Golf Course Review of Wentworth Golf Club (East & Edinburgh)
Wentworth (East & Edinburgh) Golf Courses
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: A 54 hole private estate in Surrey
Our 5 Star Rating: 4.2 (East), 4.1 (Edinburgh)
Wentworth is an exclusive private club in the heart of the Surrey heathbelt where a members invitation is required to play any of the 54 holes comprising the East, West and Edinburgh courses.
The West is a world famous golf course, needs no introduction and naturally receives the most plaudits whilst the East is often singled out for high praise too. 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.
The East at Wentworth is almost certainly the most fun and scoreable of the three on the estate. Many also argue it is the architecturally superior of the trio.
It is a Harry Colt creation from the 1920s and is a par 68 layout with a top yardage of just 6,201. As you would expect plenty of shotmaking is required and although placement from the tee is often essential there is usually a choice to be made on most shots in how they can be played, be it conservatively or with a more aggressive nature.
There are a string of shortish and enjoyable two-shotters, a good balance of sterner holes and a thrilling collection of five par-threes with just the lone par-five.
My personal favourite holes are the heroic 3rd, where you must carry four diagonal bunkers with your drive on a hole that shapes to the right, the cool fifth where the raised green has a huge dip in the middle of it, the 11th and 13th – two tenacious par-fours where a fade from the tee is required before the holes turn back to the left and the mighty 18th which sits proudly under the iconic Wentworth clubhouse and has a series of bunkers that must be carried on the approach.
Make no mistake, there is lots of very good golf to be played on the East course.
The turf is excellent and whilst for the most part there is a wooded-parkland feel to the course there are more heathland moments too, especially towards the end of the round. The 14th tee is a lovely spot to appreciate the immense beauty of the property which for the most part is played through corridors of seclusion.
As you would expect form a Colt design there is plenty of strategy required in order to successfully plot your way around the course. There are a number of courageous carries, albeit some of them are now largely redundant thanks to modern technology, and whilst there is generally plenty of width tree encroachment has narrowed up the course in places over the years.
Glimpses of the West and Edinburgh can be seen throughout the round which covers more than 200 acres but you are never quite sure where you are on the estate due to the twisting nature of the routing.
The East is a course that will not beat you up (too much!) and allows for a quick 18. Although it may stay out of the spotlight to a certain there is no denying this is a fine golf course and if an opportunity arises to play here it should be grasped with both hands.
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.
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. As you may gather, getting the ball in play from the tee is the main challenge here. From the back tees it can stretch to over 7,000 yards with a par of 72 so cosying a 3-wood or long iron is not always an option.
However, should you find the fairway from the tee the greens are generally large and only modestly defended by sand. Many of the putting surfaces are flattish, simply merging as extensions from the fairway, but there are also some with more significant borrows and a handful feature split levels where finding the correct tier is paramount.
I particularly enjoyed the first four holes which provide a varied mix of golf over some stirring topography. From the sixth onwards the course plays a little flatter and a bit more conventional but there are still plenty of fine holes.
The set of short holes are infinitely pretty, equally as taxing and worthy of mention as a collection. The 17th is the signature one-shotter requiring you to fire over water towards a two-level green but I was also impressed with the 12th which is played to a shallow, angled and raised green. The short second hole is also very scenic and protected by a winding burn whilst the uphill fifth has a wickedly sloping green where being above the hole is seriously not recommended.
Each of the par-fives, four of them all told, have impressive green complexes. The third is a particularly lovely hole with a large dip in front of the green, the seventh is a monster at over 600-yards played to a multi-level green and the 16th features a wooden sleepered bunker. However, the 10th has the best green of the lot, perhaps on the entire course, as it falls from left-to-right and from front-to-back over three shallow tiers.
Jacobs was intent on creating a course that was sympathetic to its surroundings and he has achieved this as the course wends its way through the mature woodland. Each hole is cut through the forest with a sense of isolation whilst playing each one.