I worked out that it was almost 10 years since I last teed it up at the Addington and to be honest I'd forgotten just how good this course is. The conditioning of the fairways is not as consistent as most of the other big name Surrey heathland courses, not helped by a very thin layer of topsoil and a lack of fairway watering, but thankfully steps are in place to rectify this situation along with a badly needed tree clearance programme.
The course gets off to a solid and rather unusual start with both the first and third holes being uphill par-3's. Both are good but along with the other early holes, unspectacular. On the approach to the 6th green there is sign of things to come with a vicious bunker set into a large pit complete with a flight of steps to access it, we also get our first look at the attractive wooden trestle bridges which save us from some hard walking through a number of heather clad valleys.
This is where the course really comes to life with one great hole following another. The 7th is a delightful short par-3 played down over a heathery bank and the 8th is an excellent downhill dogleg left where an accurate approach is vital. The brilliant dogleg 9th requires two bridge crossings as both the drive and approach are played over the aforementioned valleys, the 11th is a pretty little 120 yard par-3 to a small green ringed by bunkers and the 12th, a quirky but fun short par-5, tumbles downhill towards a terraced fairway and banks of heather clad mounds before rising up to an inviting green.
The 13th is simply unforgettable, requiring a shot of around 215 yards from a high tee to a majestic green perched on sloping ground between bunkers. I honestly can't think of any inland par-3 that I prefer. The great holes just keep coming with the rolling 16th providing a bit of a dilemma for most. A good drive offers the choice of laying up or trying to get home in two on this rolling par-5 but a narrowing fairway and ledge green steeply falling away to the right means that anything offline risks being lost in the trees or undergrowth.
There are certainly a handful of heathland courses in Surrey that I would rank higher but very few places excite me as much as the Addington does on so many shots. What a shame that Abercromby's second course disappeared for housing after the 2nd World War. Playing thirty six holes in a day over both courses must have been something very special indeed. Brian W
Date: November 02, 2017