WOW!! From the moment you arrive to the security gate, to the moment you exit the same gate several hours later, you realise that what Lord Bamford has created here is something special.
Let's start with the 1st class breakfast, which just tops Swinley Forest's excellent full English, the complimentary Pro V range balls to practice with and the complimentary water and electric trolley (I assume the GPS buggies are also complimentary, but we opted to walk), as well as the towel embossed with your name presented on arrival.
There were only 2 other people on the range (3 if we include Tommy Fleetwood who was working on his game in the corner) and throughout the day you got the impression there were probably only around 10 of you playing that day!
It's around a 5 minute walk to the 1st tee and despite 3 of us being single figure players, and 1 being a scratch pro, we'd opted to play off the 'yellow' tee's (those marked with little JCB models) as we felt the 6599 yards would be enough to give us a good challenge whilst allowing us to enjoy the course.
I won't go through each hole, but in my opinion there wasn't a weak one on the course. There are a couple of shortish Par 4's that you don't necessarily need driver on (I used it and paid the price on the short 12th) and a couple of holes that required some long iron's in to them.
You pass the halfway house twice and with homemade sausage rolls and pies on offer, and lager on tap, it ranks as one of the best halfway houses I've had the pleasure of frequenting.
The 17th & 18th are brutal finishing holes and IMO would be perfect for a Ryder Cup finish.
My score? I parred the 1st 4 holes, had a birdie look on 6, 7, 13 & 15 and still only ended up with 29 points!! If you left the fairway at any point, and found the whispy rough, you were looking at Bogey at best. It was tough, but very enjoyable.
We stopped for a couple of drinks afterwards and again, apart from the old boy practicing his bunker shots nearby, we seemed to be the only ones there. They kindly re-opened the shop for us so we could spend some £££, which highlighted the excellent service we received throughout the day.
I'm not sure where I place this in my own Top 10 as I really didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did, as my Top 10 is full of Heathland and Links type courses, and I'll ponder this over the next few days.
If you get the chance, it really is a must play, and I expect this to rise significantly in the rankings over the next few years.
Date: June 02, 2021