Played by NCG: Camberley Heath
Reason for a Camberley Heath review
No tour of Surrey’s courses would be complete without a Camberley Heath review. Just when you think you’ve experienced all of Surrey’s countless special heathland courses, along comes another one. I’ve been wanting to see Camberley Heath for several years but until now was always sidetracked by the likes of Woking, West Hill, Worplesdon, Hankley Common and New Zealand. So I knew it was going to be good – I didn’t fully realise how good.
Where is Camberley Heath Golf Club?
Camberley Heath Golf Club is in Surrey. It’s between Woking and Aldershot on the M3 corridor.
What to expect
I really should have known better – when you hear words like ‘Colt’ and ‘heathland’ and ‘Surrey’ in the same sentence you are in for a treat.
And so it was to prove. Camberley Heath’s calling card is a series of short par 4s that tempt and trick in equal measure.
For all but the most skilful players, you know you should treat them with respect, getting the ball in play off the tee and trusting your wedge play.
But because they are so tantalisingly short, it can be very difficult to resist. And once you’ve missed them in the wrong place then you are in a world of pain. Usually you short-side yourself. And bring the heather-ringed bunkers into play.
As ever, Harry Colt’s bunkering is sublime. These hazards are as charming as they are dangerous as they are well placed.
Tough to say. That may be the 5th, above, a long par 4 that twists its way round a corner and downhill. You are hitting into the point of a ‘V’ so the longer your tee shot the more accurate you will need to be. The reward, though, is getting it way down the hill and making the second short considerably shorter.
My best bit
The 2nd is a a pure Colt short hole, played across heather to a slightly raised and well-defended target. The green has got all sorts of slopes and contours and because you only have a short iron in your hand you can try to take advantage of them. For the skilled player, you are not aiming at the green but at a part of it if you want to set up a realistic putt for a two.
Camberley Heath review: what to look for
You can only admire the conditioning, as well as the sweeping contours on many of the greens. As a short-ish, fast running heathland, the greens are a primary defence and you really can leave yourself some ridiculously slippy putts. From the back of the green towards the front on the par-5 13th would be one that springs immediately to mind. I had a 10-footer here that I had merely to breath on to get it rolling to the hole side.
When I go back
Here’s hoping that the bizarre pond on the 16th, introduced by the club’s then Japanese owners in the 1980s has been filled in. I fail to see how it has any place on a Harry Colt golf course.
I will, however, relish the chance to play the last two holes better. The 17th, especially, is a wonderful hole. There’s out of bounds up the left but the fairway falls away on the right.