Swinley Forest (1909)
Swinley Forest is located close to some of the famous golf courses (Sunningdale & Wentworth) but a very different experience overall. Swinley doesnt have an official website, so it took some time to get a tee time. In one way very old fashioned, but somehow it is part of the whole experience of going to Swinley Forest. When we visited in it was a very quiet day, which I somehow got the feeling was pretty much the case most days. The ladies had just teed off and we walked around the clubhouse and sat down for lunch outside. Only 2 other golfers teed off in the next couple of hours, which also meant that our entire round felt liked we were there on our own. Everybody was very friendly and welcoming, which only made the whole experience even better.
It is a relatively short course by todays standards and we decided to play for the back tees. It’s a par 68 and just over 6000 yards from the back tee.
1st hole on Swinley which has a reasonably wide fairway and slightly uphill to the green on your second. A nice opening hole, where I managed to hit the fairway and came up just short of the green on the second shot. Up and down for a par.
2nd hole on Swinley has a blind tee shot, but is relatively short so you don’t need to hit driver. I hit a driver and had a wedge to green, which I missed severely to the right which resulted in a well-deserved bogey after a poor second shot.
4th hole a beautiful par 3 protected by bunkers and with the pin position close to the front edge on the right it played difficult. Missed my first shot pin high on the semirough around the green. Didn’t managed to get up and down, so another bogey.
5th hole and the only par 5 on the course. Fairway view above and an wide fairway. Missed my drive to the right of the bunkers but had a good lie. Took a bad decision to go for the green in 2, but missed in right and got a rough lie. Long on the 3rd shot and ended up with a bogey 6. Bad score, bad shot and bad course management.
7th hole a par 5 uphill, where you I hit my drive up just short of the mounts crossing the fairway. Second shot is almost an uphill blind shot and you need to try your yardage.
7th green with the large rhododendrons behind the green. We played in june and I can imagine that they would have looked even more beautiful a month earlier. Generally there is many rhododendrons throughout the course and that really gives it character. I came up just short of the green and didn’t manage to get up and down – bogey.
Par 3 8th where you can see the severe slope on the right and also sloping away in front of the green. Best place is obviously on the green, but otherwise short is the place to be. I hit my shot on the green and got a par.
Par 4 9th a dogleft left to and one of the longest on the course. The second shot is a difficult uphill. I hit the fairway and a really good second shot which I converted to a birdie.
Walking up the 9th it started raining heavily and we took shelter at the halfway house. Good timing for a quick lunch break. Rain was over in 15 minutes and we could continue.
Tee shot on the long par 4 12th hole.
13th par 3 with bunkers in front. My fellow golfer and I both hit very nice 5 irons close to the pin. I got my birdie…yes…
14th par 4 – fairway, green and 2 putts for a par.
Par 4 15th we an elevated green with severe runoff in the front
Par 3 17th where the green is well protected by bunkers and elevated. Puts pressure on the tee shot being spot on, which I didn’t manage to do. Hit in the bunker left and got a bogey.
Par 4 18th with the clubhouse in the background. There is a water hazard running across the fairway that you preferably need to carry to leave a short shot to the green. I hit the fairway and green, but 3 putted for a bogey – bad way to finish a nice day of golf.
The course was a very good shape, even though the greens were running rather slowly and it looked like they hadn’t been cut recently. The greens are good, but not 100% perfect and true. I shot 77 on a par 68, which I was happy with. It is a course I would like to play again, especially if the greens where running a bit faster as it would be even more challenging and rewarding at the same time.