Swinley Forest Golf Club: Course Review, Green Fees, Tee Times and Key Info

The brilliant heathland course at Swinley Forest Golf Club is an absolute jewel that has more than passed the test of time with flying colours

Swinley Forest Golf Club
The final green at Swinley Forest with the opening hole on the left
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2023/24

(Image credit: Future)

Swinley Forest Golf Club Key Information

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Header Cell - Column 0 Header Cell - Column 1
AddressCoronation Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 9LE
Phone01344 620197
Email office@swinleyfgc.co.uk
GFsOn application
Visitor TimesWeekdays only, check with club for details
ParMen 69, Women 70
SlopeNot Known
ArchitectHarry Colt
Golf Monthly Verdict

Swinley Forest - Hole 17

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Swinley Forest serves up a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining journey forwards through the heather, but also backwards in time. This applies both on and off the course where there is a more sophisticated and genteel atmosphere of days gone by. Subtle changes have kept this engaging course on the top of its game, and a day at Swinley is always a treat.

Reasons To Play Swinley Forest

– A beautiful and endlessly interesting design where strategy is way more important than brute force

– Play the design that Harry Colt described as his ‘least bad course’!

– A journey back in time to the Golden Age of golf course design


UK & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses 2023/24 - 35

Arguably as uncommercial and self-reliant as any club in the Top 100, Swinley Forest Golf Club is very much one of a kind. It’s charming and timeless course was designed by the legendary Harry Colt, and is one of the very best inland courses in the UK.

Swinley Forest has no need for a captain and you won’t be able to look up your handicap for the round on the England Golf app - this is very much its own club. And as private as it is, its course is much more in the public eye and appears in various world lists. Happily, it is also one that lives up to the highest expectations. If you were asked to close your eyes and think of what an archetypal, beautiful, traditional, pine-clad golf course looks like… this would be it. This is one of Harry Colt’s greatest and most enduring legacies. One where, aside from the addition of a new back tee here and the odd tweak there, it was so perfectly designed in the first place and sits in such a wonderful location, that little has changed or needed to.

From the moment you arrive, the whole atmosphere at Swinley Forest makes you genuinely feel as though you are stepping back in time. Everywhere, subtlety and understatement is key. Out on the course, then rather than individual standout holes, there is a consistency and great strength in depth. If you had to single out just one highlight, it would probably be the par-3 4th, but there is plenty to be admired and enjoyed at each of the other seventeen.

This is one of the best golf courses in England, and the view from the clubhouse sets the scene perfectly. The 1st runs away on your left and the closing hole comes up towards you on the right. Each plays down through the valley and over the stream, although it really shouldn’t come into play. The final green is perfectly situated and calls for a well struck shot to clear the welcoming party of two bunkers just short. With just two par 5s and five varied short holes, it plays every inch of its relatively modest yardage and is one of the best heathland courses in the UK. It is also a course where your score really shouldn't matter… what does matter is that it will keep a smile on your face from start to finish.

Swinley Forest - Hole 1

The first green with the second hole heading over the slope beyond

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What The Top 100 Panel Said

Rob Fear UK&I Top 100 panel
Rob Fear

Any visit to Swinley Forest lives long in the memory due to its immaculate presentation and beautiful setting. Despite it being deep into the autumn, hardly a leaf was out of place! This is a timeless, lovely place for the golfing purist.

Christian Morris UK&I Top 100 panel
Christian Morris

If there is a heathland course that is more attractive than Swinley Forest, I would be surprised to the point of consternation! One of the most enjoyable days at a golf club anywhere. From the reception in the clubhouse, the golf, food and drink to the general ambience, the experience of playing here is next to faultless.

John Winter UK&I Top 100 panel
John Winter

The uninterrupted vistas with only the sound of the crows epitomise the spaciousness and peacefulness of this heathland course. I loved the whole experience and would rank Swinley as my favourite inland course to date.

Swinley Forest Golf Club Location

Swinley Forest Green Fees

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RoundContact club for detailsRow 0 - Cell 2
DayContact club for detailsRow 1 - Cell 2
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Swinley Forest Scorecard

Swinley Forest Scorecard

(Image credit: Rob Smith)

Best Courses Near To Swinley Forest



Home to the two best inland courses in the Top 100, Sunningdale is quite simply one of the best 36-hole clubs in the world. Both the Old and the New are exceptionally pretty, beautifully contoured and an absolute joy. As close to perfection as you will find.



Having eulogised about Sunningdale, there are plenty of golfers who like The Berkshire just as much. Again there are two superb heathland courses, the Red and the Blue, both designed by the brilliant Herbert Fowler. The Red is famous for having six of each par, while the Blue is harder to score on and the perfect complement.

Best Places To Stay Near Swinley Forest

Macdonald Berystede Hotel - Book now via Booking.com

Styled like a French chateau, this historical manor has a relaxing spa with swimming pool and gym, and boasts an AA Rosette-rated restaurant. It is set in peaceful gardens and woodland and has an indoor pool with views across the gardens. It also offers an outdoor hydrotherapy pool, thermal suites and beauty treatments.

The Talbot Inn, Woking - Book now via Booking.com

The Talbot Inn serves real ales and locally sourced, seasonal produce in its bar and restaurant. Dating from the 18th century, this 4-star hotel has modern, spacious rooms with plasma-screen TV, en suite bathroom and large rain shower.

Swinley Forest Gallery

Historical Top 100 Rankings UK&I

  • 2023/24 35
  • 2021/22 39
  • 2019/20 39
  • 2017/18 38
  • 2015/16 38
  • 2013/14 34
  • 2011/12 40
  • 2009/10 36

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Swinley Forest take visitors?

There was a time when golf was restricted to members and their guests only, but with a little preparation and organised approach, it is certainly possible to play at this lovely club.

Has Swinley Forest ever hosted an important championship?

The club has traditionally been one of the most private in the Top 100 and so has never really sought wider acclaim. Golf here is far more about the company and fun than it is scorecards and the World Handicapping System - if you play here, you are already a winner!

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.