Within 10 miles of Hyde Park Corner, close but not too close to the A3 heading out towards Guildford and, eventually, Portsmouth, is Coombe Hill. This is a club with a quite phenomenal historical cast list that includes Open champions, prime ministers and monarchs. It also nearly perished after the Second World War. Some say Coombe Hill is a parkland, others a heathland. Either way, there is certainly a heavy clue in the title – there are perhaps more changes in elevation here than at any other course of such standing.
With a site like this, a good architect is essential and Coombe Hill can boast one of the best in JF Abercromby, who only turned to golf course design as a sideline yet put his name to several distinctive and well-regarded courses.
Abercromby, whose design career began with nearby Worplesdon, was wise enough to ensure that Coombe Hill’s uphill holes are either modest-length par 4s or short par 5s.
Given that you begin at the highest point, with views towards central London, it is unsurprising that the opening holes are among the most generous, with short par 4s and back-to-back par 5s to warm you up.
Coombe Hill measures 6,400 yards but those distances are rendered almost irrelevant without knowing the gradients in question. What is more, the slick, sloping greens can change the nature of an otherwise straightforward hole very quickly.
Impeccably presented, the Coombe Hill fairways have been graced by many famous names over the years. While the likes of Sandy Herd, Dick Burton, Henry Cotton and Arthur Havers have all served as the club professional here – the common link is they are all Open champions.
It’s all part of the Coombe Hill experience, which is another jewel in Surrey’s star-studded crown.