Beautiful on the eye and intriguing from start to finish, Swinley Forest is a heathland masterpiece. Only a Par 69, but played off the back tees this is a real challenge, with long irons called for into a lot of greens, and shot shaping required.
Off the tee, there is a lot of strategy called for with centreline bunkers on the 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th holes, and angle of approach being key throughout. The greens are the real highlight of Swinley- lots of great contouring and fun run off areas.
One of my favourite stretch of holes came early from 2-5. The 2nd, a downhill blind tee shot with a green sloping away from the player, followed by a bunker less par 4 with a tiered green. The 4th is a redan template, which is followed by the par 5 5th which tee shot is played downhill, urging the player to take on as much of the well bunkered fairway as possible.
I feel like this is the type of course with such variety in holes that you could play endlessly without getting bored! Without knowing what it was like before, it also seems that Ponts restoration work has bedded in very nicely. The course is a leisurely stroll through the forest, with nice flora and heather. Eventually, the 18th takes you back up to the magnificent clubhouse, a great setting.
One of the most private clubs in England, any golfer knows they are lucky when they get to experience Harry Colts ‘least bad golf course’.
Date: November 16, 2020