Swinley is one of those places that takes your breath away the view from the beautiful old club house is stunning. A little valley sweeping away to the 1st Green and 18th tee in the distance. All with a back drop of towering pine trees with rhodendrons and heather framing the fairways. It is with out doubt an exclusive club, but not pretentious for instance the dress code is entirely sensible and jackets and ties are only required in the dining room.
They may have none of the normal golf club trappings of captains and club champions, but this place is about golf. It also seems the members have realised that since they play the course so little, they can subsidise the maintenance of the club and course by using societies (and it is maintained to a very very high standard). I looked at the club schedule and every working week day through April and May had a golf society. Whilst you will never get on on your own, your society can apply to be invited for the day! ............. However you look at the list of societies and they are pretty well connected .......... HRH, Livery Companies, Old Regiments, old gentlemens clubs etc etc. So don't expect to apply as the Dog & Duck society and get on, but still the place is not as old fashioned as its reputation.
If you can get on you will play a beautiful course and be treated to some wonderful hospitality, beautiful changing rooms, huge lunchs etc etc. Everyone is right in saying it is short, but in terms of set up and looks there is no weakness and I have yet to see something inland that can beat it visually. The back nine is probably the best half but it is hard to really choose. In terms of golf what keeps you from over powering a five and half to six thousand yard course are two things ........ the rough (which is thick heather) and the greens which are undulating and very small and hard. If they did lengthen some of the holes then it would become immensely difficult ......... but they won't do this as this place is set up for the members to have a nice gentle weekend round not for competitive golf.
Date: April 06, 2007