I must admit I cannot compete with the macho self satisfaction of some of the previous reviewers who seem to believe this is a ‘fair test’ when they lose 6 balls in a round. I happen to think that golf should be about enjoyment and this golfer didn’t get enough of it after 2 rounds here!
Yes a great deal of money has been spent, (although more needs to be spent on unfinished buggy paths), yes the practice facilities, clubhouse, setting of the course are all good and yes some holes have nice views but there are many things not to like....
1. The greens had great surfaces but are too difficult to read for visiting amateurs. Most have run off areas that push the ball away from the hole ...or even off the green....and at 9.5 on the stimp according to the starter were as fast as they dare make them!
2. The par 3’s are all short(not 1 played longer than an 8 iron from the 6100yard tees) but they can humiliate you like no other course will. It is easy to 3 putt or to end up 25’ from the hole with a half decent chip because of humps and hollows on the greens. I did like the 5th (yes vaguely Redan like but the N. Berwick hole is fairer).
3. There isn’t much rough to prevent the ball entering scrub land.... (or water)so it will usually be lost or unplayable if you slightly miss a fairway.
4. You need a buggy unless you like to combine fell walking with golf. Why oh why do lazy designers from the USA insist on spreading out courses thereby making the game even more time consuming? I am amazed that some people have walked the course! Overall this is a very difficult test of golf & this (ailing)single figure golfer who has played many tournament courses over the last 30+ years still rates it highly but the designer must have a weird sense of what enjoyment is. This track is more difficult than Royal Óbidos (because of the greens) and far more difficult than Praia del Rey - but you can walk the latter easily & it does have quite a few birdiable holes. Of the 4 courses in the area West Cliffs seemed to be the least busy, so why is this bearing in mind most reviewers rave about it? Well I’m afraid I think I know, so if you go then be prepared to feel humiliated and frustrated at times and try to laugh when you 3 putt. And to anyone who feels this review doesn’t reflect their experience then that is fair enough but it certainly was mine. Lastly it was reported to me by an employee on our visit that last years tournament for lady scratch golfers was won with a score of +18, “....and they all just hated it”!!
Date: April 16, 2019