Golf Course Review of West Hill Golf Club
West Hill Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: A beautifully textured and peaceful heathland course
Our 5 Star Rating: 4.3
In an area drenched with a bountiful number of the country’s elite courses West Hill stands proud as one of Surrey's oldest and most respected.
The alluring venue is consistently cited as a firm favourite for many a travelling golfer and there’s an undeniable charm to whacking your ball around this fabulous and tranquil parcel of heath where the occasional rattle of a train on the Ascot to Guildford line is the only disruption.
A regular fixture in the various top 100 golf course listings its position in relation to near neighbours Woking and Worplesdon often appears more important than inclusion itself for this distinguished trio. I imagine the debate as to which of the ‘Three W’s’ is the best causes much bemusement amongst the ranking fraternity and whilst my own preference is for one of the other two candidates there really is a hairs breadth between them all.
This beautifully textured heathland course was created in 1907 by the relatively unknown Cuthbert Butchart, who became the first professional at The Club, and testament to his design little has been touched since. Today, the holes are lined with towering Scots pines and swathes of heather whilst the brook of Brookwood also meanders its way through the property, coming into play on six different holes, albeit not too aggressively except at the tremendous third.
Maxing out at a firm and fast 6,457 yards strategic play is required from the tee, therefore, the course plays considerably longer then the numbers initially suggest. On several holes I found myself hitting a mid-to-long iron into the green and all five of the one-shotters required a different club. The par of 69 is a true test as is indicated by the SSS of 71.
No hole is the same at West Hill and each one flows effortlessly into the next. Short walks from green to tee keep a nice tempo to the course, on what is a noticeably compact estate, whilst the continual questions you are asked as a golfer are both varied and challenging.
Nearly every hole is a treat and it’s hard to pick the standouts because there are so many but the third, fourth, eighth, tenth, 15th and 18th are my personal favourites. The only two holes that don’t sit particularly well with me are the uninspiring 11th and the 456-yard 14th where the drive borders on absurdity; yes I draw the ball but the left-to-right fairway is virtually out of sight with a wall of trees facing the driving golfer.
The excellent greens have some wonderful, natural and challenging undulations and contribute to the magnificent test of golf that a round at West Hill provides. The putting surfaces at the sixth and 15th are truly exceptional as are many others during the round.
Whilst golfing at West Hill you can almost feel the fabric of the course. The fairways are velvety, the heather-clad bunkers provide eye-candy, as well as adding strategy, whilst the colours of nature abound continuously on the periphery. A round at West Hill is a special treat and one that should be savoured and enjoyed for a long time.
West Hill is featured in the National Club Golfer Top 100 under £100 Golf Courses of Great Britain.