Big, bold and grand, St George’s Hill is an experience that starts at the private entrance to this opulent estate and doesn’t lower its level throughout. Taking the long drive past the multi million pound mansions to arrive at one of golf’s most iconic clubhouses is mere foreplay; played through pine and birch woodland, St George’s Hill stands equal to any inland course I’ve enjoyed to date.
With elevation changes throughout and complete with raised tees and greens, the vistas through treelined corridors are beautiful and serene. The bunkering across St George’s Hill is a key characteristic throughout, with the cross bunkers on the 5th (Red) and 16th (Blue) being stand out features that add a photogenic quality to these already beautiful holes. The same can be said of the 8th, a magnificent par 3 across a shallow valley, but having seen the old photo of the gigantic classic Colt bunker in the clubhouse, I’d love to see the club return the bunkering here to its former shape. The tee shot on the 9th meanwhile demands a momentary pause to take in the glorious view and makes a perfect closing hole, I have to wonder why they don’t switch nines?
Once you’ve completed the Red loop (there’s very little to choose between the two main nines), you’re then confronted with the opening hole on the Blue, perhaps the best hole on the property. Played over a heathery hump with a fairway that leans heavily to the right, the back nine starts with a visual feast as well as an excellent strategic challenge. The greens at St George’s Hill are to the most part only modestly contoured with the exception being the par three 14th which has a superbly undulating putting surface. 18 is then probably the most unusual hole on the course, a drive to a steeply inclining uphill fairway angling around the trees to the right with the green perched in front of the clubhouse bringing to close one of those unforgettable days in golf.
Take a moment to quaff a well earned drink at the halfway hut between nines or even after the round and soak in the views from up high. St George’s Hill is fabulous, and needs to be experienced to savour one of the best courses that Surrey’s prized heathland has to offer.
Date: July 27, 2018