Hainault Forest Golf Club

Hainault Forest Golf Club, Chigwell, East of England, England, IG7 4QW

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41 reviews of Hainault Forest Golf Club

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I was looking forward to playing this course as it used to be close to where I lived and I had been to the driving range plenty of times whilst learning to play.

Have to say unfortunately I was very disssapointed with the course.

Its one thing to have irrigation issues and patchy greens as you can understand that and sympathise to some extent (although you are paying a pretty decent price here so sympathy only goes so far). What I have little sympathy for is the two tracks that greeted us on at least two greens on the upper course.

Many of the bunkers were also labelled GUR and to be honest the others were in the most shocking state I have ever seen. It got to the point where we were having to drop next to the bunker as it was totally unrealistic to expect people to play out of them. Obligatory tyre tracks also present in some of the bunkers too.

Cant fault the staff or facilities but lets face it, its the golf we are there for.

Posted by Steve C on 09/06/2014
3
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I started to play golf at Hainault Forest over 40 years ago,the problem then and from what I read now is still the same,not enough green keeping staff to keep the course in the first class condition which it deserves to be maintained. If the course managers and or owners were to resolve this long standing problem then they would be guardians of two of the best golf courses in England. I had the honour and pleasure of being captain of the Irish international team which competed in the BETH ROWE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION at Hainault forest for around forty years,John Ward was captain for Scotland and Len Watling for England. Who ever won the celebrations went on until the small hours and friendships were made which will last for ever. I moved from Romford to Norfolk sixteen years ago and hope some time to return and hopefully enjoy the improved conditions at what will always be my favourite course.

Posted by John McCarthy on 09/04/2013
3
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iv been playing this golf course since i was a junior im now 22 and i played at th beginng of the last month and iv never seen the greens in such a terrible state rock solid, brown and im sure they were on the verge of losing the green. but having spoke to the new manager and was told that major problems with irrigation system was the problem and with all the hot weather and no rain has not done the course any favours kindly i was given a complimentary ticket and returned last week, and what an improvment!! the irrigation system is up and running and being told a new green keeper was brought in what a fantastic job he has done in the time he has been there! i was able to stop the ball on the greens hole some putts :-) and had a great day!
the staff have done a great job at getting the hainault we all no and love back let it continue!

Posted by john lock on 26/06/2011

For years I have been a fan, however having played the Upper course this weekend I was quite disapointed at the state of the greens. It seems to me that some improvents and Money has been spent on the facilities but without decent course management and upkeep i am afraid the effort has not been focused on the right areas.

Posted by Paul Taylor on 12/06/2011

Its funny how the two courses polarise opinions, you are either a upper or lower course player. The first 13 holes of the upper course great, twisty and hilly for the front nine, with really nice old springy fairways and great views. Set on the hill its a beautiful walk although it can be hard on the legs. The upper tails off a bit until you get to the 17th which is a beautiful hole with a tight drive and a sunken green, however you soon learn how to hit the green in regulation and the 18th is a nice finish, keep your drive left and u should be ok.
The Lower course is my personal favourite. 1st is a straight par 4 with a roll off to the right and a deep and narrow green and the 2nd is a really short 4 with a drive over the edge of the forest, I love the 3rd, a drive to the crest of the hill and downhill 2nd, so lovely on a summers day. Par 5 4th uphill, if the wind is in your face play behind the ditch. 5th is a straight little drag up the hill and the 6th makes you go uphill and then again to a small two tiered green, tough hole. 7th coming back the other way is a magnificent hole, beautiful elevated tee position down the fairway pond and tree to the right and a sharp drop off to the left, where you try to land the ball is a mystery. 8th is a par 3, more difficult than it looks as the wind is hidden by the trees and then the 9th should be easy right? haha
Coming home it gets intersting at the 12th, a beautifully difficult hole, drive right, forget it, drive straight and your second shot is blocked by the dogleg and drive to much left and you have the ball below your feet in the rough playing towards a green hidden around the corner of the dogleg, so beautiful. 13 amd 14 are the last 2 real holes of the course and then 15,16,17 seem to be ill thought out and designed with what little space was left. The 18th should be a par 3 these days.
Two great courses, yes it does get busy and there isnt always to much sand in the bunkers but that is part of golf, play the course as you find it. People who complain about divots should read the board as it plays pick and place so no bother about the divots. Too many people watch golf on the tv and then expect a well travelled course in the englih climate to play like a course in florida, it will never happen. No matter how much money you throw at the course it will play this way, damp fairways, muddy walkways britih bunkers a that is the way of golf in the uk.
If you are looking for a course to play, good value for money and beautiful surroundings look no further. If you can play in the summer after 4 on a sunday the course is quiet and you will have it to yourself, you could be at home getting the kids to bed or strolling the 12th fairwayon a warm and still summers evening, I know where I would rather be, feel free to say hello as I will be there.

Posted by Ed Paris on 05/04/2010
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I have been playing at Hainault for the past 30 odd years,mainly the top course,and never tire of playing it.Maintenance has vastly improved during all this time.I have played many courses mostly all over Essex,both private and public,but I still prefer Hainault.

Posted by Emanuel Finegold on 11/01/2010
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This may now be he third timme I've commented about this course , but recently its had a lot of money spent on it and and I've personally seen other aspects at close hand which are worthy of comments .
Firstly the top course , and I make no bones about only talking about the top course as I find the bottom course a little boring .
The fairways and greens have improved no end as I hear that recently the head greenkeeper has changed , I cannot confirm personally confirmm this but the changes are there to see out on the course . The bunkers still have to many that are shabby but new sand has gone into some so hopefully the rest willl follow . The greens have really sped up loads recently and require an note of caution .
I really like the top course and although its not long ( a lot of holes are driver , flick with wedge ) but I've often just tee off with a 4 or 6 iron to give me that longer 2nd shot .
Shop / clubhouse . The shop has moved within the building and now there is a smaller shop ( but it still has everything ) and now a bar adjacent so you can have that chat afterwards about the shots that got away :-)
Changing rooms - All brand new , plenty of money sent and although not massive more than adaquate .
Pro's - I can only comment upon one who has taken both myself and my 6 yr old son for lessons and I would HIGHLY recomend him to anyone ... and I already have ! If your in a fix then ask for Matt who for £20 willl give you a video lesson and begin to put you straight .
For the moment that's it , book a game there ... I promise you will not be disappointed for £25 .

Posted by Neville Harrington on 01/09/2009
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Hainault was where I learned to play golf some 20 years ago . It was always considered to be very good but rounds could take 5 hours . I have given up membership at another local club as the price was too high and played Hainault over the Easter weekend . I really like the top course and on the Friday a round took under 3 hours . Went back on the Monday and a round took 4 hours 15 minutes which in my opinion is too long . The guys in the pro shop assure me that if you do tee off after 2pm even in the afternoon at weekends you are unlikely to experience 4 hour rounds . I hope they are correct as I will be back at Hainault because I really enjoyed the top course . I have never played the lower course it was considered the course the proper golfers played years ago . Now I can play a bit handicap is around 18 I will give the lower course a bash and see what I think . If as other people say it is flat and just longer I will stay with the fun of the top course . Hainault has offers available - over Easter if you waited to tee off after 3pm was £ 8 a round . I think the block tickets for 25 games a year are also good value .

Posted by GRAHAM BARKER on 15/04/2009
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I played the upper course at Hainault Forest Yesterday. I liked this parkland course with occasional great views over the rolling hills. I had a 6:30am tee-off so there were no problems with slow play, but the member I played with did confirm the course gets very busy later in the mornings. The course is quite hilly, but I didn’t find this off putting or the slopes too steep.
There are the usual annoyances with public courses, i.e. lots of diverts and obvious deep pitch marks in the greens, but I’m not sure we can complain about these being the green staff’s fault.
My only complaints with this course are the bunkers; they are in a disgraceful condition. A few of them have been declared GUR as they are in such poor repair and the others are like playing out of a grey dried stony river bed. Many of them have tall vegetation growing in them and look like they have not been deep racked for years. I really don’t know how the owners and the green staff can hold their heads up over allowing their bunkers to suffer such neglect. It is easy to say, “then play better and keep out of the bunkers”, but there are so many in terrible repair (and did I mention the grey appearance) that you can’t ignore them even if you don’t go in them.
The greens are in great nick, even with the aforementioned pitch marks.
It is strange that the clubhouse’s refreshments (café) are in an outside building; the owners opting for a Chinese restaurant within the clubhouse building. That said, the café offered good food with ample seating. The course also has a large halfway house which I’m told is also very good …… but I played too early to benefit from this as it wasn’t open for our early game.
The main clubhouse male toilets were out of order when we tried to use them, so we had to queue for the disabled facilities. This wasn't too much of an issue for an early game, but I bet later on when the club got busy it really was a problem.
I will be visiting again and also hope to play the lower course. I do however feel that after a few games my annoyance with the appalling bunkers will eventually ruin the experience and I’ll move on to somewhere else. It’s a shame, because otherwise I could quite happily stump-up for a 7-day membership at Hainault Forest, if they would just sort the bunkers out!! Bottom line the course needs some TLC, but not with an increase of green fees.

Posted by Keith Bateman on 21/06/2008
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Played the lower course on the 9th February
£25 is imho a lot to pay for this course. The first 6 holes are boring being very straight and lacking in interest. In fact the course can be described as boring with only 2 par 3's and 2 par 5's it gets very samey.
There are some interesting holes that wind there way through some mature trees but unfortunately the whole course gave you the impression of being over played, It was very worn, tyre tracks trough the first green being a good example.
Also the drainage was quite poor, I played on a bright dry day with little rain on the days prior and large parts of the course were very boggy. Finding a drive you have just smacked down the middle plugged was not an unusual occurrence.
However the driving range was excellent and the food facilities after the 14th very welcome.
All in all quite disappointing day, the course needs more variety and wouldn’t recommend playing in winter.

Posted by Michael Young on 11/02/2008
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I played the upper course yesterday and can see why there are mixed reviews of the course... There's definitely potential here, but it seems to need a little TLC and also some stronger marshalling (in fact, some marshalling at all would be good). We were somewhat concerned to see a 6 ball playing the 18th when we arrived and were held up for most of the afternoon by a 5 ball playing in front! It's hardly surprising that the round took over 5 hours (frustrating for a swift golfer such as myself). Generally, the tee boxes were pretty scabby, but the greens were fairly true and quite fast too. It's a shame that more of the Hainault golfers don't repair their pitch marks and rake the bunkers, but to be honest that seems to be a more common problem everywhere these days.
I'm used to hilly courses as I usually play courses on the south downs, so I didn't find it as hilly as some seem to, but I can see how the hills and different wind directions could make the course pleasantly different if I played it again.
It's a short course - a few 260-300yd par 4s and a par 3 under 100yds (actually playing about 85yds yesterday as the tee was well forward), but still challenging for accuracy on a few tree-lined holes and dog-legs.
The chinese restaurant in the clubhouse is a surprise, but the food was good - they put on a buffet for our society and looked after us well.
To sum it up, it's a course you will enjoy if it's not too busy and you're not too hung up about imaculate tee boxes and perfect course etiquette. It's a public course after all, so to expect a member's course experience is a little hopeful. Saying that, it wouldn't take much more in terms of maintenence and marshalling to improve matters greatly.

Posted by Matt Pipe on 24/09/2007
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I played the lower course on 5th September and found this course lacking in overall general maintenance. Grass not cut on some holes and where it had the cuttings left where they had fallen. You do not expect to find long cuttings left on the surround of greens. Bunkers were lacking sand and were like playing off a clay tennis court. I cannot agree with previous reports posted, this is a long way from being the best course in Essex, there are very much better out there. I know that it is a public course but that is no excuse for its state. The more people who play, the more should be spent in maintaining it, something that appears not to be happening here. I will not be returning.

Posted by Robert Pease on 11/09/2007
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I played the lower course on Wednesday 15th August 2007.
A great course but in dire need of some maintenance.
The hackers have spoilt what should be a stunning public course.
Each fairway must have had over a hundred divots that had not been replaced.
Each green had at least four or five pitch marks that had not been repaired.
And every bunker I passed/went in had foot prints in it despite there being two or three rakes to each one.
The views are stunning and there are some truly great holes to play.
I would recommend that you play this course as I prefer it of the two courses here.
The lower course is hilly but not as hilly as the upper course! You have been warned, if you are not as fit as you think you are hire a buggy.

Posted by Russell Middleton on 16/08/2007
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The lower course is the nicest course in the county.
For a public course it is well maintained, yes the odd bunker doesnt drain and the tees get alot of use so you can't always get a good spot but for shher beauty and playability you cannot do better. The upper course is knackering. Equally as beautiful but use a buggy. The 7th, 12th, 3rd et all are beautiful holes. This course stands up.

Posted by Pepe Gonzales on 03/06/2007
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Played the lower course 10/10/06 - had a fantastic day out, weather was poor for the first nine but brigtened up thereafter. The course is in fantastic condition for a public course. This year I have played many different courses from championship courses like Wentworth, to lesser known courses like Ilford, and I have enjoyed Hainault just as much as any other, the bottom line is that Hainault is terrific value for money - just don't turn up at the weekend even if you've booked tee times expecting a sub four hour round, there are just too many people wanting to play (and a lot of these will be beginners or high handicappers) As far as scenery and layout go - it is very hard to beat.

Posted by John Pilka on 11/10/2006
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I wasn't expecting Hainult Golf Course to be as nice as it was being a public course. The cafe at the start was a handy touch, the shop staff were helpful and there was no shortage of buggies.
The course itself was well kept, greens in good nick, bunkers all had rakes and it was a good mixture of holes.
Hainult it has to be said is very tiring with all its uphill walking involved so i'd probably take a buggy next time. I must've walked 5 miles!!!
The food and drinks hut after the 8th was a nice surprise and I recommend the bacon burgers highly!
The club house afterwards had plenty of space for all and my party also ventured into the chinese restaurant attached which was top drawer for £15 a head.
I'll be going back in a hurry

Posted by Ned Ondo on 05/09/2006
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Hainault is a decent set-up with the cafe at the start and the halfwayhouse (when it's open), and to have 2 courses of 18 holes with so much variety so close to London is a bonus. If you like a manicured course however, look elsewhere. The bunkers are never raked and very poorly looked after as is the course generally, mainly because it's always so busy. Which brings me to the other problem, way too many novices and other people who don't get the whole etiquette thing, I never thought I'd say that but I finally get the point! I've seen some old boy play a random selection of holes wearing a mac on several occasions! Could be the best course in the M25 if they would/could spend some money on it!

Posted by Rupert Martin on 04/07/2006
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I played the top course last week and it was a really good experience.
The course was delightful and, despite not being the longest in the world, a good challenge. It is excellent value and in very good condition, especially bearing in mind that it is a public course and is very popular/busy.
I found the speed of the greens difficult to assess and seemed variable, but that could just be me!
The only criticism, is that the tee boxes were a bit worn, but I've certainly played off worse!
I would recommend the course to anybody, but those who are a bit unfit should be warned that it's a bit hilly.

Posted by Alan Cooke on 03/10/2005
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Hainault was the first course i ever played as a kid, 20 years ago. I loved it then and still do now. I'm sure my mates are bored of me banging on about it. Both top and bottom courses are challenging in different ways. The top is a shorter but tighter course where you have to think your way round. It also is the prettier course in my opinion. The lower course is more of a big hitters course with longer par 4's but a more generous landing area. Which ever course you play you will not be disappointed. If you are an Essex golfer, it is the best you will find with The South Essex being its nearest challenger.

Posted by Anton Prior on 21/09/2005
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I have played Hainault course off and on for approx 20 years now ( I'm only 35 ) and I still keep coming back as I haven't found another course/courses that offer as much for the price . I personally prefer the top course as its more hilly and offers more variety with many different holes ( 2 par 5's - one up & one down hill , 4 par 3's - varying lengths , and like wise the par 4's ranging from 280 to 450 yds ). I've played this course in the snow right the way thru to playing there whilst driving a buggy with the sun beating down in 100 degrees , with mixed scores and when the course is in great nick ( or sometimes not ) . I keep going back cos even though I must have played over 200 rounds there EVERY one has been different because of what the course offers . Recently they have added buggies for hire ( must have at least 40 ! ) the halfway house that can be used from either course and yardage marker posts to make players lives easier on the way round . This is a top quality venue for players who haven't got handicaps ( I did have one for a while and I play off 12 ) and great value for money at around £23 at the weekend . They also take various greenfee vouchers . Lastly , In all the times I have played there its taken anything from 3 - 6 hrs to play .... my advice - get out of bed early and start by 7.30 - 8.00 you'll be back indoors for sunday lunch with the wife no problems !! My course rating of 7 is only becasue I play off 12 , when I was starting out I thought it was a beast !

Posted by Neville Harrington on 10/08/2005
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There seems to be a lot of comment about Hainault!!!
For what its worth I played the lower course at 8am on a very rainy July Wednesday morning. No one ahead of us and no one behind us - an absolutely unpressured 18 holes.
The course itself was lovely. Played long because it was wet but in pretty good condition. Loads of gorgeous trees framed most holes perfectly, each hole was certainly distinct from the others. Particularly liked par 3 8th - over a valley and a valley of bunkers. 2nd and 12th were interesting dog-legs, 7th and 13th were both lengthy but good par 4s. 16th just about driveable, 18th I hit green with a 5 wood.
Tees and greens were perfectly acceptable (except possibly some of the women's tees which seemed to have missed the lawnmower's attention). Only criticism would be the fact that there are only two par 3s. Course would seem far more balanced with a couple more - certainly the 18th could be shortened to a par 3?
With regards to the other comments, my round was lovely but arriving at the 18th there appeared to be considerably more numbers starting their rounds. My recommendation would be to start early - but what course, municipal or not, does this not apply to?
Had a lovely bar meal for £5.50 overlooking both 18th greens - no need to go in the more formal restaurant.
Overall, really impressed with the complex but for the golf I would rather play here thsn at any of Maylands, South Essex, Stock Brook or Manor of Groves. I guess the key is to judge the time you play.

Posted by Richard Freeman on 27/07/2005
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We played this course on Saturday 16th October. It was the first time we had played here and found it to be a very interesting course. Unfortunately the incessant rain in previous days and during our round meant that the course was not in the best of shape. however by the other comments here, I am sure that we were just unfortunate and that the condition of the fairways, bunkers, greens etc match the design of the course. Some holes are quite spectacular, with rolling fairways and great views (it is hard to believe that this course is still within the boundaries of the London underground!). The cafe by the first tee is great although the Chinese restaurant in the clubhouse is nothing special.
Also liked the idea of the food/drink cabin halfway round.
The driving range is also of a high quality. We didn't experience the lengthy rounds as described before, but did notice people holding things up because they were answering mobiles and juniors jumping in front of us at the 14th! I suppose, all in all though, that this was a good venue and value for money.

Posted by Martin Eady on 18/10/2004
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Played this course yesterday and had a great time! Excellent condition for a public course, with excellent driving range next door. Played the Upper Course amd it was everything you would want from a course. The back nine have plenty of trees and it must be wonderful to play in mid summer. Loved the 9th, 10th and 11th especially. The rough is forgiving and the greens are responsive even though most have been 'aired' this week. Can't wait to play there again..... Oh, and I nearly forgot, you can ring through for a bacon butty on the 8th and pick it up at the hut when you have finished. Well worth £22

Posted by Darren Close on 26/09/2004
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I've been reading with interest some of the comments made about Hainault Forest Golf Complex adn thought I would add my 2 peneth. I have played both courses at Hainault on numerous occasions over the past 5 years and here is some advise for those thinking about visiting it. You have to remember that Hainualt is a public course and for public course it is in very good condition. The top course is more of a "players" course, with some good course management required to keep the score down. The lower course, although longer, is a bit more forgiving with some "let it rip" par 5's and drivable par 4's for longer hitters. I for one, play golf not only for the game, but also to take in some of the great surroundings and landscapes. Hainault definitely satisfies the latter and I know it's been mentioned before, but when you arrive at the 12th tee, just take a moment to take in this spectacular hole! I'm lucky enough to be able to play during the week and to be honest, apart from when playing twilight, I've not encountered any of the problems due to slow play, but having played once on a Saturday morning, I can understand some peoples frustrations at weekends, but like I said, It's a public course and anywhere that lets people wear trainers, is asking for problems. The staff are always pleasant and never look down thier noses at you and the Imperial restuarant is superb, not only catering for golfers, but has also earned itself a good reputation with the local community. In my opinion, for an under £20 round, it takes some beating! Mickey.

Posted by Michael Rowe on 09/09/2004
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THIS COURSE MAY NOT BE LONG BUT ITS NARROW FAIRWAYS MORE THAN MAKE UP FOR THAT. WHAT A CHALLENGE!!!!!

Posted by Michael Jones on 06/12/2003
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Course information

Number of holes 18
Year opened -
Designer -
Style Parkland

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Men's 6600 72
Ladies'

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