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  • Neil White

The Addington

"For some time, my wife's had this ridiculous idea that I'm playing too much golf. Actually, it came to a head at about 11.30 last night. She suddenly shouted at me: "Golf, golf, golf. All you ever think about is bloody golf!

"And I'll be honest, it frightened the life out of me. I mean, you don't expect to meet somebody on the 14th green at that time of night."

A joke from the beloved comedian Ronnie Corbett who was a devotee of The Addington. His house, Fairways, backed on to the course and even when he wasn't playing, he emerged through bushes at the back of the second hole to walk his dog.

Five years after his death, the clubhouse is still adorned with photos of him and staff tell of his star-studded wake which took place there.

Corbett spoke with understandable fondness of the course which has a catalogue of memorable holes and stunning views over the city of London.

I was apprehensive about our visit because of the negative comments about its fairways. Our host told us about this winter's extensive irrigation work which should solve any problems but I have to report that, in any case, it was far from the mud heap which was being suggested.

Instead, my abiding memory was of superb greens, fascinating holes and rickety bridges over ravines.

There are so many excellent holes at The Addington - it is as if John Abercromby was trying to outdo himself as he was designing each one.

The Addington's qualities come to the fore on the 9th which requires an accurate tee shot over a heathery ravine. This is followed by a stroll over one of the club's famous bridges before a second to the green over another ravine and another bridge, I was pleased to have negotiated both but Mrs W wasn't so lucky.

However, she did birdie the picturesque short 11th after our tasty sausage sandwich stop in the halfway hut.

And then came the highlight of my day, the beautiful 'steps' hole - The Addington's 12th.

There are flights of heather after a blind drive for which our host insisted (and I mean insisted) that I take a long iron. I was sceptical, took him at his word and then saw how a driver would have put me in bother.

This is the ultimate in placement holes. I followed the drive with a decent 5-iron strike, a splendid pitch and a six-foot putt for a bridie. I told our partner he should give up his day job and become a caddy.

He then correctly advised a camera for the gorgeous 13th - a par three which requires strength and accuracy. Fortunately, I found both but couldn't manage back-to-back birdies because this is the trickiest green on the course - a huge swirling affair which I was glad to escape with a par.

The hits keep coming - the 14th gives up amazing views of The Shard and Canary Wharf, the 16th is a wonderful risk and reward par five and the 17th is a very testing par three with the last of the aforementioned bridges.

Our day at The Addington was superb - aided by playing with a friendly and knowledgable member (thanks, Grant!) who pointed out that the owners have a five-year plan to bring the club back to the glories of its early days. It is pretty damned good now so I can't wait to see how it progresses.

Ronnie Corbett wrote in the club's centenary brochure that its 18 holes were a "real classic treat". We agreed.

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