The Bromley Golf Centre is locally known as the Magpie Lane course, a mini golfing complex that includes everything the new and developing golfer needs.
Bromley Golf Centre, Magpie Hall Lane, Bromley, Kent, BR2 8JF
020 8462 7014
Regular readers of my blog will not escape the feeling that I have a fondness for a good and well managed nine hole golf course. Often wrongly accused of being the poor half-brother of the golf course World, the nine hole can be something of a life saver (in golfing terms) for the hard working player in search of some post-shift golfing release.
Unlike many nine hole courses in South London the Bromley Golf Centre is a more modern arrival on the short course scene. Located just off the A21 about 5 minutes drive South of Bromley town centre this a compact course that is relatively flat and at 2600 yards off the yellow tees, rather short. While the Bromley Golf centre is a pay and play course, The Bromley Golf Club play Sunday morning society matches there so it would be wise to call ahead and check on tee availability if you are thinking of just turning up at the weekend.
Whenever I visit a course I always check out the existing reviews on the internet just to get an idea of visitors reactions. Of all the courses I’ve visited so far it would be fair to say that Bromley Golf Centre has received more negative feedback than any other I’ve played. The criticism leveled at Bromley seems a little bit unfair, while the are some rather obvious issues regarding play, it’s not as bad as some reviewers have stated.
While this is a relatively short course there are a couple of long holes with some comparatively wide fairways. The danger on this course lies in the rough. Often I find with these compact nine hole courses the management leave the rough long making it imperative that you hit an accurate shot and Bromley Golf Centre is no different in this regard. It is very easy to lose a ball here so the shot penalties can quickly build up.
The first tee is good fun, next to the centre shop and cafe where visitors sit and watch you as you tee off. Having an audience can feel slightly intimidating although it does make hitting a peach of a shot does feel all the more satisfying. For those that want to play 18 holes there are a second set of tees for the 10th to the 18th although I found these slightly confusing. There isn’t really enough difference between the first and second round tees to make them distinct enough from each other.
For those that like to get their driver out of the bag, you’ll find yourself doing this with serious intent on the 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th (324, 465 351 and 365 yards respectively of the yellow tees) with the remaining holes presenting their own little idiosyncrasies. There is a little bit of water on the 4th, and a creek running through the entire course that occasionally comes into play.
I may be wrong but I genuinely think that the 9th is one of the best holes you can play in South London. A narrow fairway crisscrossed by water hazards and punctuated by bunkers, from the tee it’s a cracking short par 4.
The 4th, a dogleg right, presents a tricky approach but other than these two holes the rest of the course is pretty much straightforward, as long as you hit a straight ball you can’t go too far wrong. On the day the greens were playing reasonably well though a little bit slow for my preference in relatively decent condition considering the amount of footfall. In terms of play the greens are generally straightforward, there’s not really much mystery to them, quite easy to read.
For me the attraction of Bromley Golf Centreis in its potential as a practice and learning facility. There is a decent driving range which represents very good value, a practice bunker, chipping green and two putting greens. If you are thinking of taking up the game or just trying a few things out, Bromley is an excellent place to do it. Perhaps the location of the course immediately next door to Bishop Justice school adds to the educational aura of the place, but this is a terrific place to learn the game. Lessons are very reasonably priced and swing analysis is also available.
The regulars at Bromley Golf Centre won’t thank me for this but this really is a great course for a beginner or the occasional golfer. If you are just starting out in the game this is a superb place to do it. The presence of the driving range is an added bonus and makes for a great way to warm up or develop your game. In general Bromley Golf Centre is quite a fun little course however, not particularly challenging, it has the feel of a large pitch and putt rather than a fully fledged golf course. I’d use Bromley rather than play it.
Perhaps my only real complaint about this course is the price. £15 to play 9 holes seems incredibly steep especially when you consider the other 18 courses available in the mytime active stable that are just down the road. Online booking discounts are available but for the price, especially if you are thinking of playing 18 holes, I’d drive 10 minutes further down the road and play High Elms.