I cant remember reading as “mixed” reviews of a course before, so wasnt sure what to expect when given the opportunity to play here. Having now done so, I can understand why some find it difficult to pin down a firm opinion and rating, but I am at a loss as to some of the reviews it has got, because it is surely undeniably a very good golf course.
The first thing to be said about Worlington, and the thing I will remember it by, are the greens. Ive been lucky enough to play a handful of top courses, including North Berwick, Porthcawl, Royal West Norfolk and the Old at Sunningdale (albeit in Winter) and the mid march greens at Worlington are definitely the truest and quickest ive played on. Putts held their speed for an extra few yards than im used to, and over the 36 holes I played I noticed only one deviation in line the whole day. The bowl like complexes on the par 3 second and fifth are like nothing ive played on before, just sublime.
The holes themselves are generally excellent - well thought out, well kept and strategically engaging through each time I played them.
The fifth is the star - a top notch par 3 playing onto the best of the course’s greens - and the sandy, almost links style turf is an absolute joy to play off.
It is a difficult course to rate. While sublime to play, things like the odd stray bunker, 1 or 2 holes not quite on the level of the rest (meaning 3 or 4 over 18), and a certain lack of aura in the setting (not least the proximity of the A11, the road running beside the first two holes and the recently fertilized farm next door) all push me away from wanting to give it a top score.
I think much depends on how much of a purist you are when it comes to 9 hole courses - to put it this way, if a club in Surrey sand belt had 18 holes that played as well as the 9 at Worlington, with the green complexes, layout and conditioning it has, it is difficult to see it outside the top 30, even top 20, in the country and the course would be a comfortable 5 balls, knocking on the door of 6.
For me the 9 hole status is enough to take that edge off, but given some of the courses ive given 4 balls to I feel duty bound to give Worlington that one better.
Date: March 18, 2018