I played Camberley Heath last week with absolutely no expectations whatsoever and was absolutely blown away by the front nine. Granted, the inward half – which is routed across more wildly undulating terrain – didn’t impress to quite the same extent but, over the piece, the course was way better than I might have anticipated beforehand.
On the front nine, the three-tiered putting surface of the plateau green at the par three 2nd was a big surprise – as was the tunnel under the road to access holes 4 to 12! I liked the short par four 6th, with its heavily sand-protected raised green squeezed into the northwest corner of the property, and the long par three 8th, played from a gun platform tee position in the hillside down to a raised green that’s designed to repel all but the most accurate of tee shots.
My notes for the 9th state “shades of Notts” which is high praise indeed and this comment could easily have been applied at either of the two previous holes, where the tree-lined valley fairways would not have looked out of place a hundred and fifty miles further north at Hollinwell.
The back nine begins with a bit of a strange hole, played blind to a fairway that slopes wickedly from left to right, across a large heather bank to an elevated green. The next three holes were also a bit lacklustre in comparison to what had gone before, though the heavily contoured fairway of the par five 13th was something of a thrilling big dipper ride.
The all-carry par three 14th, played across a deep gully to a green in front of the clubhouse, gets the pulse racing again and it’s quickly followed by a couple of lovely short par four holes, the second of which features a small pond in front of the green.
The final two holes are then routed along the southern boundary of the course, with the fairway of the 17th falling off sharply on the right side, whilst a huge heather-clad hill dominates the same side of the fairway on the 18th. On both holes, the preferred line off the tee is down the left, with the home green located on top of a ridge, requiring a semi blind approach shot.
The visual aesthetics of the bunker work that Frank Pont has undertaken so far are first class and there’s absolutely no doubt that such an ambitious renovation project (led by somebody who’s as well versed in Colt’s style of bunkering as Frank is) can only reinforce the course’s English Top 100 aspirations.
Date: July 18, 2017