The inclusion of Effingham in Golf World Magazine’s recent “Top 100 golf courses of England” peaked my interest in this Surrey downland course located just outside the London Orbital.
If ever there was an example of bunkering on a golf course that elevated the layout from being good to excellent Effingham must surely be it. This is almost exclusively thanks to the work of leading golf architecture firm, Mackenzie & Ebert, who recently enhanced this classic Harry Colt course with truly spectacular results.
Played over chalky downland terrain on a large property the bunkering brings the course to life; both on drives and approach shots. It’s a long time since I’ve been as impressed with a bunker scheme on a golf course as I was at Effingham when I visited in early June 2019.
The clean and simple, though rarely straight, outlines to the hazards have a real sharpness to them which are visually impressive, especially with the near-white sand making them really stand out. They are also extremely well placed strategically from the tee and merge into the wonderful green complexes exceptionally well.
The playing corridors are generous at Effingham with long wispy grass – which was quite playable from on my visit – acting as a buffer before you may reach the established woodland.
The front-nine loops around arable land in a huge circle. There is a real sensation of space and isolation as we tread the opening loop. It’s possible to get off to a fast start with a par-five opener followed by two short par-fours but from there on you must play some good golf if you wish to make a score. The back-nine is a little more condensed but is still golf on a big scale although the firm turf ensures it never becomes a slog.
One of the things I enjoyed here was that on many drives you had a perception of where you were going but you couldn’t always see where your ball ended up. This is due to the rising and falling downland where Colt has routed the course to leave the golfer with a sense of anticipation.
The entire consistency of the bunkering, and the course itself for that matter, is one of Effingham’s trump cards. Because of this selecting any stand-out holes is not easy but likewise there are no poor holes either…
I’m sure this is a course we will hear a lot more about over the coming years... And with fantastic views of London and the Chilterns there is very little to dislike at this true Surrey gem.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Date: June 14, 2019