I always struggle to understand why Hindhead is consistently ranked lower than similar heathland courses such as Worplesdon and West Sussex. The greens are fantastic year-round, the greenkeepers are possibly the best in the country for the work that they do with the course and the front nine is one of the most interesting you'll find anywhere. There are a lot of standout holes - the first is one of my favourite opening holes anywhere, the third is a brilliant, tough par 3 and the 4th is one of the best straightaway par fives I've played. You then have the beautiful, signature 6th hole before the front nine shows its teeth with the long 7th, 8th and uphill 9th. The course then changes character to the heathland style and when the heather is in bloom, it's just a beautiful place to be.
There's a great variety of holes on the back nine and the one thing that holds it back for me is the par 3 15th hole, which is just limited. I think it will be different when the trees grow behind the green to cover up the fence, which spoils the view, but the hole really needs a more interesting green complex to add a bit of bite. Many of the bunkers also aren't really in play unless you badly mishit your tee shot. The following par 5 isn't a favourite of mine either, but the club are working hard to redo bunkers to remedy this. However, the last two holes are brilliant - the 17th is a brutal tee shot before an approach that plays in a number of different ways depending on the conditions; you can take anything from gap wedge to 5 iron from the same yardage. Finally, the last is a great finishing hole, with two very good shots required to find the putting surface.
In short, it's a great test - you use most, if not all, of the clubs in your bag and the sheer variety of holes is outstanding. It's one of the best in the area in terms of quality; do check it out if you haven't already.
Date: December 21, 2016