It had rained all night but the hardy and the committed queued at the first tee, squinting in to the low flying reluctant sun, beaming through the freshly leafless boughs of towering beech. We hunkered closely, expectantly, stiff limbed and well wrapped, bending into the hard winter breeze, coaxing numb fingers onto cold, slippy grips.
Why? Because this is West Hill. A sand belt classic that enthralls from first to last. Champion ground for golf. The siren prettiness of the place, stripped back to stately pines and brutal heather is beguiling and offers exquisite winter play.
The endless Summer has left the ball lying low on a tortured sod but there is a palpable fastidiousness about the preparation here never the less. Special.
You will enjoy the vistas across the course, the gentle undulations and the timeless heathland routing. Where there are blind shots you are rewarded by generous landing areas and spectacularly pretty approaches. Each hole is a delight and a challenge.
Very few score well here. The greens, should you find them in regulation, do not give up birdies without a fight.
So as the sun sets on the endless summer of 2018, we enjoyed the immaculate West Hill, even if it was, as all our courses are, strained and sparse of fairway grass.
Date: November 21, 2018