Played the course yesterday after they had had to close the front nine on the Friday due to heavy rain. To the greenkeepers' credit, you wouldn't have noticed the difference between the front and back nine, and whilst a little wet still in the run-offs by the greens, the fairways held up well. There was just the one temporary green, which was a shame, but given the amount of water they're fighting, not totally surprising.The front nine opens with a relatively easy par 4 with a nice, welcoming fairway. From there, though there are some really clever holes, with a few standouts: the second, a nice dogleg left to an elevated green; the third and the seventh are fun par 3s and the eighth is a very good par four. The main feature of the course is that you have to hit the fairways in the right spot, and one of the signs of a good course is that, if you do miss the fairway, you don't lose your ball, but can't get to the green. Kingswood excels here, and it's a real thinking man's course. The back nine is probably not quite as good as the front, but there were some standouts, with the first par three another lovely hole, beautifully framed by the surrounding trees. After that, we hit the best par 5 of the lot, which forces two very good shots to get near the green. The 12th rewards a clever tee shot to lay up, but offers the risk-reward for the big hitters as you can cut the corner. The 15th was probably our favourite hole, with the trees cutting off the corner forcing you to play right with your tee shot, before you hit a brilliant green with all sorts of clever slopes and borrows. The closing hole is a good one as well, with the raised green in front of the clubhouse a nice way to end. Overall, I really enjoyed my day, but found the front nine just shaded the back. The par 3s and 4s are a real highlight, but I can't say I found the par 5s a particular challenge - probably due to just missing the bunkers in the lay up areas. You do really have to think before every shot though and plot your way around. It's a shame that it had rained so much, as the greens weren't playing to their best. I would have liked to see a few more greens like the 15th, which forced us to make two very good putts for pars. The major highlight though is the design - the rough isn't horrific, but the clever placement of the trees and bunkers mean that if you don't hit the ball in the right places, an up and down is very difficult.For a twilight fee of £25 on a Saturday though, it's excellent value, and you won't find much better in and around the M25. A great course, and very friendly.
Date: December 14, 2014