Surrey, United Kingdom
I played West Hill Golf Club for the first time in 2005 on my way back to Australia following my freshman year of college at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. My home club in Australia, Kooyonga Golf Club, shares reciprocity with West Hill Golf Club and I was quick to take the opportunity to play there on my first visit. The course is a classical British heathland course, designed in 1910 by Scottish professional Cuthbert Butchart for Mrs. Marguerite Lubbock. When the course was built, female golfers were not permitted to be members of other local Surrey clubs, leading Mrs. Lubbock to build her own.
Though Butchart is not a name at all synonymous with golf course architecture, West Hill is a classic. The course is landlocked and has remained almost untouched since it was first constructed. Technology has definitely taken its toll on the course and I can only assume when a driver was the prominent club of choice from the tee, West Hill would have had some serious teeth. The golfer is still forced into many of the same areas off the tee, but I can imagine the club of choice has changed drastically. Diagonal hazards and forced carries inhibit even the longest hitters from bringing the course to its knees with the driver. The layout is carved from dense pine forest with significant areas of heather and gorse throughout the course. Susceptible to low scores if the ball is played regularly from the fairway, West Hill will quickly throw a bogey or worse at any golfer straying too far from the fairway. Ranking 79th in the UK top 100, West Hill is truly a hidden gem. If you’re ever in the Surrey area vacationing, or in my case visiting family, I would highly recommend making a tee time. The club offers visitor play at approximately $175 per round or $225 for the day. Money well spent!