Famed golf commentator and Sunday Times golf correspondent of 40 years Henry Longhurst once described Hendon as macabre. Set as it was “ amongst the gasometers and graveyards and the red-topped boxes of the speculative builder” such neighbours might well have contrived to promote a macabre impression for a man who lived in a Sussex windmill, but I think Longhurst was having a little fun with his Hendon pals and we should all chuckle along with him.
That graveyard still exists very close by, perhaps it is a timely reminder to the golfer of his own mortality and perhaps also to remind him of the ever-watchful eye of our creator. Be wary the careless barb aimed in that direction after a missed 2-footer, for there is not very far at all to go should fire and brimstone rain down upon any ungrateful golfing sinner.
But enough of that sort of talk. A strategic Colt heritage is still evident at modern-day Hendon and many holes offer a quite interesting puzzle. The long par 5 dogleg 8th (these 3-shot holes are not usually overly interesting) where shot placement is of the utmost importance is one such, and that followed by a thin strip of green on the 9th just a hundred yards away from the tee, but, set at a spiteful diagonal that test one’s cunning and guile in avoiding both the front and back bunkers that guard it.
Golfers enjoying a day out at Hendon GC. Unknown hole or date.
In 1903 J.H. Taylor and Harry Vardon designed a course that was split by Holders Hill Rd, which is currently left of the 15th. They created 6 holes of the course on the east side and 12 holes on the west for a group of golfing eclectics that had been playing golf on the land since 1900. The course you know today was created on 65 acres purchased by the members after the construction of the A1 jeopardised their course.
Eminent course designer 'Harry' Shapland Colt and his partner J.F.S. Morrison were appointed in June 1925 to design the ‘new’ golf course. Franks & Harris were appointed as the contractors and William Press as the contractor for the irrigation system. Work commenced in May 1926 and was completed in January 1927. Thirteen new holes were built, others remodelled and nearly 100 bunkers installed to form the course we know today. At one point between the wars, there was rumoured to be 365, one for every day of the week.
With the War, many were bunkers were removed and 22 acres were ploughed for Corn. One can see the remnants of bunkers and furrowed fairways that were once farmed on the 4th and 5th Fairways.
Adequately but no longer superfluously bunkered, after another remodel in 1996, a round at Hendon is a strategic test of golf that ranks alongside the best in the County and Hendon is to be highly recommended.
Artist's rendition of the new clubhouse
In 1964 a new modern clubhouse was built replacing the one adjacent to the 15th tee. The clubhouse was budgeted to cost £10,000 back then and an overspend of £1,350 shocked the membership, but in the long run, saw it as a great investment.
Hendon has had its share of long-serving Professionals, the first being Reg Horne who travelled to the US as part of the Ryder Cup team, but never got called upon to play. In the same year, he finished runner up in the Open, three-putting the last. If only … Middlesex could have celebrated an Open Champion!
Aerial photograph of Hendon GC in 1953
In 1972, Stuart Murray followed Reg as Club Professional, he was a Scottish Amateur Champion and represented GB& I in the Walker Cup in 1963 at Turnberry. Murray was invited to play at Augusta in 1964, who famously turned the offer down. They were different days back then.
Hendon can also boast former PM Harold Wilson as a member who would often be spotted out early on a Sunday with his loyal police protection officer.
Visiting: Visitors are most welcome by prior arrangement, a simple call will secure a mutually agreeable tee time.
Tel: 02083 495 211
Hendon GC History - https://www.hendongolf.com/Page/Custom?pageId=7466
John Morrison - https://www.top100golfcourses.com/architect/john-morrison
Author - Lee Patterson. Feb 2022