Of the three W's, West Hill, Worplesdon and Woking I enjoyed West Hill the most. It is in a pretty wooded heathland setting and felt longer than the total yardage of just over 6300 yards mainly due to some long par 4's. All of the par 3's were good, especially the 193 yard 4th with its heather and wet ditch waiting for any poorly executed tee shot. The 11th is a rugged looking hole. A narrow ditch/burn runs across the course and is in play on a number of holes. The 18th is a pretty and challenging par 4 finish with a long carry needed for the second shot to clear all the bunkers -you then encounter an undulating green that is frighteningly close to the clubhouse. My only criticism would be that the greens were a little below par.
The three W's are all close by, more or less trapped between the M3 and the A3 near the A322. Worplesdon was the home of Joyce and Roger Wethered. It is yet another lovely wooded heathland course -perhaps a little more difficult than West Hill.
I can't remember a poor par 3 on any of the Surrey courses and Worplesdon is no exception with the 7th across the pond and the 13th being particularly good. Index 1 is the long 14th, a par 4 of 452 yards. I f you are all square at the 17th then the 18th can provide for some excitement as you play your shot into the green. At 438 yards in length you are hitting a long second that must carry bunkers angled across in front of the green and if you go through the green there is a steep bank beside OOB by way of a path around the clubhouse. There are also some interesting swales on some of the greens. Inside the clubhouse was yet another example we saw where some refurbishment would not go astray.
(photo Worplesdon -par 3, 4th hole from behind the green)
The morning of our game at Woking it rained very heavily and , on arrival, the course was empty and there were only 3 others in the clubhouse. Luckily the sun appeared just after midday and although there were pools of water on some holes the fairways and greens were in very good condition. From the 4th hole onwards there are some very good heathland holes. The 4th , alongside the railway line, is made more difficult by the two bunkers in the middle of the fairway. The 6th is a magnificent looking hole - a par 4 of 419 yards that is Index 1. There is a burn in front of the green but from the distance it just looks like a grassy ditch. For me the 9th, which dog legs up a steep hill was the hardest hole - it is also the longest par 4. Holes 11-14 are excellent and then there is the par 3,16th which plays over a pond full of eels. The 18th green has three levels and a pond at the side.Three putting is not difficult if you are above the hole.
There is a fair amount of heather, especially on the back nine. The clubhouse has a lovely quaint feel about it. Whilst I nominated West Hill as my favourite of the 3 W's, Woking might just be the best of the courses.
(photo Woking- par 4, 6th hole)
New Zealand golf club is one of the most enchanting places I have ever encountered. There are only 170 members and all past members such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are named on the lockers. Heather abounds here and on some par 3's such as the 16th it runs almost all the length from tee to green. Whilst New Zealand is not long, you will pay a heavy price for inaccuracy. There are some testing par 4's but the only par 5, the 14th, is rather short and was reachable in 2 even for me. At the dog leg 17th do not take driver at the tee otherwise you will run out of fairway.
The greens were excellent, some like the 18th having interesting bumps and swales at the approach area. Sadly it was an overcast most of the day when we played - on a sunny day I could have spent hours just taking photographs.
The Secretary, Roger Marrett and his assistant Richard are both helpful and very knowledgeable about all matters relating to course design etc so I could have easily spent hours comparing views and opinions with them. New Zealand is a very private club but the ambience is second to none if you are lucky enough to get a game here.
(photo New Zealand-15th green)
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