Toot Hill, Essex Reviews
Toot Hill, EssexBy: Rex Inego | May 03, 2008 07:46 PM
Toot Hill is one of the best courses in the Ongar area. Unlike most of its local competition, it is set in a large, scenic, contoured area, well away from any busy roads. This is a big advantage, as most other courses in the area (and there are many) seem to back onto either the M25, M11 or the A414 for at least a few holes, which spoils the view and the round in general because of the intrusive road noise.
As soon as you arrive at toot hill, you will notice that the club has quite a stylish, upmarket look to it. You must enter through a set of big electric gates that open as you drive up to them. Once parked, you walk round to the main area, which has the pro-shop and the bar with outside seating, which overlooks a small lake with a fountain in the middle. On the other side is the 18th Green, which allows drinkers to watch people finish their rounds.
The course itself is quite a challenging one, with a mixture of trees, bunkers and water hazards. It is carefully maintained at all times of the year to a very high standard. The greens are always true and consistent, the bunkers filled with high quality sand and the fairways well kept (and watered in the summer by a network of sprinklers).
The signature hole, that has only recently been completed, is a 160 yard par 3 with an island green. There are also some long par 5 holes and some tricky par 4 dog legs with trees often being the big challenging obstruction.
The club has a lively members scene with lots of competitions, and is particularly busy every weekend in the early morning. The cost to become a member has tumbled over the last few years to approximately 1200 with no joining fee. This is for a 7 day membership as no 5 day membership is available. There is also an offer currently available for a temporary summer only membership, although it is unclear if this is a one off or if it will be available every year.
To play as a guest can be a bit pricey compared to some other courses in the area, but the extra cost is worth it for the quality of the course. During the spring and summer months, there is a twilight that usually starts at about 3PM, which is currently only ã17. The surprising thing about this is how few people take advantage of it, with there usually only being a few groups going out on the twilight. With the course being fairly empty at this time, it means you can go round at your own pace.
The club also has a full size driving range with grass tees in the summer, a plush bar and a putting green. There are numerous pros that are reported to be quite good, and a small but well stocked pro shop.
Pros: - Good course thats always in good condition - Good facilities - No nearby roads (although there is a small airfield not far away) - Good twilight offer
cons: - Can be a bit snotty for some. You will get told off for wearing trainers in the bar and not having your shirt tucked in. - There are not yardage posts. Only ground plates that mark 150 yards from the green. Posts were reportedly removed to stay consistant with other top courses.