strange at first to play Berkhamsted 'the wrong way', but our old 18th always ended up out of sight of the clubhouse, while the new routing now creates the right amount of drama and atmosphere. In Berkhamsted, not only can people now have a drink and eat while others finish their rounds, but our last four holes are now very distinctive, much more so than the original Braid route from 1926. ”
After completing a recent irrigation project, visitors to Berkhamsted will also enjoy better play areas, including improved greens and approaches. Additional quality features such as new growth around the tees and brand new signage to help newbies find their way also contribute to the new welcome to Berkhamsted Golf Club this summer.
Elite golfers will get their first chance to try the revised layout in competition when the club's famous Berkhamsted Trophy, the traditional men's elite golf season opener, moves to a gender-neutral event in 2022 after being postponed due to two consecutive seasons in the COVID-19 outbreak.