Our first Surrey experience was at The Berkshire where my wife and I played the Red Course and I walked part of the Blue Course. Up until now most of the heather was not in full flower but once we were further south and it was now August then I must confess to being smitten by the magical appearance these courses take on when you see 180 yards of pink and purple heather in front of the tee and bunkers with resplendent heather 'eyebrows'. Apparently the combination of weather conditions over the previous 6 months had resulted in one of the best displays of heather that anyone could remember over the past 30 years.
Having said that, the heather has a voracious appetite for golf balls. First rule: watch carefully and pick out some marker spot where your ball disappeared. Second rule: unless your ball is sitting on top of the heather (unlikely) then take your medicine - usually means a wedge to the nearest piece of fairway.
It rained all the previous night and next morning and didn't stop till we had played about 12 holes. The golf was still enjoyable - just a pity that there was so much water lying on the fairways and in the bunkers. The greens are top class at The Berkshire and were quick even though they were wet. The whole course is very attractive but none more so than the 8th, 11th and 13th and two of the par 3's the 7th and 10th. After the round concluded we were in bright sunshine so I managed to get back out on the course for some better photos.
The clubhouse was in keeping with the quality of the courses.
The Blue Course is nearly as good as you can see just by looking at the lovely first hole.
(photo The Berkshire- 17th hole Red Course)
We had to fit in with availability at the various courses so next venue was Royal Ashdown Forest just off the A22 on the way to Bournemouth. This course was quite different to what I had expected. I really liked it but be warned it is very hilly and from a number of the tees the carry would probably be far too difficult for many women. The day we played here it did not help that on most uphill holes we were also into a strong wind. I would like to have been there the following week when the British Ladies Amateur was being held. There is a variety of unusual holes and some long walks down laneways to find the next teeing ground. The 11th tee is almost the highest point in the County -you hit downhill on this par 3 over a sea of heather to a green 249 yards away.
The 18th seems harder than Index 15 with its long carry over a valley with very thick rough to a fairway which tends to kick your ball right and onto the 1st fairway. Definitely worth a game and different to most of the other heathland courses down south. Everyone here is very friendly.
(photo - Royal Ashdown Forest)
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- England - Surrey & Near London Pt II
- England - Surrey & Near London Pt III
- England - Surrey & Near London Pt IV
- England -Surrey & Near London Pt V
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