Sonning GC is a very pleasant golf course. Meriting a stop off in you're in the area. Initially a heathland course, this is now a parkland course, with mature oak and birch lining many of the holes. There is the odd heathland glimpse especially on the back 9, with wispy grass acting as eyelashes to the many bunkers strategically places throughout the course.
The clubhouse is very impressive and the pro very friendly and welcoming. £27.50 each on a County Card was a bargain.
The course plays in 2 loops out from and back to the clubhouse - holes 1 to 11 and then 12 - 18.
It is played over relatively flat land, but the majority of greens are raised, with excellent bunkering, providing plenty of challenge.
Add to this the 7 par 4s over 400 yards and this no walk in the park. The longest par 4 at 471 yards long, is only 4 and 11 yards shorter than the 2 par 5s!
But throw into the mix two very short par 4s at 273 yards and 267 yards, both on the front 9 and you have a very interesting mix.
The par 3s are all strong, 2 on each 9, although the back 9 two come in the last 4 holes.
Played off the white tees at 6329 yards, but with little breeze, and reasonable bounce on the fairways, the course was scoreable.
The 1st and 2nd cut rough was very playable from, although anything wider of the mark would have found really deep and dense 'cabbage'!
I felt the best sections of the course were around the turn, holes 8 - 11 and 15 - 18.
The closing stretch features 2 strong par 3s,a long par 4 at 438 yards and a fine finishing par 5. Whilst not long, it plays a dog leg right and the green is heavily protected with bunkers, and run off slopes. On top of that the green also has many slopes and undulations. A fine finishing hole.
The bunkers were filled with quality sand (not the builders type) and a general feature was their high lips and wispy grass fringes.
The greens had had some maintenance on, but ran well, albeit not rapid, ( I'd expected them.to be from what was written on the club website.)
The routing was good, weaving one way then another, and with the trees lining the fairways, we spent an afternoon in total isolation. Millionaires golf indeed.
We'd been the BMW PGA Champiomship at Wentworth on the Saturday and this was a perfect way to spend Sunday afternoon before the journey home. Whilst there are the giants of Berkshire (Swinley Forest, the Red and Blue etc) above this, at least we could play this on a Sunday. A local had said he'd never heard of the golf club. Thank goodness for Top 100 as it continues to open my world to some of the less lauded courses around the country.
Date: September 12, 2021