There aren’t many golf courses in London that boast a train station at their main entrance, which makes this historic London Golf Course uniquely accessible.
Carshalton Rd, Mitcham CR4 4HN
The course at Mitcham was originally laid out in 1891 by the legendary Old Tom Morris. While only three of the original greens from Morris’ era remain, this is a course with a heritage deeply ingrained within London golf history.
Old Tom is attributed to the creation of the original layout he was assisted by South London resident, Tom Dunn. Dunn, who had competed in The Open in 1868 was a Tooting resident, head green keeper at The Royal Blackheath Golf Club and member of The London and Scottish golf club in Wimbledon.
Morris will always be the more well known of the pair, Dunn was known to have worked collaboratively on several courses in the London area, including Bromley, Enfield and the 18 hole extension of The London and Scottish Club. Further afield, I have played another of Dunn’s creations in Bournemouth, the excellent Meyrick Park a course that’s comparable to Mitcham in many ways.
Mitcham’s original construction date places it in an important period in golf course design. Indeed, Old Tom Morris’s and Tom Dunn’s original layout pre-dates many other courses in the area. The course and the club, which has undergone many changes over the years, still retains a rich mix of heath and parkland characteristics.
What’s it like to play?
The Golf Course at Mitcham is a flat and rather narrow course lined with fescue and rough. It is a combination of a traditional parkland course with heath-like elements.
The first three holes are a rather gentle introduction to the course. These are two par four and a three, enjoyable but not particularly challenging do provide a good warm up.
Given the relatively short nature of most of the par four holes, I found that it wasn’t really necessary to always take a driver. Indeed, a long iron off the tee or an occasional fairway wood usually set the second shot up nicely.
The heathland character really does come into play all throughout the remaining holes. At the time I played Mitcham Golf Club, the heather was coming into bloom alongside the sunbaked grasses and knolls. The fairways are quite narrow in places and the rough is dense and unforgiving.
Accuracy of shot is a pre-requisite skill at Mitcham, the proximity of the rough that will greedily consume a poorly executed shot provides the impetus to keep the ball on the short grass.
The greens were quite quick on the day, while on the whole lacking in any dramatic turn, they presented a variety of challenges that tested my short game. Somehow I managed to miss every single bunker on the course which were well tended and well looked after. Overall, Mitcham Golf Club is superbly managed golf course, given the complexity of the planting and landscape the ground staff are doing a brilliant job.
Mitcham Golf Club is full of character. It is incredibly tight in places and while the tees that occasionally cross the fairways might not be to everyone’s taste, they provide some wonderful views of this course.
Unusually, the tramline that serves Mitcham Station bisects the course. The little ponds on the 6th, the line of trees guarding the green on the 7th are wonder example of idiosyncrasies that separate Mitcham from other courses in the area.
I played Mitcham Golf Club on a very warm summer’s day. After finishing up on the par three, eighteenth hole, it was with some relief that I headed to the patio and enjoyed a much-deserved ice cold beer. The clubhouse bar is certainly a great place to relax and watch players teeing off from the first and third tees.
Mitcham Golf Club is a wonderfully entertaining round of golf, it is a course that is suitable for all levels of player. In general, the course favours good iron play and is a test of a players course management skills.
There are opportunities to shape your shot and as a natural fader of the ball, I found this course suited my game. If you have a few spare hours on your commute from home this is a course that is well worth a visit.