The previous review (and the comments it provoked) reminds me of what is so good about this website! There is no absolute truth, but a large number of (hopefully) well-informed reviews provide very useful information.
My take is that most of us mortals have a hard time divorcing the appraisal of the architectural merits of the golf course from the overall experience. If you like "old school" you are very likely to appreciate Swinley and rate it highly. As we can see, the opposite logic seems to apply too.
Based on more than ten visits and having played most other top-ranked heathland tracks in the region, I have no hesitation in giving Swinley full marks.
I do not do it because I have a particularly soft spot for clubs like this. I rate it highly because on each single occasion I played, I left the course a much calmer, happier person than when I arrived...and this irrespective of whether I had shot 75 and won or shot 85 and finished among the last (in our society competition.)
In particular, I do admire how Harry Colt has managed to create grand elongated views in a woodland setting, yet the mature woodland still makes you feel that you play each hole in complete isolation. The other main quality to me is that no round feels just like the other and this is without experiencing massive variations in weather or course set-up. In fact, even after many plays you keep discovering small design nuggets.
Swinley is a must for any serious student of the game (if perhaps not the sport) of golf. It is not the hardest test of golf or the most egalitarian golf experience...but it never pretended to be.
Date: March 19, 2019