I'm fascinated by Sunningdale Heath/Ladies, because, although I can't prove it yet, it seems to be Colt's first golf design work other than Rye and some early changes to Sunningdale Old.
What you see here appears to be the birth of the great man's career. Still digging.
I must say, the course doesn't feel very Colt-like. I spose the same could be said for Northamptonshire Co, another early Colt course. Do you know if Colt did all 18 or if he added 9 holes to an already exististing 9? SUNNINGDALE HEATH TOUR CONT
Unless one is tall, the 10th is a blind hole and a very tough target at 180 yards. Playing hard against a property line, the 11th is a challenging hole, although one can bail right and hope for an up and down par. It is worth pausing here to note that I used driver on no less than four short holes.
This photo further illustrates the proximity of the neighbouring property.
With driver in hand again, the 12th turns about face and heads back up the incline...yet another bruising short hole. A pleasant walk down a leafy trail takes us within a stone's throw of Sunny Old's 3rd and 4th holes, but lets concentrate on one of Sunningdale Heath's better holes. A sharp legger right, the downhill nature of the hole makes it seem
there is oodles of space left. As on the other par 4s, there can be a tendency to think a score has to be had to make up for the many bogeys to be had on the long par 3s. The 13th is not the time to attack!
The next two short holes take us up to then over the road. I was taken with the 15th.
Normally, I would think a tree such as this should really come down, especially as there is a safety situation up the right, but when a short course is discussed it is much easier to forgive architectural transgressions
. The old Sunningdale Dormy House is in the background for what used to be the 18th hole. The house is now a care home.
The final two holes are quite similar in that they play over valleys to plateau greens. The 18th is particularly noteworthy due to the proximity of the house and another club building.
Other than the difficulty of the course considering the yardage and the general perception of executive courses, there isn't anything noteworthy about Sunningdale Heath. Even though there are several good holes, there isn't a stand out such as the property next door possesses in spades. Yet, somehow, Sunningdale Heath manages to bring a smile to my face. The smile could be for a number of reasons such as a 2ball we played in less 2.5 hours while playing through two groups, the lovely walk, the fine, springy turf, the many boozer's loops on offer or even the unassuming nature of the club. I wouldn't ever dream of telling someone to play this course over the many fine nearby offerings, but if time is tight and the wallet is light, give Sunningdale Heath a go. 2019