Swinley Forest

Swinley Forest

Harry Colt is one of the icons of golf course design and Swinley Forest is, in his own words, "his least bad" work.

A very exclusive club with royalty among its small membership, I had heard many good things about the course and was very much looking forward to seeing it. 
 
We had a beautiful sunny day, and the course to ourselves - apart from the deer- so we had a lovely time exploring the course. My GPS and the distance markers never seemed to agree and were often 2 clubs out - I never did figure out what was going on there - but this is the sort of course where perhaps any sort of distance advice is contrary to the spirit of the place. Swinley Forest has been in operation for a 100 years but until recently there were no handicaps, no competitions - just golf with friends...
 
Having seen and played the course I now need to do some "study" on various aspects of the design. We very much enjoyed it , but from a design aspect I have a number of questions?
 
The bunkering looked good and bunkers are supposed to be penal but I was not sure if the results I was getting were intended - all 4 bunker shots I had stayed right up the face or side of the bunker because of the bunker shape and type of sand...
 
And the positioning of some bunkers puzzled me..
 
And the mounding around greens like 7 did not look natural to me.
 
I would like to know the history on the linear hazards  - often with heather over them - common to these heathland courses - are they simply the earth from drainage?
 
But there was much to like about Swinley - some wonderful par 3's and short 4's , and I could talk for ages on the strategy of holes like 18 - which look simple but...
 
pw
June 2010
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