The area of South East London that blends into Kent is home to some great modern Courses. A Kentish course can be as individual as any links or country park course found in the counties surrounding London but for me, the Kent course of my dreams should be open and exposed, a few trees, low grasses and rolling hills punctuated by deep bunkers with lightening quick greens. Pedham Place has all of these in abundance.
Pedham Place Golf Centre, London Road, Swanley, Kent, BR8 8PP.
01322 86 7000
Located conveniently at the junction three of the M25, Pedham Place golf centre is a play and pay course with some excellent facilities. No more than thirty minutes drive from central London, the practice greens, driving range, bar and catering facilities exemplify how a public golf course should be run.
The club house is a modern design with a nod to the traditional Oast houses dotting the surrounding Kent countryside. With a small well stocked pro shop, bar and restaurant, a lovely outdoor drinking area, the feeling around the clubhouse is welcoming and very helpful. Pedham Place golf centre includes two courses, a full 18 hole championship course and a par 3, 9 hole course. With the driving range included on site, this is an excellent location for the newcomer to learn their game.
Designed by golf course architect John Fortune, Pedham was originally constructed in 1992 on an old landfill site, and the course retains an uneven look, small hills have been designed to obscure many of the greens from view.
The character of Pedham Place golf centre is one of exposed moors, reflecting the spirit of the counties Wealds and as such, subject to some mean blustery winds. There are a good mix of holes, although as a first time visitor I found it difficult to work out where the greens were on the many doglegs without referring to my GPS device.
With few trees on the course the main hazards are the hills lined with those dense grasses I referred to earlier that absorb a loosely delivered ball. I probably could have done with a yardage book or course guide however the other golfers on the course we’re all very friendly and we’re happy to point me in the right direction.
The greens on Pedham Place golf centre are excellent, some might find them a bit too fast but they present a competition standard of difficulty. Perhaps because of the high winds (on the day of play it was incredibly warm as well) the greens are incredibly hard and as such I found it tricky to pitch a shot on them although a little bit more course knowledge might have helped here. I definitely played a more linksy style of golf at Pedham; the bump and run generally being the better way to get the ball onto the greens.
At around 6000 yards off the yellow tees Pedham Place golf centre is a decent length, the fairways are generally accommodating; not too difficult to find off the tee and although there are a number of intimidating looking bunkers I found that these could be avoided without too much effort.
The heath grasses forming the rough were at full length on the day of play (though I was told during the winter that these areas were significantly cut back) and it only took a slightly over hit ball to bobble into the thick stuff to render it lost. While the mid to high handicapper might find Pedham a challenge, the low handicapper will find this course a bit predictable. That said, the doglegs are a tempting risk/reward drive off the tee and a more breezy day may yield more unpredictability.
The main attraction of Pedham Place golf centre for me is its appearance. I loved the open wind swept moors feel, visibility was superb on the day and the views across the Kent countryside from the course’s elevated position were stunning in the sunshine. The practice areas are excellent although a few more targets on the driving range would make it more interesting.
As a public pay and play course Pedham is superb value for money. Look out for the deals on the club website but you’ll be hard pushed to find play of this quality for a round as low as £15 elsewhere. This is a course that the high handicapper may find a challenge but it’s a tremendously beautiful location in which to develop your game. Expect incredibly fast and hard greens.