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Bexleyheath Golf Club has somehow been squeezed into a small piece of land next to the A2 in South East London. Can such a compact nine-hole course be worth playing? I visited to find out.
Many readers will no doubt be familiar with the Sci-fi television drama, Dr Who. The Doctor uses a Tardis to leap to different periods in history and gets into all sorts of adventures. One of the characteristics of the Tardis is how it shapes time and space, the interior being huge compared to the exterior.
Bexleyheath Golf Club has something in common with Dr Who’s time vehicle. The course is located on a small area of land and is neatly arranged across the undulating parkland.
Like many people that live in this part of South East London and Kent, I have driven past Bexleyheath Golf Club on many occasions as I’ve made my way (usually to other golf courses) up and down the A2.
With the A2 so close by, Bexleyheath Golf Club is very easy to reach from Kent and Central London. A wonderful 9hole private golf course which, after my first visit, I wondered why on Earth I didn’t stop by sooner.
This particular part of London and North West Kent has many nine-hole courses tucked away between parks, housing estates and even schools. Historically many of these courses were later converted to 18 holes and so the remaining short courses are distant echo of past golf course development in England.
Bexleyheath Golf Club is laid out across a hilly and undulating landscape. Narrow fairways in places, mature trees and numerous bunkers make Bexleyheath a superbly challenging course to play. This is a course that will test your game from tee to green.
The first tee is a great introduction to the course. With out of bounds all the way down the right, this tight dogleg par 4 is difficult to hit in regulation if you’re unfamiliar with the course. Your second shot is similarly difficult, a narrow fairway leading to an elevated green that sets the tone for the rest of the course.
There’s plenty of opportunity to take the driver out of your bag but be warned, a slight miss hit or bad shot will see your ball only the wrong fairway behind a tree or at the foot of a severely steep hill.
There are some changes in elevation which the course’s design exploits to tremendous effect. The 7th green is one of those par 3’s that at only 100 or so yards, looks easy to hit, unfortunately any change in wind may well see your ball embedding itself into one of the bunkers protecting its perimeter.
The distances on the scorecard at Bexleyheath Golf Club are generally a bit deceptive, the 8th par 4 has to be one of the trickiest I’ve played. The fairway is split by an incredibly steed hill, only a superbly executed high draw shot would set you up, a lay-up on at the base of the hill and a very good blind and equally high second shot might find the fairway.
The 18th is a lovely tee, located on top of the hill the relatively wide fairway, it’s an inviting shot and great way to finish your round. Whereas most 9-hole courses can become repetitive, there are some distinctly different tee locations and Bexleyheath adding an extra element of play.
On the day I was far too aggressive off the tee where I saw many of the members play a more conservative shot with a long iron, something I would probably do on a return visit.
It’s worth mentioning the condition of this course, the fairways were beautifully manicured and while the greens were still undergoing some hollow tinning work, they had a lovely shape about them making for some interesting reads.
Bexleyheath golf course oozes with character and there’s a real sense of community. Much of the course is surrounded by houses and the members were wonderfully welcoming and friendly. Bexleyheath is a private course and so if you’re planning a visit a cursory call ahead to book a tee time would be advisable, though as visitors we were made to feel very welcome.
Bexleyheath Golf Club was a wonderful surprise. I have known about and driven past this course on numerous occasions, I never thought it would as beautiful and as much fun to play as it was. A friendly, fascinating course that is a true test of golfing skill.