West Hill Golf Club Course Review

Defined by it majestic trees and abundant heather, this is a delightful course that is consistently strong from start to finish

The opening hole at West Hill
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Defined by it majestic trees and abundant heather, this is a delightful course that is consistently strong from start to finish

West Hill Golf Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 - 71 Previous Rankings 2019/20 - 73 2017/18 - 79 2015/16 - 85 2013/14 - 88 2011/12 - 86 2009/10 - 80

Summer Green Fees

Round - £140, Day - £200wd

Visitors: welcome weekdays, after midday at weekends with permission

Medal Tee: Par 69 - 6,457 Yards

www.westhillgc.co.uk

Changes since previous ranking

Continuation of the tree removal programme to encourage the heather with a further 750 removed. A rebuild of the 18th tees with 4 new ones added. A new tee complex on 12th hole plus remodelling of half-way hut area.

West Hill Golf Club Course Review

Surrey is blessed with an embarrassment of golfing riches, and West Hill is one of three Top 100 courses that almost border one another.

The approach over the ditch to the first hole (Photo: Kevin Murray)

Along with Woking and Worplesdon, it too is the home of sublime, old-fashioned, heathland golf. It is actually the youngest of the three, although the course was designed well over a century ago by its professional, Cuthbert Butchart. A native of Carnoustie, he had formerly worked as a club-maker and professional in North Berwick. In recent years, great efforts have been made towards subtle improvements. Most of this has been on perfecting the conditioning, especially in relation to the bunkers. There has also been an extensive programme of tree removal to create more light and air movement.

What we now enjoy so greatly is largely the original design. At just over 6,000 yards from the yellows, it may not appear long, but with five lovely and varied par 3s it plays every inch of its length and more. Despite the Hill in its name, the walking is easy. The Brookwood stream comes into play on a few holes, particularly at the start. Majestic specimen trees line most of the holes, and are all the more visible and impressive from the renovated tees.

The eighth hole is a real beauty

What we now enjoy so greatly is largely the original design. At just over 6,000 yards from the yellows, it may not appear long, but with five lovely and varied par 3s it plays every inch of its length and more. Despite the Hill in its name, the walking is easy. The Brookwood stream comes into play on a few holes, particularly at the start. Majestic specimen trees line most of the holes, and are all the more visible and impressive from the renovated tees.

The fifteenth is the final par 3

Heather is another dominant feature, easy on the eye but less so on the clubface. The course opens with a pair of attractive par 4s before the very demanding 3rd which runs parallel with the railway and requires two long blows to get home. The 4th is the first of the short holes, and it is said that to score well here, the par 3s are key. Next is the first of just two par 5s, and if the wind is from the west, there is a chance to get up in two. The back nine has perhaps even more variety with two excellent short holes at 13 and 15, the former a tiddler, the latter a brute. There is also a very strong finish with two tough par 4s sandwiching the sweeping par-5 17th.

The approach to the par-4 sixteenth

The halfway house, or rather the two-thirds way house, is by the 12th green and is well worth the wait. Pandemic permitting, one of the country’s leading amateur tournaments is held at West Hill each Spring. The very popular Father and Son Foursomes attracts golfers from far and wide.

Assessor Feedback

West Hill is a traditional Surrey Heathland layout. The holes are beautifully framed by heather and pine and there is a nice variation that range in difficulty. The subtle undulations also add to the character and test.

GM Verdict

Defined by it majestic trees and abundant heather, this is a delightful course that is consistently strong from start to finish.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 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. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.