The stunning 36-hole venue in Ash, which boasts two supreme Jack Nicklaus-designed courses – The Heritage and The International – hosted the Cazoo Classic, formerly known as the English Open, as part of the UK Swing on the European Tour schedule in August.
Taking place just 20 miles from the capital and with 700 acres of magnificent Kent countryside providing the memorable landscapes, it represented the fourth and final chapter of the UK Swing in summer 2021 and was the club’s first chance to stage a European Tour event since the Volvo World Match Play seven years ago.
For a venue which only opened in 1994, it already boasts a rich tournament history, having also hosted the European Open (2008 and 2009) and, more recently, two editions of the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship in 2018 and 2019.
There is already a healthy link with golfing royalty thanks to 18-time Major winner Nicklaus, who brought all of his trademark crafty bunker placement and course design skills to the party.
But the great and the good of the sport have continued to stroll the same manicured fairways on a regular basis ever since.
Indeed, back in July 1994, the opening itself paved the way and set the tone on what was to come.
A Charity Challenge Skins Match on The Heritage saw Nicklaus go up against fellow golf icons Seve Ballesteros and Tony Jacklin, with the popular Spaniard eventually taking the honours on that occasion.
There are some big plans for the future too with European Tour, Challenge Tour, women’s events, junior events and disabled events all on the agenda in the coming years.
And that focus on the future has become even more important to the European Tour Destination venue in recent times as they also turn their attentions to environmental sustainability.
The appointment of energy consultants, GreenClub, is based on the ambition to become carbon neutral in the coming years as they develop environmental strategies to address current and future business needs, while also delivering major events in a sustainable and environmentally-responsible way.
Although the Heritage is exclusively for members and their guests, the International course is of equal stature as a challenge to test all aspects of your game.
Just bear in mind that the risk v reward battle is a constant theme for any Nicklaus design and mental strength will also come under close scrutiny.
You’ll be left asking yourself regular questions of your ability: “Can I just clear that bunker to set up the easier approach shot?” Or “is that water in play if I hit the driver?”
Much as you may well be left cursing your decisions at various intervals as you realise you’ve fallen into the Golden Bear’s clever trap all over again, there are also plenty of those memorable moments to take away with you if you find yourself on the right side of the risk v reward conundrum.