Swinley Forest in England has been ranked number 38 in Golf Monthly’s top 100 UK & Ireland golf courses 2015/16.

38. Swinley Forest: Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2015/16

Coronation Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 9LE

T: 01344 620197

W: None

GF: Price on application

Architect: Harry Colt

Visitor information: Monday to Friday only, contact club for details

Catering options: Full catering available

2012 Ranking: Down 4

Work undertaken since 2012 ranking: Four new tees

Swinley Fairway

One of the most traditional, private and old-fashioned clubs in the UK – hence the lack of a website – Swinley Forest is home to yet another of Harry Colt’s rich gallery of wonderful designs.

Little appears to have changed here since the course opened for play in 1909, and while its more celebrated neighbours attract visitors in huge numbers and groups, a visit to Swinley Forest and its relatively short but delightful and hugely sporty course will be a much more private, peaceful and intimate affair.

Barely a putt longer than 6,000 yards from the blue tees, there is just the one par 5 and the par of 68 is matched by an SSS of 70.

It’s certainly no pushover, and the highest praise is usually reserved for its excellent handful of short holes, which range in length from just 146 yards at the 8th to a more demanding 205 yards just two holes later.

A pair of driveable par 4s offer chances to tidy up the scorecard, but there are plenty of trees, seas of heather and Colt’s strategically placed bunkers with which to contend.

Perhaps the club is best summed up by two sentences in its own course planner: “Today, 100 years on, Swinley is an anachronism living in its Edwardian past. But it’s an anachronism that works.”

 

+ A genuine time warp, private and happy to be so

Due to its exclusive nature, a game takes some arranging

 

Panellist comments

“I will always accept an invitation to Swinley.”

“The day feels ‘exclusive’ and the wide fairways facilitate good scoring, despite the heather, in a beautiful woodland setting.”

“It’s like stepping back in time to golf’s golden age.”

Next course: 39. Old Head: Top 100 Courses UK & Ireland 2015/16