Clubhouse and 18th green, the 18th a hole Henry Cotton on leading a News of the World Matchplay qualifier announced, “I’d give half-a-crown for a 4 here!” Cotton scored a bogey 5 tying with the course record.
The course at Pinner Hill, laid out in 1927 by 5 times Open Champion John Henry Taylor, is one of those golf courses that sits in Betjeman’s Metro-Land, far out of the Metropolis “to autumn scented Middlesex again”. A copy of the club’s original RULES & REGULATIONS announces A. G. Griggs as Chairman with John Henry Taylor listed as one of 5 other Club Directors. John Henry’s reputation for building courses that suited his long driving is certainly in evidence at Pinner Hill, with plenty of width available for the odd wayward shot that dogs those who are capable of a huge shoulder turn. However, those of us who play a more modest game will find the course no less delightful and the spike bar obstructing one’s path as you turn offers a welcome chance to refresh before the back nine is tackled. Golf Illustrated - 1938, tells us “Go have a game at Pinner Hill. You will enjoy it, and you have got to play mighty good golf to make a good score”.
Rules and Regs. 1927
The beautiful clubhouse dates from the 1700’s (with Victorian additions) and the views from the summit of Pinner Hill and its golf course are quite marvelous, another vintage course review suggests we are at the same elevation as the top of the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and upon checking, Pinner Hill at 120 metres is actually 9 metres higher than London’s famous Cathedral.
The par 3, 11th hole, J. H. Taylors tribute to the Redan hole at North Berwick.
Pinner Hill has been a haunt for elite golfers throughout its history, the News Of The World match play mentioned above brought the best in the game to the club in the 1930’s and American ‘Sir’ Walter Hagen winner of 11 major’s played an exhibition match here in 1933. At the start of his career a young penniless South African professional lived on-site in his VW camper van for a while and was apparently invited to lunch every Sunday by the then Club Chairman. Gary Player would go on to win 9 major titles and is currently the oldest living winner of the Open Championship.
Upon his honorary life membership application Walter Hagen offers his handicap as +8 and notes
his other clubs as Tam O’Shanter GC, Oakland Hills GC & Buffalo CC
Reason to Play
Dramatic views aside Pinner Hill is one of the most testing golf courses in the County. On both nines magnificent par 5’s and 4’s abound and are accompanied by a remarkable set of par 3’s. Holes to look out for and particularly enjoy are the par 3, 11th. Heavily bunkered at the front with a strip of green sloping diagonally away right to left. This hole is John Henry’s tribute to the famous Redan hole at North Berwick and what a truly dangerous par 3 it is. The 252-yard par 4, 12th, is another intriguing hole. John Henry is credited with inventing the dog-leg hole and this example is a real sporting treat. A sharply sloped R/L fairway demands a precisely placed drive to set up the perfect approach to a dramatically stepped green, tiger beware, this short par 4 is a card wrecker.
Visitors are welcome at Pinner Hill and tee times can be booked by calling the pro shop on 020 8866 0963.
12 miles & 40 minutes from Heathrow and 17 miles & 50 minsutes from Marble Arch.
Club Website: https://www.pinnerhillgc.co.uk
J H Taylor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_Taylor
Golf Chronicle: Golf and vintage golf writing
Author - Lee Patterson, Jan 2021