Brocket Hall - In a class of its own
One of England’s finest stately homes and country estates has
developed into one of this country’s premier golfing destinations,
with two superb 18-hole courses, a Michelin-starred restaurant and
luxury accommodation to boot. And, to celebrate its 250th anniversary,
Brocket Hall is offering a number of Stay & Play packages to
tempt the discerning golfer to this leafy Hertforshire enclave.
Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, where it is
claimed you can play championship golf and
live like a lord, this year celebrates the 250th
anniversary of its stately home – the focal
point of this most prestigious of clubs.
To mark the occasion, Golf International is
offering readers the chance to sample the
delights of the club and country estate with
this exclusive competition to win a stay at
Melbourne Lodge, dine in Auberge du Lac – its
elegant award-winning restaurant – and play its
Brocket Hall’s golf courses are two of the
finest in the south of England and are the cornerstone
of a thriving club which opens its
gates to visiting golfers and company golf
days. The two courses provide a completely
distinct challenge in stunning surroundings
that traverse parkland and ancient woodland.
Brocket Hall itself has one of the most
intriguing histories of any of the great houses
of Britain. No other can claim to have been the
home to two British prime ministers, played
host to George IV and witnessed the infamous
Lady Caroline Lamb introduce the Waltz to
England in their Ballroom.
The Brocket Hall that is known today was
built by the renowned architect James Paine for
the owner, Sir Matthew Lamb in 1760.
However, the Hall stands on the site of two
predecessors, the original of which was built in
1239. One thing that hasn’t changed over the
centuries is the warm welcome that Brocket
Hall has always extended to its visitors.
Passing through imposing wrought iron gates
into the glorious surroundings of the English
stately home and country estate and it’s quickly
apparent that Brocket Hall is in a class of its
own. With the two championship standard
courses, a state-of-the-art golf academy, Michelin
starred restaurant and ancestral home, it is
undoubtedly one of the most remarkable and
breathtakingly beautiful clubs in the land.
Brocket Hall lies 22 miles from Central
London in Welwyn, Hertfordshire where two
individual courses created by legendary designers
bear the names of the two British Prime
Ministers – Lord Melbourne and Lord
Palmerston – who once resided at the hall.
The Melbourne is the creation of design duo
Peter Alliss and Clive Clark who have fashioned
an outstanding golf course within a parkland
terrain. Fittingly, the course begins beside the
18th century hall with a short but daunting
par-four opening hole that runs alongside the
Broadwater lake which is fed by the River Lea.
In fact, water is the distinguishing feature of
the Melbourne Course and as early as the par three
2nd hole you are faced with the first of
many challenging shots over the Broadwater to
a green situated close to the opposite bank.
Difficult greens and supreme short holes –
the best perhaps being the 14th – characterise
a course that is popular with members and visitors
alike, and which demand respect and precision
throughout the round. Nowhere more so
than at the par-four 16th, possibly the most
difficult hole on the course, which necessitates
crossing the Broadwater for the third time.
The golfer faces a similar challenge on the
par-five 18th, where the round is completed in
spectacular fashion, befitting of the environs.
What appears to be a straightforward hole
from the tee quickly escalates into a daunting
and strategic challenge as you face a tough
decision – whether to traverse the Broadwater
in two or lay-up. Whatever the result, the ferry
ride across the water to reach the final destination
is a fitting end to an unforgettable round.
The Donald Steel-designed Palmerston
Course makes for a wonderful contrast to the
original layout and – at 7,080 yards – is a serious
test of championship golf. One of this
country’s finest course architects, Steel makes
impressive use of the avenues of ancient trees
(including Hornbeam, Beech and Pine) while
bold bunkering and the contouring of the
greens adds to the strategic challenge. It’s easy
to understand why many who have played the
Palmerston make favourable comparisons with
Woburn’s Marquess Course, and, as it continues
to mature, will surely rank as one of the
finest inland courses in the country.
The Palmerston features a collection of outstanding
holes, notably at the par-five 6th, sensitively
hewn out of ancient woodland and featuring
one of the tightest tee shots on the golf
course (not to mention one of the toughest of
approaches to a slick green!). The 8th is a wonderful
short hole, framed – as so many holes
on the Palmerston are – by glorious trees.
The mood changes around the turn, where the course opens up a little inviting you to do
the same, attack the course and really enjoy the
rarified playing experience. Caution will need to
be exercised on the greens, however, all built to
USGA specifications and all devilishly quick and
riddled with subtle undulations. The quality of
your iron play will be tested from start to finish,
the approach shot at the par-four 12th notable
for the fact that you have to negotiate a chalk
face some 100 yards from the green. Just one of
many memorable shots to be enjoyed.
The Palmerston was designed to really test
the range and skill of golfers and nowhere is
this more evident than at the closing hole, a
snaking par-five which calls for a solid drive, a
well-placed second and a precise pitch to a
closely guarded putting surface – the appropriate
conclusion to a testing but thoroughly pleasurable
round on a layout that will tease and
seduce golfers of all abilities.
THE PALMERSTON GOLF ACADEMY
Over the last 15 years, The Palmerston Golf
Academy has successfully nurtured and developed
the careers of many budding golf stars.
The comprehensive teaching programmes –
designed for golfers of all ages and abilities – are
run by three PGA professionals, headed up by
Keith Wood. Their holistic approach encompasses
all aspects of the game including swing, short
game, psychology, the body and club fitting. The
Palmerston Golf Academy has areas for working
on the long-game, a chipping and bunker area, a
practice putting green and a six-hole Par 3 course
for sharpening up iron play and short-game skills.
PLAY & STAY
Residential golf packages are available year round
at Brocket Hall, with luxurious accommodation
in Melbourne Lodge, located close to the
clubhouse on the estate. What’s more, to commemorate
Brocket’s 250th anniversary, the
most exclusive Stay & Play opportunity is for
the first time being offered to golfers who want
to live like a lord while entertaining friends, colleagues
and family in the impressive environs of
one of the finest stately homes in England.
For aficionado’s of cuisine, golf and dining
packages are also available at Auberge du Lac,
the Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the
18th green on the Melbourne, while stay & play packages
at Melbourne Lodge are also available
throughout the year. For further information on
residential golf including the Stately Home Golf
Package contact the Brocket Hall Event Office on
01707 368727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all other bookings call 01707 394994,
or visit www.brocket-hall.co.uk
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine