The Surrey/Berkshire border is home to arguably the finest neighbourhood of golf courses in the world, and Swinley Forest is one of its finest jewels

Swinley Forest Golf Club Course Review

Green Fee Range: On Application

Medal Tee: Par 69 – 6,431 Yards

Visitor Times: Limited starting times, Monday to Friday


Swinley Forest Golf Club Course Review

Imagine the most perfect picture of a beautiful, traditional, pine-clad golf course in the London stockbroker belt, and that picture is Swinley Forest. A sublime balance of fun and variety make this one of Harry Colt’s greatest legacies.

Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland

Swinley Forest Golf Club Course Review

There are few centurion courses so perfectly designed and in such a wonderful location that little has changed or ever needs to. Swinley Forest is one such shining diamond, and despite recent tweaks you genuinely feel as though you are stepping back in time from the moment you arrive.

The course features high up in the Golf Monthly Top 100, and is one that really has no signature hole. Rather, it has 18 of them. The view from the homely clubhouse sets the scene perfectly with the opening and closing holes running down through the valley over a burn, and with just two par-5s on the card, it plays every inch of its modest yardage.

There is a terrific trio of holes from the 3rd, the first of which is a short par 4 that raises some hope of a birdie providing the drive avoids the heather.

The 4th is a much greatly admired par-3, as the 15th at North Berwick, with a green slightly above the tee and a sea of sand and fall-off areas. A simple concept but a wonderful hole.

The pond on the 5th is more in evidence than it was when I first came here, and although the water should really not come into play, it makes for a fabulous vista. The short 8th does not need any bunkering, and the tough 9th calls for two excellent blows to get anywhere close.

The back nine starts with a testing par 3 with a long carry, and the 12th seems to play like a double dogleg to a green backed by a riot of rhododendrons.

It is hard to single out highlights as they are everywhere, but the penultimate hole is a delightful par 3 with a must-hit green…

Swinley Forest Golf Club Course Review

The must-hit short 17th

The closing hole is a classic par 4, played over the valley and up to a sloping green under the watchful gaze of the clubhouse.

Swinley Forest is one of a kind – no captain, no strokeplay competitions – very much its own club. The course appears in many world lists, and is one that lives up to the highest expectations.

Course changes since previous ranking

The course has been lengthened to 6,431 yards with significant improvements to several tees along with bunker refurbishment. There is also a new and improved practice area. In addition there has been an extensive woodland management programme.

Proposed course changes

Nothing advised

Golf Monthly Verdict

A shorter but perfectly formed course that’s a joy to play