Hindhead Golf Club originally featured on the Top 100 website as a Gem and was nominated by Chris. It was added to the site in February 2005. Since then, Hindhead became an English Top 100 ranked course and then appeared within our 2016 Britain & Ireland Top 100 ranking list for the first time. Keith Baxter, Editor-in-Chief, has been singing Hindhead's praises for more than a decade and comments as follows:
Martin, a friend of mine, is a member at Hindhead Golf Club and I have been lucky enough to play here on numerous occasions. Each and every time I stand on the 2nd tee I ask myself the question: Why on earth is Hindhead not ranked more highly?
Hindhead Golf Club was founded in 1904 and it was the inspiration of a number of golfing enthusiasts. It is therefore “elementary, my dear Watson” that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was amongst the original founders.
The Devil's Punchbowl is a large hollow of dry sandy heath to the west of Hindhead and it’s overlooked by Gibbet Hill, which is the second highest hill in Surrey. The front nine at Hindhead is laid out through these heather strewn Ice Age valleys and the back nine plays on the hillside heathland plateau. The location is not only breathtaking, it’s truly beautiful.
"If you've never played the course before," wrote Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, "it would be difficult to convince you that there is a fairway waiting down there from the 2nd tee." By the time you reach the 3rd hole – one of the best par threes I’ve ever played – you too will be asking yourself the question why is Hindhead not in the Top 100? By the time you reach the par three 6th, the signature hole, you’ll be so convinced that this is a Top 100 course that you’ll be mentally writing a letter to one of the glossy golf magazine's Top 100 ranking panellists.
Undoubtedly, the front nine is the most dramatic and memorable, but the back nine also represents fine golf on ideal golfing terrain. The tee shot at 17 is intimidating and the right to left sloping fairway is tough to hit.
In my mind, without doubt, Hindhead was one of the best, if not the best course never to have appeared on a Britain & Ireland Top 100 list. A decade after first listing Hindhead as a Gem it entered our Britain & Ireland Top 100. About time I say, and I'm not alone in my opinion, Hindhead was one of Peter Alliss' favourite courses. Additionally, Hindhead was featured in Frank Pennink's Choice of Golf Courses: “Perhaps the most picturesque of Surrey’s many beautiful heather-and-pine courses.”
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Hindhead is a real case of two nines, I have never played a course with such contrasting front and back nines before. The front 9 literally takes your breath away, the changes in elevation are incredible once you get on the 2nd tee, many of the holes are cut through the valleys with banks on either side, the 3rd par 3 is a particular highlight with real danger if you go left. The 4th par 5 is a terrific golf hole and perfectly sums up the front 9, elevated tee, fairways banked on either side and very strategic bunkering.
At the turn you are greeted with a fantastic halfway hut where a sausage bap and tea went down nicely, the back 9 starts with a reasonably straightforward par 3 and then you notice the real change from the front 9, it is almost completely flat! It reminded me of Walton Heath (Old Course) with all the heather and gorse and the perfect springy turf, it is not a long course but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Main reason for this is reserved for the real stars of the show, the greens! They are unbelievable, easily the best greens I’ve ever played on, so many subtle breaks which leave you scratching your head, the green on the par 3 8th is just unreal, I was pin high with my tee shot and then proceeded to putt it 10 yards off the green the other side, fortunately I saw the funny side, but they were so quick.
Despite the fact the heavens opened on the back 9 (I managed to play most of the back 9 again later in the day with a member) I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Hindhead, it is the sort of course I would love to join as a member, I can’t imagine how amazing it must be to play a course like this every week, compared to its more illustrious neighbours the green fees are at a sensible level as is the membership cost. I’ve been invited back by a couple of members later in the year and I can’t wait, it was a real treat and I urge anyone to play it at least once.