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.”
Click link to visit the Blog of Hindhead Golf Club’s Greenkeeping Team
Playing off the white tees at 6390yards the 1st offers up a generous fairway getting my round off to a routine bogey. Standing on the 2nd tee Luke Donald could do worse than spend some time with his oil & canvass as the view across the valley was just breath taking, not a bad par 5 to boot. My first standout hole is the par 3 third at 193yds to a narrow green with no bail out whatsoever. Bunkers right & a fall off left that had most of our four ball fighting for a bogey. Great short hole! Four & five continue through the valley asking for cut approach to four & a draw tee shot at the dog leg fifth. I was really starting to like this layout of designer JH Taylor, he who was famed for many a dog leg as a design trait. Contrasting par 3s in length, 6th short as in a 9ir & 8th for me a driver on the day mixed up with a couple of solid par 4s brought us to the best half way hut this side of Sunningdale.
The back nine although not as memorable as the front nine still had some classic stand out holes starting with par 3 tenth & typical of all the par 3s at HH with plenty of hidden danger. The par 4 SI 2 14th hole asked for two solid knocks to a green that although relatively quick on the day I would not want to get on the wrong side of the pin in high Summer. The run in from here was a good mix up of solid par five sixteenth and intimidating tee shot off 17 with the match tightly balanced. 18 for me was the best finishing hole this year! 441yds and slightly uphill the tee shot asks for a pro draw before hybrid approach to a green tucked in just under the nose of the clubhouse bar.
It was in the Alliss bar post round after a lovely shower that it really started to sink of what a gem of a club HH is. It is little wonder the Surrey county team hone their skills here given the course condition especially the greens. If you haven’t played it you won’t be disappointed.
Martin invited me to play Hindhead earlier this month and so, after being too long away (some 8 years), I returned to sample one of Surrey’s delights. A gorgeous, shirt-sleeved autumn day set the tone for yet another engaging round.
I’m impressed with the changes… the greenkeeping team here at Hindhead are something else. The programme of heather regeneration is working really well. Far too well for my rather wayward game I must admit - I left a couple of my Srixon’s in the purple stuff for the members to find and then lose at some later date. The work to the bunkers and green surrounds belies the reality that these renovations are so very recent. But the most impressive change in my mind is the raising of the 14th tee, which has transformed the tee shot’s value and is an aesthetic triumph.
Despite torrential overnight rain, the course played well and it was useful to see how the bunkers were holding up under such difficult conditions. The short answer is that the bunkers played really well. But I do hope most sincerely that the club decides not to adopt the grey sharp sand, which is being trialled across a number of bunkers. The sand is perfectly good to play from, but is entirely the wrong colour, and in my opinion will jar with the natural colour palette of this unsung course. Finally, I concur with the previous reviewer. I too would want to be a member here at Hindhead if I lived closer and they’ve got a pretty good club team too. Hindhead were runners-up to Southport and Ainsdale in the 2014 English Champion Club tournament. Keith Baxter