Cuddington may only rank 25th in the county but this just goes to show the impressive strength in depth of Surrey golf where the top 20 courses all feature in the English Top 100. While the course doesn't quite reach those heights, Harry Colt succeeded in designing a particularly interesting layout draped over a challenging and gently undulating area of downland.
The course opens up with two good par fives providing an opportunity to get off to a fast start. Skilfully placed fairway bunkers demand accuracy right from the off and this is a theme that continues throughout the round. After crossing the road, holes 3-5 are found on a separate triangular piece of land. A good drive on the downhill 3rd leaves an approach shot that must avoid a gathering bunker to the right of the green. This is swiftly followed by the first of five par-3's, which plays to a well guarded slightly raised green. Both are good holes. Following the relatively straightforward 5th we cross over the road again to face two of the strongest holes on the course. Both the 6th and 7th stretch out to around the 450-yard mark, the challenge heightened by a line of diagonal cross bunkers on the 7th which are a particularly attractive design feature.
While there is no shortage of good golf on the front nine the four road crossings do break up the flow of the round somewhat and I slightly preferred the routing of the back nine which has none of these issues. The quirky downhill 10th with a deceptive sloping green wasn't a favourite but the short 11th, playing to a raised and well protected green is a fine hole. I really enjoyed holes 14 - 16. A tough dogleg right is followed by a picturesque and much shorter dogleg left at 15 which offers some respite before another excellent par three playing 200 yards to a green guarded by three bunkers and an interesting grassy swale.
The uphill 18th provides a strong finish to the round at 420 yards. Again bunkers must be avoided but a par here will provide a very satisfying conclusion to any round.
In recent times many hundreds of trees have been removed to recreate some of the original characteristics that Harry Colt would have recognized back in 1929. The work has been well received and the next phase of improvements could well be directed at the bunkers which would certainly benefit from a sympathetic Colt style restoration.
I really enjoyed my day at Cuddington and would expect to see continued improvement in the coming years.
Date: December 13, 2020