Often when you mention a municipal golf course you have preconceived ideas? Visions of bare fairways, litter bins overflowing and greens with chunks out of them!
Hartswood Golf Club, in Brentwood, was certainly a good course the last time I played there. That was a long time ago though in fact 20 years ago. The only way to find out is to go and play there yourself.
Fred Hawtree, one of the most renowned course designers of his generation designed the course in the 1960's. Notably he came from a family of course architects, with the Hawtree name also represented at Royal Birkdale!
Stand on the first tee you may have visions of burning up the course! The scorecard is deceptive even off the whites. At just over 6000 yards there are plenty of twists and turns to be had. At Hartswood that is certainly the case. The first hole is rather innocuous, short and a relatively wide fairway... but after that it changes which means you'd be foolhardy to simply assume a great score will happen.
The second hole demands a decision of whether to lay up or risk taking the pond on. You cross the road to be welcomed by a sharp dog leg right into a small green protected by bunkers. A driver is possibly too long but without commitment with a wood/iron then you will be blocked out! Decisions, decisions but isn't that what makes a great course?
There are many wonderful looking golf holes for you to play and enjoy. Take care where you place your ball on the fairway. You will be blocked out by magnificent native trees if you don't get it absolutely right.
Given the troubles of lockdown and the incredibly dry weather, the tees, fairways and greens were in excellent condition. Full credit must go to the Greenkeepers for this. Amazingly, half of the course has to be hand watered, including greens though you'd struggle to know what half. The staff really have done a tremendous job which is evident in the condition which means your experience is so much better.
Go and surprise yourself and possibly change your perception. This course is well worth a visit so put it on your list.