Stanmore & Edgware Golf Centre (London)
One of the most visited municipal golf centres in Northwest London is the Stanmore & Edgware Golf Centre. I have been visiting this centre on and off for many years but only recently have been frequenting it on a weekly basis, and so have got to know it rather well, and thought I'd share my thoughts with any golf enthusiasts or ... people who are just interested in taking up the sport.
With six locations in the UK, all based in and around London, and with an academy in Spain and one opening soon in Poland, Cranfield Golf Academy operate the centre. Many facilities are available for use, with a large car park, comprehensive pro-shop, a huge Floodlit Range, Equipment Hire, Bunker/Approach and Putting practice areas and a Par 3 9-hole course. Although there is no bar or hot food available, there are vending machines with the usually high-priced drinks and snacks. The staff are always friendly and cheery, and always on hand to help you. The whole centre can get busy on weekends, with visiting families and junior/adult coaching lessons being the majority of the customers.
--Getting There and Surrounding Areas--
Located between the London suburbs of Stanmore and Edgware, the centre is off the A5 (Brockly Hill) and is very easy to find in the semi-rural surroundings. Public transport links are close by, but will require a short walk. If travelling by bus, you can get the 142, 107, 615 to the nearby junction of Canons Corner, and also the H12 or 324 to Stanmore Underground Station. I would advise a cab if you get to this station however, as this is a fair distance away from the centre. You can get the underground also to Stanmore Station via the Jubilee line or take the Northern line to Edgware central station, where you will be able to get a cab or bus to the centre. Like all of these type of golf centres, travelling in by car is the best option. With ample free parking (over 60 spaces) and easy to reach whether from London or the nearby A41 and M1, I have never had problems with parking or local traffic, which of course can get a little heavy in the rush hour.
For refreshments and drinks outside of the centre, at the nearby Canons corner there is a Tesco/Garage and a Drive-thu McDonalds, with also a parade of shops opposite of the Tesco. Further afield in Stanmore and Edgware town centres, there are numerous restaurants and bars for your refreshment. It is also worth noting that Edgware College is nearby to the Canons corner junction, and does make the Tesco's and McDonalds busy with teenagers and students around rush hour times.
Stanmore & Edgware Golf Centre, Brockley Hill, Stanmore, Middlesex, London. HA7 4LR
Opening Times - 8am to 10pm Weekdays, 8am to 9pm Weekends
--Prices and Parking--
As I have already mentioned, car parking is free and there is plenty of space for customers of the centre only. There are always groundsmen and staff around so you can take heart that your car is safe. Prices for the range are pretty good and the green fee's in particular are very reasonable. The pro-shop prices are to be expected, with a range of budget and premium equipment, and there can sometime be some good end-of-line deal available. Coaching and lesson costs vary, and all of these details can be found on the Cranfield Golf Website. (See bottom of review) If you are a regular to golf and have a Range Card, discounts are available.
Basket of 50 Balls for the Range = £3.50
Basket of 90 Balls for the Range = £5.50
Basket of 130 Balls for the Range = £6.50
With a Range Card
Basket of 50 Balls for the Range= £3.40 (Early Bird Price = £2.00)
Basket of 90 Balls for the Range = £4.90 (Early Bird Price = £3.00)
Basket of 130 Balls for the Range = £5.50 (Early Bird Price = £3.50)
(Early Bird Times = 8am to 12pm Weekdays)
Range Card "Top-ups"
£20 will give £20
£50 will be topped up to £55
£100 top-up will give you £115
Green Fee's 9 Holes Per Person - Adult £6.70: Junior/Senior £5.20.
Green Fee's 18 Holes Per Person - Adult £9.30: Junior/Senior £7.30.
Range Card holders receive a £1 discount on the green fee's
Club/Bag Hire - £2.00
Trolley Hire - £1.00
--Range and Clubhouse--
The full length driving range at the centre is excellent, with 40 bays on two levels and a further 9 bays for approach practice and a practice bunker, everything to catered for. 18 of the lower level bays have 'Power Tee's', which automatically set your ball on the tee. These have recently been installed, and so have clean and new mats. The other bays have traditional manual rubber set tee's and are clean and tidy as well, with plenty of space to move around and store clubs. The walkway behind the bays is also quite wide, and has seating for onlookers, with two ball dispensing machines on the lower level and one of the upper level, which is accessible by a small staircase only. The approach practice bays are frequently used for coaching and are the only bays which are uncovered. The practice bunker is kept clean and tidy, but can get waterlogged quickly with high rainfall. The whole range area is well maintained, and with the addition of the floodlights, swing practice in the dark can be a joy, with the whole range lit up nicely. The overall upkeep of the range itself could be a little better however. The bunkers look a little ropey and ball collection doesn't seem to be frequent enough, because a lot of balls are on the range at any one time, and sometimes left on the course surrounding the range. Taking these shortcoming into consideration though, the quality is high indeed. So much so that the English Gold Union has awarded the centre with a Rangemark accreditation. One negative would be the putting practice area (situated next to the car park), is in dire need of refurbishment, with the holes and surface in a very poor condition.
Operated by Direct Golf UK, the pro-shop of the centre is well stocked, with all the major golfing brand names like Callaway, Nike, Ping, Titelist, Letters and so on. Every type of golfing equipment can be found, including clubs, bags, clothes etc etc... An impressive selection, and not just for the higher-end equipment either. Budget brands are available too, so the shop has a nice balance for the customer. There is a limited selection of drinks and snacks stocked, as well as toilet facilities and an outdoor seating area. The shop area, which also has the main reception counter in, is not overly large inside, and can get congested at busy times. I would recommend if you have a trolley with your clubs, not to take it inside the shop or through to the range, as you may become a hindrance, carry your clubs through instead.
With an excellent range and a high quality pro shop, you may be thinking now of me describing a brilliant nine holes of sculpted landscaping. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Although the course is nicely set out, wrapping around the range and car park, the overall quality of each of the holes is left wanting. Each of the holes are given names on the scorecard, and that seems to be their only individuality. Although not exactly the same, they are very similar to one another, with few natural course obstacles and aside from the fifth hole, every pin is sighted from the tee, with little course undulation and few turns. This all makes for the round to be a little easy, even though some pin placements can make it a bit more challenging.
Onto the quality of the surfaces, the fairways are cut nicely, and the rough varies in lengths, which is good. They are susceptible to a little water-logging though. The greens, even though they are cut close with pronounced fringes, again can water-log easily. One of the most annoying, and unprofessional, aspects about the greens are the pin locations. Many times after the pin has been moved, the previous hole has been left unplugged and exposed, leaving the green with two holes! This can and does cause problems if you would mistakenly hole-out into one or find yourself in the line of the real pin. This, for me is unacceptable on any course, and I am glad it doesn't happen all of the time, but it really should be addressed. The greens also should be cleared more frequently of leaves and debris.
This isn't the worse thing about the course however, the tee's are in much need of replacing or renewing, as some are in a very poor condition indeed. Each hole has a single, slightly elevated mat tee position similar to the range bays, but the mats are in a poor state, some badly worn and very slippery. There is also a rubber tee holder in each mat, and I often find broken tee's and other debris blocking the holes, making it hard to position your own tee. Like the greens, I feel this is just down to a little bit of neglect on the groundsmen's part, and should be put right as soon as possible. There are also litter bins beside each tee which are sometimes left un-emptied, and range balls can be left discarded too.
At weekends, you may find that the ninth hole is being used for coaching lessons, and becomes unplayable. Some may take exception to this, but you can just play the first hole over again to finish off. Some positives are that the course is pleasant to walk around, the surrounding woodland is kept quite neat and tidy, doesn't have long wait times for each group playing and hole five can be a very entertaining hole.
Although I have raised many negatives about this golf centre, I regularly visit because I feel the overall quality is of a high standard. The course, which can vary with is condition greatly, is definitely in need of an overhaul. Replacing the tee's with new mats and making sure the greens are kept correctly for play would be a major improvement.
All this is a shame, because the centre is a nice place to visit on the whole, with quality facilities and services on hand, all in a nice location close to London. Don't let my concerns and observations detract you from visiting the centre however, you may have a day where the course is perfect, but it is worth visiting solely for the range along, which is one of the best I have been to in the country. With good prices and excellent staff, its a great place to go for a bit of practice, and hitting a long drive under the floodlights makes you feel great.
Thanks for Reading. © Novabug.
Also Posted on Ciao.co.uk
Useful websites for Stanmore & Edgware Golf Centre-
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Nine Of Herts Golf Centre (Rickmansworth)
I have been a keen follower of golf in recent years, and have been to a fair few pay & play courses and driving ranges, so I thought I'd try out this new Crown Golf centre built very near where I live. Its nice to have a good amount of pay & play courses in the local area, because as a casual golfer, membership fees to private ... clubs can be very high, and if you are looking for just a quick round there no place better than a good quality 9-hole pay & play.
Located on the main road between Rickmansworth and Moor Park (Batchworth Road/London Road), the Nine of Herts Golf centre is well signposted and easy to find. Being about a mile from Rickmansworth town centre, its a long walk so it would be an idea to get a cab from the station if travelling by train. I recommend visiting by car. It has a large free car park with plenty of space and seldom gets full up, although can be busy on weekends. The entrance to the car park is a little uneven, so care must be taken to avoid possible damage to your vehicle.
Weekday Green Fees for 1 player - £10 (Under 16's £5)
Weekend Green Fees for 1 player - £12 (Under 16's £7)
Weekday Green Fees for 2 players - £18
Weekend Green Fees for 2 players - £22
Weekday Green Fees for 3 players - £24
Weekend Green Fees for 3 players - £30
Basket of 25 balls for the range - £2.50
Basket of 50 balls for the range - £3.50
Trolley Hire - £2.50
Club Hire - £5.50
Shoe Hire - £3.50
--Range and Clubhouse--
The complex itself is a small and modest pay & play 9-hole Par 33 course with a 10 bay driving range. Being a new course, it sometimes takes time for it too 'grow in', but I must say I believe they have done an excellent job with this centre. It does have a bit of character about it, and feels unique in the way of how casual and comfortable it makes you feel, no matter what your skill level is. The clubhouse is a smallish wood-house style building, clean and comfortable, where you can pay more your golf. It has an outdoor viewing area for the range, and vending machines for your refreshments. Unfortunately their is no bar or hot food available. You can hire clubs, trolleys and shoes, and you can buy balls, tee's and other peripheral golfing items. The staff are very helpful and friendly, and all the environment is kept very clean and tidy to make for a very welcoming place, especially for a beginner.
The range is behind the clubhouse, but access to it with you clubs must be gained from going around. This range has a limited distance, and as such Drivers and Woods are not permitted for use, which is a shame. There are 4 covered bays, and the rest are uncovered, but all kept in good condition and have high quality mats.
The course itself is well designed, not too hard but then again not a literal 'walk in the park' (Hole 3 being particularly tough). It's very easy to navigate and find your way around, with good sign-posting all around the course pathways, and the quality of the fairways and greens is excellent for a municipal course. There are area's of rough which really are just trouble of your ball finds them, so it does challenge your somewhat. Some of the shrubbery and bushes have yet to grow to full size, so the course will become more challanging when they do. The bunkers are nicely cut, kept clean and most have rakes within them. The green fee's and range-ball charges are quite standard, so not overpriced in the least, I felt I got my monies worth, just, when I played there. The pricing to play the actual course is on the sliding scale, if more of you play, the cheaper it becomes.
Most pay & play courses do suffer from a degree of abuse due to 'some' types on clientèle they receive , and sometimes not all are kept as they should be. As a new course, it may be difficult to judge on weather this course keeps as well once it has grown in and seen many levels of golfers on it. On first experiences, is has rather average drainage, with some fairway becoming a little waterlogged, but the greens stay true and drain well. The groundsmen tend to buzz around a lot, and were certainly active around the course when I first visited.
In conclusion, an excellent place to pass a few hours golfing. I recommend this Golf Centre to anyone in the area if you like a bit of golf. Brilliant for a family day or catch-up with an old friend as well. Time will tell is it can be maintained to the high level it has started at, For now, good job Crown Golf.
For more information visit their website at http://www.9ofherts.co.uk/
Thanks for Reading. © Novabug. (Updated 1/2/11)
Also Posted on Ciao.co.uk
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Winners 2000 Gym
The gym - nobody likes it do they? Exercising consciously in front of a group of sculpted men and women, the dreaded personal trainers, however, if you want to get or stay fit, what other options do you have? Home gyms cost thousands, workout DVDs end up in charity shops and running outside during the summer months is all well and good, ... but during the winter when it's minus 5, it's just not so appealing is it?
To that end, the gym always sounds like a good idea, and with so many gyms to choose from, it can be an important (and expensive) choice. After all, you don't just want a place with all the up to date equipment that does everything imaginable, first and foremost you need a place that you feel comfortable in, and Winners 2000 could be just the place.
Winners 2000 currently only have three locations in the UK, in Newton Abbot, Paignton and Torquay, all situated in Devon and having visited all three sites frequently for some time now, I feel obliged to give you a first hand view of what this gym has to offer.
*** Signing Up ***
Ok, so you've reached the first hurdle, you've plucked up the courage to join the gym and now all that's required is to register. This is incredibly simple and there are two methods - online or onsite. The online method takes around 5 minutes and will simply require all your generic information (name, address, phone number etc), before taking your bank details to set up the direct debit. This is the downside to the online registration - you need to put in your bank details immediately in order to complete the sign up process. This definitely isn't a good idea if you've never visited the gym before, as, although you do have a 7 day cooling off period where you're able to cancel the direct debit, as soon as you step foot in the gym, inside the 7 days or not, this right is void. Therefore it's wise to take a trip there, have a look around the gym, with or without a trainer before choosing to sign up online if you so wish. If you're not so technically minded, you may wish to sign up the old fashioned way, good old face to face, you'll simply have to give the instructor your details before he or she gives you a medical form to fill out (with the online process, you'll be given the form as soon as you visit the gym), this isn't a long and drawn out process, but it is of course a vital step in your registration.
Immediately after, you'll be presented with your Winners 2000 membership card, which will allow you access to the gym by swiping it upon entering, this will require having your picture taken, but your picture will not appear on the card. You will also be assigned a personal trainer, who will take you through an induction, this, however will not be immediate and you will have to book an appointment with them, they're very personable and have no qualms about giving you their mobile number for you to text or ring them about appointments.
That's all well and good you may be thinking, but you haven't told me the most important thing - the price. Ah yes, almost forgot about that one. The direct debit will set you back £29 a month for 24 months (you are contractually obliged to pay for the 24 months) and if the money does not come out of your account for whatever reason you'll be charged an administration fee of £25. The money will be debited from your account on the first day of every month and when your 24 months are up, Winners will continue to charge you unless you notify them that you no longer wish to continue. If you'd prefer to pay up front, then you'll be charged £245 for 12 months which is a significant saving if you work it out, however, if you're not 100% sure you'll make full use of the gym then I'd opt for the direct debit. The £29 a month gives you access to the gym whenever you like, for however long you like, with no restrictions. This also includes a number of classes. There are other memberships available, such as students, schools and 2 week holiday passes.
*** Rules ***
There are certain rules that Winners request their clients to observe and these must be strictly adhered to, such as putting equipment back where you found it, wiping benches after use with provided paper towels and spray and of course personal hygiene. The other rules really just follow the lines of common sense and decency (respecting others, no foul language etc).
*** Induction ***
So, you've signed up and you've booked your induction (every member must have an induction with a trainer), inductions last around 45 minutes to hour and will consist of being shown around the gym, being shown the correct techniques for equipment and they will create a workout/nutritional plan if you so wish.
*** Personal Trainers ***
There are numerous personal trainers available and when you sign up, you will be automatically assigned to one, however, you can change if there are any problems. Gender isn't an issue here, as they often match females with males and males with females, however, if you'd like somebody of the same sex, you've only to ask. All staff are friendly and highly motivated, always scattered around the gym actively helping people. They're not pushy, however, they will assess whether they think you want the help first, although if you're doing something incorrectly that could possibly end up in injury then they will approach no matter what.
Apart from a bit of help time to time, you can of course book sessions with your trainer, however, these are very expensive and you may want to stick to the routine given to you in your induction for a little while, before deciding that a trainer is necessary. 3 sessions with your trainer will set you back £59, whereas 5 sessions will cost you an impressive £89, so make sure it's what you really need before diving in as these sessions are only an hour each. Sessions are helpful though and although they may not be a permanent fixture during your workouts, they may aid your motivation when you join and thus can be very helpful.
*** Changing Rooms ***
Changing rooms vary depending on gender, I know that the men have a communal shower area (don't ask how, I just do!), whereas the females are treated to three separate shower cubicles. There's of course a lock on the door with a decent size space to change/dry and two hooks to hang your belongings up on. The walk in showers definitely are not cramped and the showers themselves are of a high quality and very powerful. There's soap provided in a dispenser which can be used on both hair and body, but it really doesn't lather enough for me, therefore I tend to bring my own shampoo/conditioner and shower gel.
There are numerous lockers and you'll always find space to leave your things, the only downside being that you'll need to either provide your own padlock (these are standard sizes and can be picked up from places such as Homebase or B&Q for around 99p), otherwise you'll be forced to purchase one from behind the desk which will set you back £5. Fortunately the Newton Abbot site is situated opposite Homebase, so if you do forget you won't be out of pocket after being forced to purchase another one. There are two types of lockers, big and small, the big ones are longer, but are a little limited width wise, so if you tend to bring a sports bag it may need to be pushed in somewhat before you can close the door.
The big downside to the changing rooms is the heat, infact, after a strenuous workout the heat from the changing rooms can make you feel dizzy and on the verge of passing out so I recommend a cold shower to sort that out. Besides that, the changing rooms are a decent size and always hygienic, so it's a thumbs up in this area.
*** Facilities ***
Starting off with a negative, the gym doesn't have a pool, which may be a downside for some, however, what it lacks in water it makes up for in everything else. The main gym floor is surprisingly spacious, you may not think it from the outside, but it's a very large space and there's never a feeling of claustrophobia. All equipment is modern, but most importantly easy to use and of course if you are stuck there are trainers scattered all over the place willing to help you. There's music in the background, loud enough for you to hear, but quiet enough to be drowned out by headphones if you so wish and there are numerous TV screens on the right side of the floor situated above the treadmills and the bikes.
All the equipment is pretty generic, you're unlikely to find anything here that you won't find in any other gym, but it's definitely of a high standard and a lot better than some other gyms offer and there's undoubtedly more of a range than some other gyms can boast of. During the day is the best time to visit as it is very rarely busy, although they do offer special days where schools visit and other types of classes, but after coming for a while you'll become aware of the best times to come and even then, the gym can never be described as overcrowded. There's air conditioning on at all times, but this is very subtle and once you start to train you will become hot very quickly. There are windows looking out onto an outside training area, however, only staff are permitted to open these. There's a water fountain situated near the men's changing rooms, with a tap to fill your water bottle and a nozzle to allow you to drink straight from it. There aren't, however, any cups provided, so you're always advised to bring your own water bottles for convenience. Separate to the main floor there's a room to the side, where all the classes take place, of which there are a range of, with something to suit everyone.
There's a sauna and a steam room situated just outside both the male and female changing rooms and these are free to all members. They're relatively small, but are very welcoming and are very rarely crowded, so it's always a good idea to make use of them while they're there. There's also a sunbed situated near the exit, however, this isn't free and is very popular with members so I recommend finding a separate sunbed facility that will offer a cheaper service.
*** Overview ***
Overall it's very hard to fault this gym as everything is of an unusually high standard. Staff are highly trained and very friendly, the facilities are well kept and spacious and membership prices are extremely competitive in comparison with other gyms.
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