I don’t think I’ve ever been handed two cards in the pro shop before playing a course: one to mark my score and one explaining “course etiquette and health & safety”. Because the property is widely traversed by the general public – mainly locals out walking their dog – players have to be aware of several popular routes that are used by these non-golfers to cross the fairways, hence the additional card for reference.
The clubhouse and adjacent windmill sit at the most elevated point in the middle of the property (they’re set at an elevation quite a bit higher than the surrounding landscape), overlooking the nine fairways that are laid out on the heathland terrain below. There’s a very comfortable, lived-in feel to the clubhouse and this ties in very well with the course’s slightly less than perfectly manicured appearance.
I loved the way the tee boxes have been arranged to allow the same nine holes to be played twice from a variety of different yardages, vantage points and angles, with offset tee positions resulting in many of the more interesting tee shot visual images. Being critical, the only disjointed aspect to the routing was the long walk down from the green on the par four 5th/14th to the tee on the par three 6th/15th.
Best holes for me were the downhill par four 2nd (where a ridge of gorse cuts diagonally across the fairway a hundred yards short of the green), the uphill par three 3rd (with a long carry across heather to a green that falls off sharply on the left), the tough par four 5th (played to a tricky two-tiered green), and the fabulous little par four 7th, which is heavily sand-protected around the putting surface.
It’s around forty quid for an 18-hole round here, representing fantastic value at a charming little track where the SSS is one more than the par of 67 from the back tees. Just don’t get me started on comparisons with other 9-hole layouts (such as that famous 9-hole course in Suffolk which is much loved down the years by a golfing intelligentsia that obviously understands its intricacies and subtleties better than me) because Reigate Heath is superior to most of the others that I've played so far.
Date: July 18, 2017