Golf Club Atlas

GolfClubAtlas.com => Golf Course Architecture => Topic started by: Sean_A on August 22, 2008, 07:50:38 PM

Title: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Sean_A on August 22, 2008, 07:50:38 PM
Few clubhouses have this sort of presence.  Like the logo, the clubhouse strikes me as a bit ott, but it is very comfortable and provides a great viewing point for the 1st, 9th & 10th tees, plus the 9th & 18th greens.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4559/38353201491_42612f9e45_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4559/38353201491_42612f9e45_b.jpg)

St Georges Hill may best be known in history by its association with the Diggers.  During the turbulent period shortly after the trial and execution of King Charles I, a group led by Gerrard Winstanley occupied the common land known as St Georges Hill with a view to cultivating it. This radical solution to rising food prices and a general feeling of disconnect with the land among the lower classes would 200 years later be labeled  Communism.  How ironic then that St Georges Hill should eventually become one of the wealthiest gated communities in England. 

In 1911 the concept of a gated community was relatively novel and appealed to the then well established middle classes made up of professionals and entrepreneurs.  It is the great fortune of golfers that the developer, George Tarrant, decided to include a golf course on the Surrey estate (he also developed Wentworth).  Interestingly, after a well publized 1924 match between Hagen/Smith and Duncan/Mitchell Mr Tarrant came up with idea of a providing a trophy for an annual match between between professionals from the USA and England.  The St Georges committee turned the idea down thus leaving the door open for Wentworth to carry the idea forward.  One of the spectators of the Wentworth Match was Samuel Ryder.  Ryder thought the match should be staged again (no doubt encouraged by two English victories) and thus the Ryder Cup was born in 1927, being first played at Worcester CC in Massuchesetts. 

After many months of arduous tree-clearing Harry Colt was able to embark on what is arguably his finest inland creation.  The course covers land which is most obviously severe even when viewed from the comfort of the rather redoubtable clubhouse.   However, the undulating terrain is used to great effect offering challenge and beauty.  True to Colt, many of the holes play to somewhat large uphill greens situated on plateaux and well guarded by sand.  Colt is rightly famous for his par 3s, but I think the strength of St Georges Hill rests with its two-shotters. The diversity of these holes sets the standard for Colt and perhaps for all of the great architects of the Golden Age.               

One of the aspects of St Georges Hill which impresses me the most is its width and playability.  Oddly enough, perhaps #1 is the most confined hole on the course!  One will note the up and down nature of the opener, this is a common theme throughout.  Like most good uphill approaches, the shot here leaves the player in some doubt as to where the edge of the green is; in this case, the left side. This doubt makes it difficult to be aggressive with left side hole locations. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4517/24482218238_45b4d6db15_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4517/24482218238_45b4d6db15_b.jpg)

The second takes the player blindly over a brow.  Below is a look at the hole from a forward location.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4540/24482218118_6a30c92b8f_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4540/24482218118_6a30c92b8f_b.jpg)

The approach. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4554/38298282906_c645b3ed2d_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4554/38298282906_c645b3ed2d_b.jpg)

The short 3rd.  This one caught me out a bit.  I thought the most difficult hole location is on the right.  In truth, because of the right to left two tier green green, it easier to putt up the slope than down.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4522/38298282686_b11b64fb96_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4522/38298282686_b11b64fb96_b.jpg)

The 4th stands out as the awkward hole at St Georges Hill.  The hole may be more interesting from the ladies tees at ~245 yards.  The yardage is often not enough for driver, but still requires at least a 220 yard carry if one is going for the green.  The apron is very deceiving as it is steeply uphill.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4565/24482217938_750d230fe5_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4565/24482217938_750d230fe5_b.jpg)

#5 is an awkward length as well because of the cross bunker.  The seemless transition from fairway to green makes this uphill approach much more tricky than first glance suggests. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4549/24482217788_11f56d935b_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4549/24482217788_11f56d935b_b.jpg)

The 6th is an odd shaped hole with the fairway protruding well right. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4551/38298282356_875924f02f_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4551/38298282356_875924f02f_b.jpg)

If I was going to have one complaint about the course it would be the bunkers, many of which look a bit too neat and perfect.  In many ways, St Georges Hill feels like a parkland course with heather on it. Now, that isn't to say there aren't some darlings at SGHGC!  The club is currently upgrading several bunkers and adding a few here and there.  Notice how the bunker below is fed by the surrounding land.  It is also clear that one can draw a rather unpleasant heathery lie just outside the hazard.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4565/24482217558_e95f254369_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4565/24482217558_e95f254369_b.jpg)

There is a sleek swale shy of the green which visually forshortens the hole.  Playing downhill as well, it is wise to take one club less than the yardage suggests, but many take one more....
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4548/24482217478_3b14ccd4f7_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4548/24482217478_3b14ccd4f7_b.jpg)

A very short par 5, one can often have a mid iron to the 7th green.  This seems to be the one hole which doesn't quite settle with me.  Next is the stunning 8th. Though it must be said that once one sees photos of the old bunkering compared  to the current disjointed effort, it must bring a tear to the eyes of Colt fans.  Let us hope the club restores this hole to its Colt beginnings. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4567/24482216708_f341d9ab4a_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4567/24482216708_f341d9ab4a_b.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4531/24482216608_26ff495720_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4531/24482216608_26ff495720_b.jpg)

The course is chocker block full of plateaux greens and knob to knob shots.  On a few occasions, the greens are turtle backed. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4518/38353209501_7bbf6d4cce_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4518/38353209501_7bbf6d4cce_b.jpg)

The somewhat blind 9th swings hard left and uphill to a green which runs treacherously to the left.  Evidence of new bunkering is depicted in these fall 2017 photos.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4559/26577916399_de0a2ef818_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4559/26577916399_de0a2ef818_b.jpg)

The approach.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4528/38353209301_607b90da67_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4528/38353209301_607b90da67_b.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4560/24482215738_616b1055f6_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4560/24482215738_616b1055f6_b.jpg)

The back nine commences in stunning fashion as is one of the finest holes in England.  This longish two-shotter is blind over the brow of a hill.  The hole feels like a dogleg left, but doesn't play that way much of the time. The large green dictates the approach.  If the hole is left behind the mound then far right is the ideal driving line.  Otherwise, down the middle works.  Anything less than a superb approach leaves the golfer in three putt territory. A clever mirror system afford a view of the golfers ahead.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4559/24482213388_5739f9e262_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4559/24482213388_5739f9e262_b.jpg)

What remains after a very good drive.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4549/24482213698_9f114ee539_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4549/24482213698_9f114ee539_b.jpg)

The 10th is a very good green amongst an engaging if not overly aggressive set of putting surfaces.  It is a gresat shame some of the greens were softened over time, sometimes by Colt himself.  With the exception of Woking, the London heathland greens are open to criticism for their leaning toward the bland when compared with similarly highly respected courses in the US.  Looking back to the tee.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4533/26577914469_486b22267f_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4533/26577914469_486b22267f_b.jpg)

Another thorny distance hole of some 110 yards, the 11th can leave some golfers stumbling and bumbling.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4568/26577913989_ea1ec1d026_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4568/26577913989_ea1ec1d026_b.jpg)

The 12th is another blind drive, but the splendor of the hole is soon exposed.  I notice rubbish was removed around the left bunker and to the rear of the green.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4539/26577913759_d1665a90ac_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4539/26577913759_d1665a90ac_b.jpg)

Another domed green disguised wonderfully by the front left bunker.  Just look at how perfectly the green sits on the knob!
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4566/24482213178_00894c7cb5_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4566/24482213178_00894c7cb5_b.jpg)

#13 is perhaps the most inviting tee shot on the course. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4522/24482211568_f05e7decb9_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4522/24482211568_f05e7decb9_b.jpg)

Approaches such as this were a penchant of Colt.  He seemed to slip in this concept of several bunkers following a diagonal line quite a bit.
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A rather odd short hole over water, it would seem that Colt tried his best not to get water properly into play on the 14th.  All the same, this is a good hole for two reasons.  There is a few feet rise from the fairway to the green which is the best on the course.  #15 is a straightaway par 5 with a slight drop and turn in the fairway out near the driving zone.  Cleverly placed bunkers short left of the green attract aggressive shots which fail to stay on the correct line.  Even if one bangs one between the sand, the contours will take the shot well left. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4526/26577910479_7c3fe78d19_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4526/26577910479_7c3fe78d19_b.jpg)

The tough 16th follows the same direction as 15 and features the string of pearls bunkering. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4520/24482210128_2c227a6f14_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4520/24482210128_2c227a6f14_b.jpg)

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4517/24482209958_1acb621680_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4517/24482209958_1acb621680_b.jpg)

The great variety of the back nine continues with the 17th.  Colt took advantage of the bold terrain incredibly well on the back nine and the use of the hump here is an example of this. 
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4550/38353201681_09c4ac1bac_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4550/38353201681_09c4ac1bac_b.jpg)

The approach.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4538/26577909319_616321475d_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4538/26577909319_616321475d_b.jpg)

This green has been extended to the left in the recent past.  There is now a great hole location on the left just before the sudden drop.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4518/24482208728_5b18cc0c7f_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4518/24482208728_5b18cc0c7f_b.jpg)

#18 is a fun finisher.  Again, great use of the land to push tee shots away from the ideal approach angle.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4539/24482208678_023de69fea_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4539/24482208678_023de69fea_b.jpg)

After turning the corner this cracking view of the green opens up.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4516/24482208348_7948924292_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4516/24482208348_7948924292_b.jpg)

Not long, but depending on the lie and angle, this can be a tricky approach.  This angle is common.  Remember the horrible slope on the 18th green? The safe bail-out shot right leaves that nasty down-hill putt.
(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4518/24482208488_e7806e4789_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4518/24482208488_e7806e4789_b.jpg)

St Georges Hill is well worth  visit simply to see the par 4s...the variety is outstanding.  The great use of the topography sets off what is surely one of the best back nines in England which is kick started by the alarmingly excellent 10th.  For those interested in history the house is worth stolling around.  A standout feature is the uniquely displayed "board" winners on corner columns.  Anybody going to London should seriously consider St Georges Hill as one of the first ports of call.  1*  2017

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4557/24482208198_2d2783b47f_b.jpg) (https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4557/24482208198_2d2783b47f_b.jpg)

Ciao
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Paul_Turner on August 22, 2008, 08:01:57 PM
Thanks Sean

I can't believe what's happened to the bunkering at SGH it looks like someone upholstered them! 

And the 3rd does slide from right to left.  There's right to left a tier in it, no?
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Mark Bourgeois on August 22, 2008, 08:04:15 PM
Thanks for the pics, Sean.  Can't say if it's true through and through, but bunkers for which old pictures exist do not look like those of today.

Also, I liked 4 Red!  Not my favorite by any stretch, but if you are not going to go for it, the hole location relative to the centerline of the hole will determine where to place your tee shot, which I thought was kind of cool.  It does sound like they moved up the tees to give PG an unfair advantage...

Did you play with a member? He / she would have been able to tell you which famous person lived in those houses!  That monstrosity left of the 4 Blue green is owned by somebody famous (or infamous) to you Brits, I think.

Mark
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Sean_A on August 22, 2008, 08:13:33 PM
Thanks Sean

I can't believe what's happened to the bunkering at SGH it looks like someone upholstered them! 

And the 3rd does slide from right to left.  There's right to left a tier in it, no?

Paul

The 3rd does move a bit right to left, but very little.  Its more of a two tier effect essentially taking out the general movement left.   

Mark

I played with the African Animal.

Comfortably the biggest house I saw out there to the left of #12 (I am not having this nonsense of three nines - the Green is the odd nine so far as I am concerned!).

Ciao
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Bill_McBride on August 22, 2008, 08:25:52 PM
Was the AA hitting those immense tee shots?  One of my favorite golf memories is playing a foursome with him at Muirfield.  We both hit approach shots from places we weren't accustomed to playing from!  ::)
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: JMorgan on August 22, 2008, 08:39:06 PM
Lousy scan of #1 during tree clearing (from Some Essays on GCA):

(http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m49/jtm212/colt004.jpg)
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Jim Nugent on August 23, 2008, 03:12:20 AM
Great review and pictures, Sean.

1.  Why did you play the ladies tees on some holes: were you forced to?  If you'd played further back, would that have made those holes better?   

2.  What are greens fees?

3.  Are the AA's initials PG? 
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Paul Nash on August 23, 2008, 04:55:15 AM
Sean
I played another 36 holes at SGH this April and agree with you that the back 9 is far superior to the front 9 - although 6, 8 and 9 are very nice. The ground on the front 9 is not very sandy at all - it feels more clay like, but the back 9 has a much more heathland/ sandy soil. The clubhouse is very nice with a great vista over the course.

This was the second trip that I had arranged and it is excellent value in the off season, which extends beyond the reduced rates at most other clubs, into the second half of April - we payed £76 for 36 holes, bacon and coffe on arrival and a soup/ sandwich lunch - and unlike some other "posh" clubs in the area, the experience from members and staff at the club has been excellent - and a big plus point is their starter who is a real star. I would definitely go back for another trip at £76, but not at their summer rates, which are nearly double the price. All told a nice course with some great holes but also a few average ones - not quite as good as The Berkshire, Swinley, Worplesdon and, esepcially not Hankley.
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Sean_A on August 23, 2008, 05:52:52 AM
Great review and pictures, Sean.

1.  Why did you play the ladies tees on some holes: were you forced to?  If you'd played further back, would that have made those holes better?   

2.  What are greens fees?

3.  Are the AA's initials PG? 

Jim

We played the yellows and some were moved forward.  Its hard to say if #s 4 & 5 are better from any other tee.  I can say that the tees we played from are probably quite awkward for many high single digit players because one can't comfortably take driver and swing away.  I would guess that we probably played the course at 6000/6100 yards today.  I think the normal yellows are more like 6300, but the differences were mostly obvious on a few holes.  As I said before, #s 4 & 5 were forward making what I think is a big difference and for me I think it would have been easier to step back.  On #7 it may have been a clever move to push the tees forward because the left bunker on the hill (not pictured) is much more in play than from the normal tees.  It becomes a real risk/reward to try and carry that bunker and have a short iron in plus the angle.  If you layup or can't make the carry you must play right and accept the choice of a bad angle in over the bunkers (as shown in the pic, but from further back) or laying out the left on the second.  All in all, I don't think any of these three major tee changes (shortening the course by ~125 yards, maybe more) made the course any easier. 

I think the green fees are £110 for 18 holes and AA is PG.

Hopefully Philip will chip with his thoughts and pix.  I know he has a good eye, more patience waiting for the right light and a superior camera. 

Ciao
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Paul_Turner on August 23, 2008, 07:48:44 AM
Has the pond on 14 been changed, anyone know?  That second bunker on the left for the 5th tee shot has been added recently too,  it looks a bit busier.

I agree the back nine is better, but really only because the 7th is the weakest hole on the course, I reckon the rest are about even in quality and the 1st is the best opener on the heath, a fitting spectacular start.  Incidentally,  the original green for the 1st was up on that knob to the right (by the sign) but was moved in the 1920s (deemed too severe). 

I'd like to know from others who play the 4th regularly on how they approach that hole.

There is a super collection of old photos in the clubhouse. If only someone could do a proper bunker restoration (for 1913 centenary??) so they match the grand scale of the course.

On the positive side, the clearing out of brush from under the pines, looks great, perhaps the heather will regrow?

St George's Hill was one of the very first big construction jobs,  you can see how much had to be cleared from the pics James posted.  When did Crump travel over to the Uk?  If it was 1912 he would have seen this course in that  building stage, H Wilson too.

It looks very green.
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Sean_A on August 23, 2008, 08:06:02 AM
Has the pond on 14 been changed, anyone know?  That second bunker on the left for the 5th tee shot has been added recently too,  it looks a bit busier.

I agree the back nine is better, but really only because the 7th is the weakest hole on the course, I reckon the rest are about even in quality and the 1st is the best opener on the heath, a fitting spectacular start.  Incidentally,  the original green for the 1st was up on that knob to the right (by the sign) but was moved in the 1920s (deemed too severe).  

I'd like to know from others who play the 4th regularly on how they approach that hole.

There is a super collection of old photos in the clubhouse. If only someone could do a proper bunker restoration (for 1913 centenary??) so they match the grand scale of the course.

On the positive side, the clearing out of brush from under the pines, looks great, perhaps the heather will regrow?

St George's Hill was one of the very first big construction jobs,  you can see how much had to be cleared from the pics James posted.  When did Crump travel over to the Uk?  If it was 1912 he would have seen this course in that  building stage, H Wilson too.

It looks very green.

It looked to me like the left bunker on #5 was new and that the shape/position of the right bunker may have been slightly altered.  I know bunker work has taken place recently.  

I don't think #7 is weak at all.  I , just a bit indifferent.  Speaking of #7, I know the bunker about 50 yards short of the green has been worked on as well.  

#1 is a very good starter and perhaps the best hole on the front side, but it is no match for #10 - just a great, great hole.  

I think the par 3s on the front take the cake compared to the back, but that is about all I would give the edge to the front in.  

There is no question that the treed areas have been looked after very well.  Nearly every other heathland course could learn a great lesson here.  This clearing out contributes greatly to the width of the course and thus the enjoyment of playing.  There is loads of heather about, but much of it is not really in play.  The heather really isn't used strategically like on other courses such as New Zealand and Worplesdon.  

The course is very green and slightly soft.  As I said, it feels like a parkland course with heather on it rather than a heathland course.  Mind you, the weather we have had this summer makes it a bit unreasonable to make final judgements as to how the course normally would play.  It has been awfully wet!

Ciao
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: John Kirk on August 23, 2008, 08:57:07 AM
Sean,

For your informtaion, the photo for hole #14 is not presented, because the bracketed image indicator is burdened with an extra 'g', as in [imgg].

I agree that the bunker presentation is inconsistent, especially in the middle of the front nine.

Thanks for a lovely tour.  Nice park.
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Mark Bourgeois on August 23, 2008, 09:31:16 AM
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/100_4186.jpg?t=1219452550)
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Mark Bourgeois on August 23, 2008, 09:47:06 AM
Sean if you don't mind I will chime in with a few more pics.

Looking beyond 8 green to 8 tee:
(http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k204/MSBIII/St%20Georges%20Hill/CIMG0430.jpg)


The 10th is an Alps hole, and an excellent one at that. Looking back up the 10th hole:
(http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k204/MSBIII/St%20Georges%20Hill/CIMG0433.jpg)


A look at 12 from front of the tee:
(http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k204/MSBIII/St%20Georges%20Hill/CIMG0444.jpg)


I played the back tees -- Sean, it's clear you got jobbed!  13 from the back tee:
(http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k204/MSBIII/St%20Georges%20Hill/CIMG0451.jpg)


I will echo Sean's comments re the clubhouse -- that it served as a hospital in WWI says it all!

Mark
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: fred ruttenberg on August 23, 2008, 10:19:46 AM
I am going to London in early September and planning to play SGH.  Is it worthwhile to play the Green nine also?  From earlier posts it seems that it should be avoided.
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Mark Bourgeois on August 23, 2008, 10:52:37 AM
Fred

That's the members' nine. The first two holes are the only justification to play it. Personally, I would rather go around either of the other nines a second time. Mark
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Sean_A on August 23, 2008, 11:02:14 AM
Sean,

For your informtaion, the photo for hole #14 is not presented, because the bracketed image indicator is burdened with an extra 'g', as in [imgg]http://.

I agree that the bunker presentation is inconsistent, especially in the middle of the front nine.

Thanks for a lovely tour.  Nice park.

Delete
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Paul_Turner on August 23, 2008, 12:14:10 PM
Sean

Considering the 4th a bit more....there is quite a lot of room between the apex of the triangle of the bunker and the back of the green, it's about 50 yards, so you should be able to have a crack at that green with a 3wood or driver.  The green is somewhat holding too, how bad is it behind the green, I can't recall.

I think I prefer the 6th to 7th mainly because of the green and it's nice to have flattish hole and break up the pattern of down into a valley drive followed by a steep uphill approach.  I think Colt wanted to have some holes with bump and run, low flighted options, rather than just aerial.

I like the 5th when I was there but I think that cross bunker being in that state has spoiled it somewhat.
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Bill_McBride on August 23, 2008, 01:29:29 PM

3.  Are the AA's initials PG? 

Yes!
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Mark Bourgeois on August 23, 2008, 01:31:53 PM
Paul

There's a bunker back left I think. One thing they could do is clear out the left corridor a bit more.

That would make the hole more about placement of the tee shot.

Part of my affection for the hole is down to the lovely look of the green complex.  The entire complex is crowned; the light always falls so beautifully upon it.

I assume you have the Darwin article from shortly after the course opened, the one with a routing map. What comments on the 4th does it contain?

BTW, don't mean to make this about the 4th. How bout the opening run of 1-5?

The uphill first is such a challenging shot to execute right out of the box. Mishits go nowhere into that hill.

Then the bunkering shot of 2 green is quite a challenge for a second shot.

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th are interesting for the juxtaposition of tee shots called for.

The holes seem rather innocent and yet good luck with them if you hope to get a score going.

Mark
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Sean_A on August 23, 2008, 01:58:15 PM
Sean

Considering the 4th a bit more....there is quite a lot of room between the apex of the triangle of the bunker and the back of the green, it's about 50 yards, so you should be able to have a crack at that green with a 3wood or driver.  The green is somewhat holding too, how bad is it behind the green, I can't recall.

I think I prefer the 6th to 7th mainly because of the green and it's nice to have flattish hole and break up the pattern of down into a valley drive followed by a steep uphill approach.  I think Colt wanted to have some holes with bump and run, low flighted options, rather than just aerial.

I like the 5th when I was there but I think that cross bunker being in that state has spoiled it somewhat.

Paul

I say the carry is ~220 (from the ladies tee and 240ish from the men's) because the apex just short of the green is quite steep and balls aren't likely to get much roll especially from the downhill tee shot.  The green does rise to the middle, but it doesn't fall off the back so badly.  Its one of those holes that a guy hitting a driver 240ish is often gonna wanna have a go.  Laying up is rather a boring play because its a 5 iron/wedge and I don't think there is much advantage to being on any side of the fairway.  All in all, I think the hole is averagish, but my beef is really how the bunkering looks.  The concept seems good, but I don't think it was pull;ed off particularly well here. 

I am not really enamoured with 6 or 7.  You could be right about the introduction of a flat hole to break up the down/up pattern.  Both are decent holes, but as you say, the green for 6 is better and I like the little valley of sin just short of the green.  St Georges Hill is quite well off if 4-7 is the 2nd cousin stretch (and I do think so) because all of these holes has something about them to recommend.  Thinking about it makes me believe even moreso that the back nine is where the course really scores high points for me. 

Ciao

Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Kevin Pallier on August 23, 2008, 08:21:36 PM
Thanks for the pics Sean

I concur with your notion of the B9 being the better of the two.
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Philip Gawith on August 24, 2008, 09:14:10 AM
The beast has surfaced....

Sean and I took pics from broadly similar pics so i am not sure i have improvements to offer, but i will check. Like Sean, I thought the course lived up to the hype. He is right to stress the sense of space the course offers, and the excellent greenkeeping with the trees and the undergrowth kept in good check - neither of us lost a ball despite a few wayward blows, and being able to find your ball certainly increases the pleasure of the round. In this respect, at least, i think the course is in better shape than any of its heathland peers - at least the ones i have seen in the recent past. I would think it probably also has more elevation change than any of the other heathland courses i can think of - possibly Sunningdale Old compares, but not as much i don't think.

I agree with Sean re SGH tending towards parkland with heathland features - I played Walton Heath a few days before and SGH certainly plays a lot less firm and fast than WH. Although the course is relatively open, it does still have a lot of tall trees - and the huge houses on the perimeter - and this combination, as well as the green set-up, do make it feel more parkland.

It was a bit frustrating to be pushed so far forward on certain tees, but then that is ofen the way with British courses - the immediate, eccentric assumption that visitors are always hackers! In the case of the 4th it certainly made it a driveable proposition - i tugged a 3 iron, but was pin high (remember, this hole is downhill). According the strokesaver, the front of the green is 227 from ladies, 248 from the mens and 257 from medal markers. I liked this hole -the shape of the bunkering/green made me think of Africa! When you are close to the green has quite a pronounced dome shape which looks intimidating. Strokesaver says the green is 28 yards long so not as much room for error as might be assumed - but there is also the landing area (narrow) in front of that which makes the shot more makeable.

One of the features of the course is the fact that a number of elevated greens make distance judgement difficult and hence it is not easy to get close to the hole - examples would include 1, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13....

I did not have as strong a view as Sean about the second nine being the stronger. Put differently, I thought the first nine had a strong and varied first four holes - and i don't think there are any weak ones after that. The most straightforward was probably the (stroke one) 6th, but as Sean's photos show, that also has interest in the form pof a handsome bunker and the "valley of sin" ahead of the green.

I don't think the bunkering is as interesting as on some other heathland courses, but there were certainly a few holes with handsome bunkering complexes - such as five, eight (even in its modern diluted form, still an exceptional looking hole) and thirteen.

 
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Paul_Turner on August 24, 2008, 10:48:29 AM
The lay up at the 4th looks to be much more interesting if the pin is tucked to one side:  the triangle of bunkers comes into effect and even the single one on the left, for this pin position.  There pics are from about 7 years ago and I think by Jeroen Pit who doesn't post anymore :'(

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/paulturner/St%20Georges%20Hill/117-SGH-hole4.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/paulturner/St%20Georges%20Hill/118-SGH-greenhole4.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/paulturner/St%20Georges%20Hill/119-SGH-leftsidebunkersonhole4.jpg)
nice roll in the green
Title: Re: St Georges Hill
Post by: Mark_Fine on August 24, 2008, 03:32:21 PM
Forrest and I profiled "That Damend Bunker" as the many of the members like to call it, as one of our 20 famous hazards.  This is the bunker on the #8 hole.  We talk a little about its evolutin and included some old photos of the bunker/greensite.  It was once quite dramatic.  A sketch is also included showing its current size and configuration.  Sorry I can't post them on the Internet (don't have permission) or I would. 
Title: Re: St Georges Hill:
Post by: Sean_A on August 26, 2008, 04:07:47 AM
The beast has surfaced....

Sean and I took pics from broadly similar pics so i am not sure i have improvements to offer, but i will check. Like Sean, I thought the course lived up to the hype. He is right to stress the sense of space the course offers, and the excellent greenkeeping with the trees and the undergrowth kept in good check - neither of us lost a ball despite a few wayward blows, and being able to find your ball certainly increases the pleasure of the round. In this respect, at least, i think the course is in better shape than any of its heathland peers - at least the ones i have seen in the recent past. I would think it probably also has more elevation change than any of the other heathland courses i can think of - possibly Sunningdale Old compares, but not as much i don't think.

I agree with Sean re SGH tending towards parkland with heathland features - I played Walton Heath a few days before and SGH certainly plays a lot less firm and fast than WH. Although the course is relatively open, it does still have a lot of tall trees - and the huge houses on the perimeter - and this combination, as well as the green set-up, do make it feel more parkland.

It was a bit frustrating to be pushed so far forward on certain tees, but then that is ofen the way with British courses - the immediate, eccentric assumption that visitors are always hackers! In the case of the 4th it certainly made it a driveable proposition - i tugged a 3 iron, but was pin high (remember, this hole is downhill). According the strokesaver, the front of the green is 227 from ladies, 248 from the mens and 257 from medal markers. I liked this hole -the shape of the bunkering/green made me think of Africa! When you are close to the green has quite a pronounced dome shape which looks intimidating. Strokesaver says the green is 28 yards long so not as much room for error as might be assumed - but there is also the landing area (narrow) in front of that which makes the shot more makeable.

One of the features of the course is the fact that a number of elevated greens make distance judgement difficult and hence it is not easy to get close to the hole - examples would include 1, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13....

I did not have as strong a view as Sean about the second nine being the stronger. Put differently, I thought the first nine had a strong and varied first four holes - and i don't think there are any weak ones after that. The most straightforward was probably the (stroke one) 6th, but as Sean's photos show, that also has interest in the form pof a handsome bunker and the "valley of sin" ahead of the green.

I don't think the bunkering is as interesting as on some other heathland courses, but there were certainly a few holes with handsome bunkering complexes - such as five, eight (even in its modern diluted form, still an exceptional looking hole) and thirteen.

 

Philip

I didn't mean to imply that the front nine is anyway lacking, only that the back nine is exceptional. 

I would also agree that determining the distance to the flag is difficult on many holes.  It seems to me that this concept of obscuring the view by uphill approaches or tucking greens behind mounds etc is not very well thought of these days - at least I don't see many newish courses employing this sort of design method.  However, it could merely be a function of the land being somewhat hilly and a reluctance to alter the terrain too much. 

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Philip Spogard on August 26, 2008, 08:39:54 AM
Thank you for the great photos.

I played SGH in mid-July and was actually a bit disappointed with the bunkering and the (lack of) heather. I played it with a Client whom we are designing a 'heathland-inspired' golf course for in Turkey and he absolutely loved it. I think it is due to the fact that it is very accessible and relatively easy to play the first time around whereas most of the other heathland courses are more quirky and punishing until you know the layout.

I did like the variety in holes and green and will recommend it to anyone. Greenfees are £110 and £140 for all 27 holes.

The clubhouse alone is worth a visit.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Mike_Cirba on August 26, 2008, 09:52:50 AM
Sean,

This is a tremendous photo essay.   What a wonderful looking golf course.

Thank you.   
Title: Re: St Georges Hill:
Post by: Bill_McBride on August 26, 2008, 12:29:47 PM
The beast has surfaced....

Sean and I took pics from broadly similar pics so i am not sure i have improvements to offer, but i will check. Like Sean, I thought the course lived up to the hype. He is right to stress the sense of space the course offers, and the excellent greenkeeping with the trees and the undergrowth kept in good check - neither of us lost a ball despite a few wayward blows, and being able to find your ball certainly increases the pleasure of the round. In this respect, at least, i think the course is in better shape than any of its heathland peers - at least the ones i have seen in the recent past. I would think it probably also has more elevation change than any of the other heathland courses i can think of - possibly Sunningdale Old compares, but not as much i don't think.

I agree with Sean re SGH tending towards parkland with heathland features - I played Walton Heath a few days before and SGH certainly plays a lot less firm and fast than WH. Although the course is relatively open, it does still have a lot of tall trees - and the huge houses on the perimeter - and this combination, as well as the green set-up, do make it feel more parkland.

It was a bit frustrating to be pushed so far forward on certain tees, but then that is ofen the way with British courses - the immediate, eccentric assumption that visitors are always hackers! In the case of the 4th it certainly made it a driveable proposition - i tugged a 3 iron, but was pin high (remember, this hole is downhill). According the strokesaver, the front of the green is 227 from ladies, 248 from the mens and 257 from medal markers. I liked this hole -the shape of the bunkering/green made me think of Africa! When you are close to the green has quite a pronounced dome shape which looks intimidating. Strokesaver says the green is 28 yards long so not as much room for error as might be assumed - but there is also the landing area (narrow) in front of that which makes the shot more makeable.

One of the features of the course is the fact that a number of elevated greens make distance judgement difficult and hence it is not easy to get close to the hole - examples would include 1, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13....

I did not have as strong a view as Sean about the second nine being the stronger. Put differently, I thought the first nine had a strong and varied first four holes - and i don't think there are any weak ones after that. The most straightforward was probably the (stroke one) 6th, but as Sean's photos show, that also has interest in the form pof a handsome bunker and the "valley of sin" ahead of the green.

I don't think the bunkering is as interesting as on some other heathland courses, but there were certainly a few holes with handsome bunkering complexes - such as five, eight (even in its modern diluted form, still an exceptional looking hole) and thirteen.

 

Philip

I didn't mean to imply that the front nine is anyway lacking, only that the back nine is exceptional. 

I would also agree that determining the distance to the flag is difficult on many holes.  It seems to me that this concept of obscuring the view by uphill approaches or tucking greens behind mounds etc is not very well thought of these days - at least I don't see many newish courses employing this sort of design method.  However, it could merely be a function of the land being somewhat hilly and a reluctance to alter the terrain too much. 

Ciao

What difference does it make if the architect (or nature) obscures the distance to the target by concealing the ground in between with mounds, bunkering, rough ground etc, if a large majority of golfers think there's nothing wrong with using a Sky Caddie or other range finder?

Just wondering, not trying to stir up the usual brouhaha.........
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Mark_Rowlinson on August 26, 2008, 01:32:16 PM
Another excellent photo essay, Sean, and I am largely in agreement with most of the comments made, particularly about the bunkering. I know the course is Colt, but for some reason (maybe the par 3s) it reminds me more of the Berkshire Red than, say, Sunningdale (Old and New) or Swinley. I last played there in October 1999 and it was in fabulous condition.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on August 27, 2008, 05:22:13 AM
Another excellent photo essay, Sean, and I am largely in agreement with most of the comments made, particularly about the bunkering. I know the course is Colt, but for some reason (maybe the par 3s) it reminds me more of the Berkshire Red than, say, Sunningdale (Old and New) or Swinley. I last played there in October 1999 and it was in fabulous condition.

Mark

That is quite an interesting post.  I would agree that the par 3s are unusually lacking for a Colt course the stature of St Georges Hill.  Are there any other aspects which remind you of Berkshire Red or Fowler/Simpson?

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Mark_Rowlinson on August 27, 2008, 08:56:11 AM
Sean, I think you could slip photos of the short 11th, the 13th and perhaps the 17th amongst photos of Berkshire Red and you could pull the wool over many an eye. It's probably nothing to do with the architecture but a similarity of terrain.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Chip Gaskins on August 27, 2008, 10:02:13 AM
man, i have to think St. Georges Hill is near the top of my list to play.  that place looks stunning.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Paul_Turner on August 27, 2008, 01:18:20 PM
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/100_4203.jpg?t=1219454451)

Looking at old pics of the 17th green,  I'm pretty sure that the green has shrunk substantially through the years.  The green came out to include that bumpy bit in the front and was significantly wider, particularly on the left side.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Thomas MacWood on August 27, 2008, 01:36:39 PM
Wasn't St. Georges Hill part of a housing development? Are the homes that were part of the original development still intact? Is it considered a fashionable place to live?
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Paul_Turner on August 27, 2008, 01:40:12 PM
Tom

Yes it's a fabulous estate.   The Confidential Guide Tom Doak quips that he wouldn't mind living there if he had a million quid to spare.  But it's probably at least double (triple?) that today.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Thomas MacWood on August 27, 2008, 01:48:46 PM
Paul
The developer (Tarrant I think was his name) produced a pretty impressive pamphlet in the early stages. It was focused mostly on the housing development, a lot of architectural plans and sketches of possible homes that could be built. Some impressive architects were involved - their was a definite A&C feel to the entire project. There were also two nice essays by Darwin and Hutchinson discussing the golf course, though unfortunately no plans or photos.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on August 27, 2008, 02:32:46 PM
Tom

Yes it's a fabulous estate.   The Confidential Guide Tom Doak quips that he wouldn't mind living there if he had a million quid to spare.  But it's probably at least double (triple?) that today.

"Higher, higher".

http://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/details/property/203576

I believe this is one of 3 built on the grounds of an old house that was demolished. Tarrant originally spec'd them as each having an acre of ground.  About 2 years ago I was invited to tender to supply interior planting for one of them - bought by "the 12th richest Russian".   Not really my kind of work but I couldnt miss having alook inside - nothing came of it.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Paul_Turner on August 27, 2008, 02:46:12 PM
Tony

Wow $20M! But that one is horrible, I wonder what was demolished.  Is the SGH estate the most expensive of its kind?

John Lennon lived in this one, a bit more like it should be (of course Lennon was an inverted snob about it and mocked it as his "Hansel and Gretel house":

(http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4464/3130/1600/kenwoodphoto.jpg)

Tom

I think I have that plan somewhere.  Another big housing golf plan was Moor Park, but not as posh as SGH.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on August 27, 2008, 03:05:59 PM
Philip and I saw a fairly new house off the 12th fairway that was absolutely enormous.  Philip took a photo of it, maybe he will post the beast.  I don't think £20 million would have got you through the front door.  The problem with many of the new homes is that they are built on a scale and in a style that needs more land.  An acre or two doesn't cut for a mcmansion of these proportions.  There is no question the estate is very successful and well heeled.  The older homes on the estate are much more modest, but I bet you can't get a sniff of even the most modest of the lot one for less than £2 million.  One of the things that kept surprising me were the roads through the course.  Cars just go whizzing by as you are playing, but the roads aren't terribly noticable themselves.  Its a bit creepy really. 

Paul

I think you are right concerning the 17th.  The way the green just ends on the left is very odd.

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Paul_Turner on August 27, 2008, 03:11:46 PM
Yes there should be room to have a pin placement on that left side.  It would be the best position on that green, tucked around that ridge.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: RJ_Daley on August 27, 2008, 03:43:40 PM
There is obviously an influence by a modern day architect that must be the current architect of record as far as on-going course design work, remodelling and rebuilding of bunkers that need it after time. 
Forgive me if I missed it in the above commentary, but can you tell us which architect does the updating or remodelling work in recent times?
Or, is the maintenance meld and styling strictly due to on-staff greenskeeping crew?

There is a decidedly dual style look.  This crisp edging:
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/100_3232.jpg?t=1219503176)


And this upholstered look:
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/100_4153.jpg?t=1219448458)
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/100_4155.jpg?t=1219448284)
Mike Cirba, do you make any distinction of the remodeled upholstry "Puffy" look here from your misgivings of the Merion remodelling styling some years ago?

I for one don't mind the two stylings, as both styles look like the bunkers are in apparent great strategic locations,
and they both have pleasing looks of blending with the heather in addition to overall eye appeal.

Well done Sean. 
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Paul Nash on August 27, 2008, 03:52:09 PM
Philip and I saw a fairly new house off the 12th fairway that was absolutely enormous.  Philip took a photo of it, maybe he will post the beast.  I don't think £20 million would have got you through the front door.  The problem with many of the new homes is that they are built on a scale and in a style that needs more land.  An acre or two doesn't cut for a mcmansion of these proportions.  There is no question the estate is very successful and well heeled.  The older homes on the estate are much more modest, but I bet you can't get a sniff of even the most modest of the lot one for less than £2 million.  One of the things that kept surprising me were the roads through the course.  Cars just go whizzing by as you are playing, but the roads aren't terribly noticable themselves.  Its a bit creepy really. 

Paul

I think you are right concerning the 17th.  The way the green just ends on the left is very odd.

Ciao
[/Sean - the houses going up along 12 and 13 were absolutely enormous - much bigger than that one featured in country life - but did you notice the one on the left of 17 or 18 - I think near the 18th tee - it looks like they have their own manicured paths weaving through a big hilly site - you wouldn't have to leave the grounds to go running! Mind you, there is one really horrible-looking house near the 10th - actually i think it is behind the 27th hole - looks a bit like Liverpool Cathedral crossed with a shopping centre!]
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Tom Birkert on August 27, 2008, 03:58:01 PM
There is obviously an influence by a modern day architect that must be the current architect of record as far as on-going course design work, remodelling and rebuilding of bunkers that need it after time. 
Forgive me if I missed it in the above commentary, but can you tell us which architect does the updating or remodelling work in recent times?
Or, is the maintenance meld and styling strictly due to on-staff greenskeeping crew?

There is a decidedly dual style look.  This crisp edging:
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/100_3232.jpg?t=1219503176)


And this upholstered look:
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/100_4153.jpg?t=1219448458)
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/100_4155.jpg?t=1219448284)
Mike Cirba, do you make any distinction of the remodeled upholstry "Puffy" look here from your misgivings of the Merion remodelling styling some years ago?

I for one don't mind the two stylings, as both styles look like the bunkers are in apparent great strategic locations,
and they both have pleasing looks of blending with the heather in addition to overall eye appeal.

Well done Sean. 

RJ,

I'm not sure if it is deliberate, but the top pic is of the 13th of the New at Sunningdale, not of St George's Hill.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Mark_Rowlinson on August 27, 2008, 04:39:49 PM
I think at St George's Hill houses it is not width which matters so much as length. Perhaps that's why I live in a semi-detached house in the north of England,
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: James Boon on August 27, 2008, 06:17:27 PM
Many thanks Sean, a great set of photos. This is a course I have been meaning to play for some time, and after seeing these photos, it only makes me want to play even more!

The style of the "upholstered" bunkers, reminds me of what I saw of the ladies Open from Sunningdale recently, and some of their remodelled bunkers. Also, some of the recently redone bunkers at Notts look a bit upholstered, so its obviously the way to go with heathland bunkering? I'm not sure about the look myself, but I think when the heather grows in a bit more and if some of the edges are left to rough up a bit, they will look just fine.

Cheers,

James
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Richard Boult on August 31, 2008, 09:22:44 AM
Added to our GCA Photo Tour directory at:

http://delicious.com/golfclubatlas (http://delicious.com/golfclubatlas)
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: wsmorrison on August 31, 2008, 10:41:12 AM
Thanks so much for posting these photos and the accompanying thoughts.  I love the look of this course.  I don't know how the bunkering differs from the original, but I quite like this.  I can't wait to get back to England next year to meet up with PG, SA and others I've been fortunate enough to get together with.  SGHGC, Walton Heath, New Zealand, St. Enodoc and West Sussex are on the short list of new courses to play.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on August 31, 2008, 10:58:08 AM
Thanks so much for posting these photos and the accompanying thoughts.  I love the look of this course.  I don't know how the bunkering differs from the original, but I quite like this.  I can't wait to get back to England next year to meet up with PG, SA and others I've been fortunate enough to get together with.  SGHGC, Walton Heath, New Zealand, St. Enodoc and West Sussex are on the short list of new courses to play.

Wayne

If you are going to make the trip to St Enodoc, and I strongly recommend that you do, please make an effort to join me at Burnham.  I don't think you would disappointed with the effort of Colt & Alison - among many other archies responsible for the course.   

Thinking back on St Georges Hill, other than the bunkering, I think the up and down nature of the routing is perhaps a bit repetitive.  There are several holes which feature similar uphill approaches and the parkland nature of the course makes it difficult to hit grounders to these greens.  This is probably a by product of the clubhouse sitting on hill as the 1st, 9th and 18th are quite similar in their approach shots.

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: wsmorrison on August 31, 2008, 11:01:19 AM
Sean,

Count on it, and thank you for the offer. 
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Ally Mcintosh on April 08, 2013, 03:44:13 PM
I think St Georges Hill is one of the very best. I'd be hard pushed to consider any heathland noticeably better than it.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: BCrosby on April 08, 2013, 04:50:15 PM
Agreed about SGH. One of the best in London 'burbs.

I don't understand why it doesn't get more attention. Especially here at GCA.

Bob
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on February 18, 2014, 08:40:32 PM
Brian

Tough choice between the two and one couldn't fault anybody for their choice. 

If you want rugged, proper heathland golf (yet still refined), WH is the place.  If you want a genteel parkland course pretending to be a heathland course, SGH is the place.  Both are of exceptional quality. I spose WH has the trump card of two 18s while SGH only has 27 holes with one 9 not quite up to par with the other two.  Both courses have their disruptions; WH with the awful M25 road noise and marooned 1st hole and SGH with housing and wee roads cutting through the course.  The houses too are very different. WH is quite common with no views of the course and almost entirely dependent upon the Braid legacy and the events it has held to create an atmosphere.  SGH offers lovely views and nicer surrounds, but it is a bit ostentatious for my tastes. 

I am not sure as a member I could cope with WH's road noise, it is so deafening on a few holes and always at least white noise. Other the hand, I think as a place to play in the winter WH has to be the superior venue because the turf allows for better drainage.  I suspect too, in the summer WH can get humming like SGH can only dream of.  I am not sure either club would entirely suit me, but between the two, all else being equal, I would probably plop for WH.  In reality, I suspect costs and distance from my home would be the real deciding factors because its just about a dead draw between the two.

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Tom Kelly on February 19, 2014, 03:48:49 AM
If SGH improved the green nine, which was talked about but I think has been either cancelled or delayed I think it would probably be in with a shout, but the option of 36 holes, an easier walk and the fact I can see SGH having abit of a 'stuffy' atmosphere at times, I think I'd plump for WH.

Though on a one off round, I think I'd lean towards SGH.........Too hard to choose really, I'd be delighted to join either!
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Tony_Muldoon on February 19, 2014, 07:13:25 AM
Is SGH the least visited of all the great heathland courses?  They seem to keep pretty much to them selves with little evidnce of historical matches to add to their 'value'.


I've palyed the main 18 once, about a decade ago and after the Berkshire it was the thrid Beathland Course I played.  Other than a generally favourable memory I find it hard to comment in detail.   My impression is that I would prefer it to either WH course.


However joining a Club you must think about who you would play with.  I think WH has a much larger membership and so the chance of finding kindred spirtis may be higher.   If one had to choose....well in one's life, one will have worse dilema's thrust upon you....
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Frank Pont on February 20, 2014, 02:43:19 PM
Where does St George's Hill stand in the grand scheme of Heathland courses in London? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

If you had a choice between joining St George's Hill or Walton Heath, which would you choose?

It would be WH for me without a doubt, even though I am a Colt man.

Only weakness might be the fact that WH greens lack any micro undulations (except for green 6) that could have made the course even more interesting.....
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Mark McKeever on February 20, 2014, 04:04:17 PM
Can someone post an old photo of the 8th?

Mark
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on February 20, 2014, 07:06:27 PM
1913, 1960s and 1984 for three framed pix.
(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/ST%20GEORGES%20HILL/SGH8th2_zps278dc408.jpg?t=1392940849) (http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/ST%20GEORGES%20HILL/SGH8th2_zps278dc408.jpg?t=1392940849)  

(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/ST%20GEORGES%20HILL/SGH8th_zpsa91fd920.jpg?t=1392940841) (http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/ST%20GEORGES%20HILL/SGH8th_zpsa91fd920.jpg?t=1392940841)

(http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/ST%20GEORGES%20HILL/SGH8th3_zps10e53cf1.jpg?t=1392940844) (http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff114/seanrobertarble/ST%20GEORGES%20HILL/SGH8th3_zps10e53cf1.jpg?t=1392940844)

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Jon Wiggett on February 21, 2014, 03:29:39 AM
The 1913 version looks pretty spectacular. Good find Sean.

Jon
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Adam Lawrence on February 21, 2014, 04:52:51 AM
Those pics are on the wall of the clubhouse. One day, maybe, the club will be persuaded to put the bunkers back...
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Frank Pont on February 21, 2014, 10:25:42 AM
Those pics are on the wall of the clubhouse. One day, maybe, the club will be persuaded to put the bunkers back...

That might be the most important job you and Tim have at SGH ......
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on February 24, 2014, 04:56:03 AM
I didn't find these pix, They were nicked from P Turner.

Does anybody think if the old bunkering were brought back that it would be very cool to have a lower green where the chipping area is?  When I first saw pix of thise hole I thought it was all green.  Imagine playing to the lower green from the far left tee? 

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: BCrosby on February 24, 2014, 08:37:28 AM
Re: the 8th green.

About a year ago I spoke with the SGH's secretary about the 8th. He seemed interested in restoring it to its former glory. The old pictures of the hole in the club's hallway make it hard to feign ignorance about what has been lost.

My guess is that the original Colt hole will be restored eventually. It would certainly raise the profile of SGH in a very competitive region of England.

But even without a restored 8th, SGH is a course that should not be missed. Colt at his most interesting. (Maybe also at his funkiest. Note that Colt's original 1st green was perched on top of the hill to the right of the current 1st green.)

Bob

 
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Greg T on March 17, 2015, 09:55:31 AM
I had the pleasure of playing St Georges Hill last week.

Previous comments about the inconsistently of the bunkers are right, but the course generally is great fun to play. There is width and very little deep rough so even a crooked one means a punch out rather than a 5 minute search.

The club house is spectacular and the view from the 9th tee is one of the best in English golf. The 10th is unquestionably great, and the 10th, 11th and 12th is a great run of holes on any course.

The talking point for me is however the short 4th... Sean applauds the hole in terms of it asking questions from the tee, but it isn't one of it's favourites. Whilst the bunkering may be "jarring to the eye" it is a fun hole to play and the shots to follow it up. The only thing to point out is that green is a two tier green running running from front to back, like the third... this isn't clear from the tee and can make two putting unlikely. I really liked the hole.

Here is not a very god pic greenside...:

(http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii159/gregflat9/IMG_5470_zps2eml5198.jpg)[/URL]

Here also is another pic of the 8th green from, I think 1960...:

(http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii159/gregflat9/image.jpg2_zpstczlwaqa.jpg)[/URL]

Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Will Lozier on March 17, 2015, 01:23:28 PM
I didn't find these pix, They were nicked from P Turner.

Does anybody think if the old bunkering were brought back that it would be very cool to have a lower green where the chipping area is?  When I first saw pix of thise hole I thought it was all green.  Imagine playing to the lower green from the far left tee? 

Ciao

Sean,

I had a similar thought...that having the green cover both areas would make for some fascinating pin placement and "putts"!

Cheers
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Adam Lawrence on March 17, 2015, 01:24:54 PM
There have been some extensive discussions and investigations to try and work out whether that plateau was ever green. Seemingly not, but I'm almost sure it's constructed.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: John Percival on March 17, 2015, 10:40:32 PM
Sean,
Wow. Your thread brought back memories of perhaps my fondest day in golf...
18 on the Old at Sunningdale, then 18 at SGH.
Took the train from London. Walked. Both 18's and from the station to SGH's CH.
Would have to have IV's, steroids and heart paddles to do that today.
Was blown away by O-S, then again by SGH.
Unlike many, LOVE the homes, as the owners have some of the great views in golf.
And, played the great 19th at SGH. Another wow!
Only one thing could have made it better...Laura teeing it up with me.
A huge pic of 18 at SGH is at my home.
Awesome.

p.s. yes, yes, yes. Should have played the New, but really wanted to experience SGH (Thx, Confidential Guide) and am damn glad I did.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Greg T on March 18, 2015, 08:58:14 AM
I'm going way off topic here but the house, rather... mansion to the left of the 9th fairway was painted in a garish pink... completely out of character with the rest of the homes.

And the two houses that you can see on the right hand side of the 9th on the green nine... I'm not sure there are bigger houses anywhere?!
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Marc Haring on March 19, 2015, 09:35:03 PM
My Father used to live around the corner from SGHGC but in a development built by the local authority  ::). We used to drive around the estate on an afternoon gauping at the houses. You can't get near the place now unless on official business.

It's a great golf course to be sure and one that I was lucky enough to play on a few occasions. The 8th bunker would look amazing if brought back to the Colt's original look but I should imagine the course manager would be opposed. It would take a great deal of wheel barrow work getting the sand back up the face after any sort of torrential rain.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on June 05, 2015, 01:56:06 PM
Every time I go back to St Georges Hill I am more impressed.  Just give me more plays and I may walk thinking its better than Sunningdale!  See the extensively updated tour on page 1.  

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Dan Boerger on June 05, 2015, 02:24:40 PM
I played SGH two weeks ago and it was fantastic. Just a great course, facility, and it was in excellent shape. I was also surprised to see that some of the houses were tear downs ... plenty of new construction going on. Wealth I could not imagine.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Thomas Dai on June 05, 2015, 03:02:10 PM
Very impressive tour. I can see why you're a fan of it Sean. Appears to be some different bunker styles. A hilly walk or not as severe as it appears?

Atb
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Dan Boerger on June 08, 2015, 07:17:49 AM
Yes, a hilly walk but really not too severe.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Jeff Spittel on June 08, 2015, 07:30:49 AM
Heading out there next month straight from Heathrow. Assuming I survive my first experience driving a car in the UK, it should be a wonderful day. Hopefully the heather is in bloom.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 08, 2015, 07:37:43 AM
I played SGH on Friday with the visiting legend that is Tom Dunne (who was coming to the end of a very intensive week of heathland golf). Course in great shape, a beautiful day and tremendous company. Plus I holed some putts. Can't be beaten.

Sean - you may have noticed the construction work going on around the green on the sixth of the Green nine. The approach bunker has been expanded significantly and the green rebuilt at a slightly greater angle to the line of play. The objective is to create a short par four with three distinct options from the tee -- lay back short of the big bunker and have a blind pitch to the green, take on the bunker and leave an easy chip, or have a bash at the green. I think it should be really good.

There are also plans for a new back tee on 17, something I totally support as it will restore the challenge of the big hump in the fairway for long hitters.

Wonderful place. I like it better and better every time I play; and the Blue nine is among the greatest stretches of golf in England.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Dan Boerger on June 09, 2015, 10:29:37 AM



Jeff - I'm guessing you'll have little problem driving there from Heathrow, but if you want to stay for a post-round pint, you might want to limit that activity as you re-engage with left side of the road driving. Enjoy.

Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Brent Hutto on June 09, 2015, 10:45:44 AM
Heading out there next month straight from Heathrow. Assuming I survive my first experience driving a car in the UK, it should be a wonderful day. Hopefully the heather is in bloom.

Get an automatic. Even if you drive a stick-and-clutch at home an automatic will give you one less thing to learn how to do backwards during that first, crucial, sleep-deprived hour on UK roads.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Adam Lawrence on June 09, 2015, 11:00:09 AM
Heading out there next month straight from Heathrow. Assuming I survive my first experience driving a car in the UK, it should be a wonderful day. Hopefully the heather is in bloom.

Get an automatic. Even if you drive a stick-and-clutch at home an automatic will give you one less thing to learn how to do backwards during that first, crucial, sleep-deprived hour on UK roads.

Be aware that autos are not common in the UK, especially in the rental fleet. If you want one you must be sure to reserve it in advance.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Brent Hutto on June 09, 2015, 12:42:11 PM
Heading out there next month straight from Heathrow. Assuming I survive my first experience driving a car in the UK, it should be a wonderful day. Hopefully the heather is in bloom.

Get an automatic. Even if you drive a stick-and-clutch at home an automatic will give you one less thing to learn how to do backwards during that first, crucial, sleep-deprived hour on UK roads.

Be aware that autos are not common in the UK, especially in the rental fleet. If you want one you must be sure to reserve it in advance.

That's true. And even when you do reserve one in advance they'll occasionally try to talk you into a manual when you check in.

Worth persisting in my opinion, though. Even after a couple thousand miles driving "over there" on several trips I'd rather not push my luck by doing anything I don't have to in an unfamiliar way.

For me at Gatwick or Manchester the major car hire companies (Hertz, Sixt) have always been able to provide an automatic as did Arnold Clark(e) in Inverness. So I'm guessing it's possible at Heathrow too.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Wayne Freeman on June 10, 2015, 11:30:43 PM
I played SGH last year on a fantastic trip to England to play all the Golf Mag world's top 100 courses there and feel
  it is an absolute must play for any visit.   I just loved the flow and variety.  Reminded me
  a little of Yale. Along with Swinley Forest I thought it was the best heathland course I played.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Jeff Spittel on June 11, 2015, 08:34:22 AM
Thank you for all the tips on how to brave the UK roads, gents. I will definitely pay up for the automatic and the pints will just have to wait until I get back to the city. Playing SGH on a Thursday and I think I'll try to give Hankley a go on Saturday.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on June 15, 2015, 06:15:25 AM
Thank you for all the tips on how to brave the UK roads, gents. I will definitely pay up for the automatic and the pints will just have to wait until I get back to the city. Playing SGH on a Thursday and I think I'll try to give Hankley a go on Saturday.

Any thoughts Jeff?

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: Width Matters
Post by: Sean_A on November 12, 2017, 05:18:59 AM
All

The Winter Tour is underway; see the updated tour of St Georges Hill.  The club has embarked on a bunker project.  The 1st has seen quite a face lift with some new (and questionable) bunkers...including some work on the green.  I am not sure why the club wouldn't start with the 8th.  I also noticed tree removal which made parts of the Green Course on display.   

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,36130.0.html (http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,36130.0.html)

Previous courses on the Tour:

Huntercombe
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32228.msg633321.html#msg633321 (http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32228.msg633321.html#msg633321)

Worcester
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49998.msg1348691.html#msg1348691 (http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49998.msg1348691.html#msg1348691)

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Adam Lawrence on November 12, 2017, 06:28:11 AM
They didn't start on the first exactly, it's just the most visible bit done so far. The club is working with Tim Lobb, who has rebuilt the bunkers on the third, the ninth and the thirteenth. The first was rebuilt because the green was not performing; it was a 20s green built by Hawtree and Taylor -- Colt's original was right on top of the hill --  and the green was very slightly bowled, which (a) meant it held water more than desired and therefore always had conditioning issues and (b) was out of character with the rest of the course. There was some discussion about whether to put it back on top, but the reason it was moved -- the severity of the climb -- is still true, plus there is now a very large water main up there which would make it basically impossible.


There are a number of issues around the course that need to be addressed. The seventh is odd and awkward, and the sixteenth has been changed entirely by tree planting up the left, designed to protect the houses on that side. It's very clear that Colt designed the hole to favour an approach from the left; but it's equally clear that isn't practical nowadays, so someone has to figure out another plan.


There is a possibility of a new back tee on 17 which would restore the strategy of the hump for everyone except the real bombers -- right now far too many ordinary golfers can just blow it straight past and ignore Colt's brilliant strategy. Tim and I found a spot for a new back tee on 14, right against the boundary fence, that would make it about 235 and return it to the extra-long one shotter that Colt designed, but I'm not sure there is much appetite to put it it. The fourteenth green was softened considerably in the 1920s; the front to back ridge used to be much more severe. Which is pretty hard to believe actually!


I think SGH is in many ways Colt's most interesting course. It gives the lie to any suggestion that he didn't build severe greens -- the tenth (which is also my favourite hole on the course) is still extreme, and a number were softened (by Colt) himself immediately after the course opened. George Duncan, who played in the opening day event, four putted one of the greens on the back nine, which caused a certain amount of stink. The eighth is obviously famous for the scale and drama of its bunkering (which I think will be put back at some point in the next few years) but it is also a pretty substantial piece of construction for 1913 -- you can see where he got the fill to build it in front of the ninth tee. Quite clever -- they excavated muck to create the little valley and used it to build the green, while at the same time giving visibility to the ninth drive (the eighth at Swinley is another hole that represented a substantial piece of construction for its time; next time you play there, look behind the green and you'll see the borrow pit where he got the muck).


The creation of the course is pretty well documented. Bernard Darwin visited the site at least a couple of times during construction and wrote about those visits.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Lynn_Shackelford on November 12, 2017, 07:01:02 PM
Sean's right, the 8th hole is the place to start.  There is a picture in the hallway showing the way it was that ALL members walk by.  It is there to see for all.  Get to it SGH.


New bunkers and new tees can come or not come later.



Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Alex Miller on November 13, 2017, 12:43:53 PM
Playing SGH next week - this has me pumped!
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Matt Dawson on November 14, 2017, 10:23:16 AM
Sean, thanks for updating the tour. Seems like you enjoyed yourself.

I'm a big fan of the recent changes, and although there isn't a before & after photo here for comparison, the 3rd hole for example looks in my opinion much more attractive post-bunker work. The bunkers generally seem "tied" into the surrounding heather more comfortably, and the top-lines are more visible on the tee shot . I think the vast majority of members are very happy with new 1st hole and work done in general. More will be done over the winter.

Re your statement about SGH greens being "bland" though, I respectfully disagree - I've talked before on here about the number of difficult greens with slopes and tiers…and as Adam says "It gives the lie to any suggestion that he (H.S.Colt) didn't build severe greens". So not sure I follow your logic on this point.

Alex - I hope you enjoy yourself. Let us know what you think
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Jeff Spittel on November 15, 2017, 11:42:05 AM
Thanks for the update, Sean. And sorry I never responded a few years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed my day at SGH and I'll be interested to see if the bunker work is more consistent with the original style.


Unrelated to the course, the clubhouse is a fantastic place to relax over a pint.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Sean_A on November 18, 2017, 05:12:16 AM
Matt

My comments re the greens are relative to highly rated US courses....I do think of St Georges Hill as every bit as good as top 100 classic courses in the US.  I don't think there is much doubt that greens in GB&I are generally not as interesting when compared to similar quality courses in the US.  I think St Georges Hill has one of the better heathland sets, but I wouldn't say the greens contours/slopes are a feature....though some of the sites are absolutely sublime. 

Adam

Re 16, the problem is largely solved by not using the back tee.  There is space when crossing the road.  It isn't ideal, but what is the alternative for what is otherwise a very good hole. 

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Niall C on November 19, 2017, 09:31:43 AM
Sean


First off, great tour. With regards to your comment regarding respective merits of top US and top UK greens, is it possible (and this is going to sound like heresy to some) that the UK greens suffer in that they aren't always quick enough to really bring out the contours ?


Niall
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Sean_A on November 23, 2017, 08:45:41 PM
Sean


First off, great tour. With regards to your comment regarding respective merits of top US and top UK greens, is it possible (and this is going to sound like heresy to some) that the UK greens suffer in that they aren't always quick enough to really bring out the contours ?


Niall

Niall

If anything, I would say US greens can be too quick to properly enjoy the contours...hence the general flattening of greens over many decades now.  However, I do take your point that GB&I greens can often be a tad slow.  But, I still think that a large percentage of greens on GB&I courses are not terribly interesting when compared to US greens.  I am not sure why this is the case...its long been a mystery to me.

Ciao
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Conley Hurst on December 07, 2017, 09:36:18 AM
The Oxford University Golf Club had a fixture at St. George's Hill last Saturday which I was lucky enough to be a part of. As has been echoed throughout this thread, it is a truly special club and one of the best inland courses I have seen in England. Regarding the green contours, I found them to be quite impressive. The greens were rolling quick for December, probably in the 9-10 range. The bunker work on 1 and 3 looked fantastic, I thought.  They had also just completed greenside bunker work on 6 and were in the midst of extensive work on 13. Here and there throughout the course, they were working to reintroduce heather around the bunkers. 13, in particular, will be a much more visually striking hole after the work is completed, for better or for worse. As Adam mentioned, there is a new back tee going in on 17 which will add, by the looks of it, at least 20 yards to the hole.


Several of the members I talked to were fully intent on seeing 8 restored to its former glory. They seem to be good and proud stewards of their special course.
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Matt Dawson on December 07, 2017, 09:56:22 AM
The Oxford University Golf Club had a fixture at St. George's Hill last Saturday which I was lucky enough to be a part of. As has been echoed throughout this thread, it is a truly special club and one of the best inland courses I have seen in England. Regarding the green contours, I found them to be quite impressive. The greens were rolling quick for December, probably in the 9-10 range. The bunker work on 1 and 3 looked fantastic, I thought.  They had also just completed greenside bunker work on 6 and were in the midst of extensive work on 13. Here and there throughout the course, they were working to reintroduce heather around the bunkers. 13, in particular, will be a much more visually striking hole after the work is completed, for better or for worse. As Adam mentioned, there is a new back tee going in on 17 which will add, by the looks of it, at least 20 yards to the hole.


Several of the members I talked to were fully intent on seeing 8 restored to its former glory. They seem to be good and proud stewards of their special course.

Thanks Conley. I'm sorry to miss you, I was asked to play for the club but sadly couldn't make it. Glad you had a good day (and enjoyed the green contours!)

The idea is that the new back tee on 17th will be used sparingly, but yes it will make the hole much more challenging, especially with the hump on the right hand side of the fairway
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Adam Lawrence on December 07, 2017, 10:35:26 AM
Glad to hear. I saw a photo of the new tee for 17 yesterday; there are still a couple of trees to come out, but it should restore the challenge of the hump for everyone except real bombers.


Conley, which college are you at?
Title: Re: ST GEORGES HILL: 2017-18 Winter Tour
Post by: Conley Hurst on December 10, 2017, 07:57:36 PM
Adam, I'm at Kellogg College.


Is the club working on any further tree removal alongside the bunker renovations?