Brian, Backdoor Johnny, Phil and myself were out on the road at the crack of dawn yesterday to play at the prestigious Swinley Forest Golf Club. Just behind Ascot, not far from the M3, and another Harry Colt designed course, Swinley is rated 1st in Berkshire, 6th in England and even 71st in the world.
Bright but chilly start with a light frost across the course, Brian “obviously” elected to wear a t-shirt whilst we were all base-layer’d, jumper’d and woolly hat’d up. “Obviously” t-shirt weather!
The early arrivals were asked about which tee we wanted to play off, and though the Pro said we could’ve played off the whites, the sponsor arrived (and as it was his day), said we were off the yellows. It was just a bit disappointing to see several of the yellow tees either on or very close to the reds. Clearly the yellows in their advanced ‘winter’ positions. Slightly off putting really but still, a cracking layout to try and get around. Despite several forward tee’s our collective ‘ropey’ golf meant we didn’t burn the course up anyway.
Sun came out, the light frost disappeared and we all enjoyed the round, if not the scoring. Greens weren’t great, but this is November of course… bit bumpy and slightly woolly so we had a few efforts fly past or come up short… again, more us than the greens. Great course, no holes even coming close to being call ‘meh’, and though we were forward on a number of tees, it was clear to see that in the summer, with quick greens played off the whites and blues this really would be a fantastic place to play (that’s if you can even get on to play it!) Not a long course, the par3’s especially were all exceptional, with elevated greens and tricky bunker positions for pin placements.
Certainly no spectacular scoring… or even average scoring. I think in our 4ball at the end of the field, John had 34, Bri 33, me 32 and Phil 30. John scoring an impressive 20points on the back nine to help us beat Phil and Brian. Sadly we came away without any prizes (usually bottle-shaped). As is expected on these days the food was fantastic, despite Brian finding every fishbone in the sea in his lemon sole, and we left late afternoon to face the traffic on the way home.
Another great day in an enjoyable fourball, and though I don’t think I’ll make the final 2016 fixture next month at Woking, we’re all very pleased to hear that 2017 schedule includes Walton Health amongst regular top courses as Hankley Common, West Hill and St George’s. Nice.