The Wentworth Club needs no introduction; after all, the West course is the most televised course in Britain. Even those disinterested in the game of golf have heard of the stylish and famous Wentworth Club. But do you really know how good the Edinburgh course is?
The Edinburgh is not a relief course, it's 100% the real thing. The East and West courses are tough acts to follow, and when Wentworth identified 150 acres of land between the existing two courses and Sunningdale, the heat was on to create something really special. John Jacobs was chosen to design the new course with assistance from Bernard Gallacher (Wentworth club professional for 20 years) and the legendary "Black Knight". Gary Player. Player was well acquainted with the Wentworth property having played in 20 consecutive World Match-play Championships on the West course.
1,500 tons of wood was cleared in record time by a team of New Zealand lumberjacks and, in 1990, after a huge effort, the South course opened for play. The course was later renamed the Edinburgh in honour of the Duke who conducted the opening ceremony.
"For the most part the course winds its way through 'The Great Wood' which does call for straight hitting. However, the fairways are not so narrow as to inhibit the use of the driver, rather to encourage it." Wrote John Jacobs. And he's absolutely right, this is a driver's course and, with a yardage that stretches out beyond 7,000 yards from the back tees, you can't afford to leave your big stick in the car.
There are so many excellent holes that it is almost unwise to single one out, but the long par five 7th is a truly magnificent three-shotter. Many good handicap golfers will struggle to reach this green in regulation. The hole doglegs on and on to the right, seemingly indefinitely. The green remains invisible, hidden by an avenue of pines until you are virtually on top of the two-tiered green.
If you find yourself in the wrong position on these big greens, expect a few three putts and if your driving is wayward, expect a few sideways chips from the pine straw. Host to the Senior Masters, the Edinburgh course is a challenging test. In many ways there is Woburn feel here, reminiscent to the Marquess course.
Wentworth is perhaps the best 54-hole inland golfing destination in the whole of the British Isles. It's by no means the easiest venue to access these days, but it is undeniably a special place. If you haven't played the Edinburgh course attempt to befriend a member immediately.
In 2016 it was announced that Gary Player Design will be spearheading an Edinburgh course renovation.
The demanding yet delightful Edinburgh golf course is a John Jacobs design with input from Gary Player and Bernard Gallacher. The idea of a third course at Wentworth, to complement the two created by Harry Colt in the 1920’s, was conceived in the late 1970’s but it didn’t actually open its doors for play until 1990.
Nowadays that door is firmly shut for visitors because an invitation from a member is required to play any of the three courses at this exclusive and private Surrey estate.
The West is a world famous golf course, needs no introduction and naturally receives the most plaudits and the East is often singled out for high praise too. But despite its billing as the third course at Wentworth the Edinburgh still ranks as one of the finest layouts in the county and I’m told is preferred by many of the members. An opportunity to play any of the three should not be refused.
As you would expect of a tight tree-lined golf course it is imperative that you drive the ball imperiously to have any chance of scoring well on the Edinburgh layout. You must be able to hit arrow straight at times whilst at others shaping the ball is required for maximum benefit and to gain the ideal position at a number of the dog-leg holes.
Indeed the test of your driving on the Edinburgh is a relentless one thanks not only to the narrow playing corridors but also strategically placed individual pines which can add to your problems. Fairway bunkers, albeit quite shallow, are also in attendance on many holes, lush thick semi-rough flanks several holes too and touches of tangly heather can be found on parts of the property.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.