Course Overview. Hanbury Manor is a 7,042 yard par 71 set in 200 acres of Hertfordshire parkland, featuring a 17th century Jacobean-style country house. 9 original holes designed by Harry Vardon were later added to by Jack Nicklaus’ son Jack (Junior) for what was his first venture into course design.
In contrast to last week’s test, the front 9 this time contains the newer, more exposed holes whereas the back 9 is more classical and tree-lined in style. As with Forest of Arden, this track is aimed primarily at the tourist market and the fairways are generally wide and generous. Greens are creeping bentgrass which should again reap birdies to those who can find them in regulation.
3 par-5s measuring between 540 to 560 yards are important to scoring on this track, as are the three short par 4s, including the 347 yard opening hole and 391 yard closing hole. The par-3s proved to be one of the most challenging parts of the course when we last saw it 20 or so years ago, with the tournament ultimately being won or lost on par-4 performance assuming no disasters on the 3s and 5s.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key statistics for this week’s event that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at this event. Data is taken from the 1997-99 English Open events so is understandably sparse: Current Form | Event Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Stats.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here. A perfect 4 days of golf awaits the players this week with sunny spells, light winds and temperatures peaking in the high 80s Fahrenheit.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors.
Although it was over 20 years ago, basic skill stats were recorded at Hanbury Manor at the 1999 English Open and analysing the top 6 finishers gives us a starting point for this week’s test:
- 1st, Darren Clarke (-20). 276 yards (15th), 67.9% fairways (47th), 76.4% greens in regulation (9th), 64.7% scrambling (24th), 1.60 putts per GIR (4th).
- 2nd, John Bickerton (-18). 269 yards (38th), 85.7% fairways (3rd), 73.6% greens in regulation (13th), 68.4% scrambling (16th), 1.60 putts per GIR (5th).
- 3rd, David Carter (-14). 271 yards (29th), 62.5% fairways (61st), 77.8% greens in regulation (4th), 81.3% scrambling (1st), 1.74 putts per GIR (40th).
- 3rd, Stephen Leaney (-14). 265 yards (52nd), 60.7% fairways (66th), 77.8% greens in regulation (4th), 81.3% scrambling (1st), 1.73 putts per GIR (34th).
- 5th, Andrew Coltart (-13). 269 yards (40th), 75% fairways (26th), 76.4% greens in regulation (9th), 58.8% scrambling (32nd), 1.69 putts per GIR (23rd).
- 5th, Colin Montgomerie (-13). 270 yards (33rd), 73.8% fairways (32nd), 85.2% greens in regulation (1st), 75% scrambling (3rd), 1.77 putts per GIR (52nd).
Although we’ve only got 1999 to on in terms of recorded skill stats, what was clear was that fairways were easy to hit with over half of the weekend field recording over 70% accuracy on the week. That put the emphasis very much on the second shot and in, with those players maximising greens in regulation and putting well on the week tending to prevail. It’s worth noting that the course played as a par 72 in the events featured on this page.
Incoming Form: Darren Clarke was rounding into some form back in 1999 when Hanbury Manor was last used for a European Tour event, with three straight top-20 finishes. Lee Westwood would have been the short-priced favourite for this in 1998 in a year where he picked up 7 titles globally, whereas Per-Ulrik Johannson would have been a longer price despite having finished 6th in Morrocco a few weeks beforehand.
- 1999, Darren Clarke (-20): MC/64/33/MC/MC/71/MC/20/7/13
- 1998, Lee Westwood (-17): 4/13/6/21/13/5/1/44/6/66/16/1
- 1997, Per-Ulrik Johannson (-19): 20/6/MC/12/64/MC
Course Form: For completeness, the course form for those same three winners is detailed below:
- 1999, Darren Clarke: 12/49
- 1998, Lee Westwood: 22
- 1997, Per-Ulrik Johannson: Debut
Similar to last week, with only some very old course form to go on, we’re almost starting this week with a blank canvas. The course is once again parkland in style and relatively short by modern standard, so leaning on results from last week at Forest of Arden and also from Close House from the week before would seem to be a fair starting point. Weather conditions and grasses will be largely similar, however there will undoubtedly be some subtle differences in the final analysis.
One aspect that leapt off the page when looking at the 3 winners here from the 1997-99 events was the correlation with the Palmer Course at the K Club in Ireland. Darren Clarke (2001), Lee Westwood (1999, 2000) and Per-Ulrik Johannson (1996,1997) are all winners there as well as here at Hanbury Manor and the famous parkland track across the Irish sea certainly carries enough similarities for that avenue to warrant further investigation. K Club was last used for the 2016 Irish Open – the final leaderboard can be found here.