Freshly rested after a spending the night at Stirrups County House, our group set out to Sunningdale for another day of fun. We had been on quite a trip, exploring some of the best courses of SE England. The previous day’s play had ended on Royal Worlington and New Market: Darwin’s sacred nine. I had longed to see Worlington since I first met my friend Ran. Ran is a well known golf course architecture aficionado who has seen most of the world’s greats. As I was thrashing him at a game of billiards during the first weekend of our acquaintance, I asked Ran which course was likely to be the greatest in the world that he had not yet seen. It took Ran no time to reply: “The Sacred Nine”. Sadly, I had to admit that I didn’t know what he meant. Now 3 years later, I not only understood the reference but had walked that ground and hit those shots. It is a magical place, elegant in its simplicity. I regret that we had arranged our schedule so that it seemed imprudent to try the club drink after our round. The “Pink Jug” sounded quite intriguing, but driving unimpaired to Stirrups seemed the better choice.
I had long understood Sunningdale to be an outstanding facility in all regards and my anticipation grew as we approached. It was beautiful weather, and perhaps a bit warmer than a usual British day. Our plan was to play 36 that day: a round on the New course followed by a round on the Old. Arriving at the club, my attention was immediately drawn to the gigantic and beautiful tree situated just in front of the clubhouse. The tree serves as the club logo, I had seen it many times on TV and in pictures. It was our last day in England as a group and so, for the final time, our group unpacked the car. Each time we unpacked it must have looked like a clown scene from a circus where there is more stuff in the car than seems possible. We headed to the caddie master to check in. After a few swings at the range, we ventured out on the New course. The New course is stunning and beautiful; the fairways run through seas of thick heather. It is a true championship test of the highest order. Be certain to eat a sausage at the halfway house. Word from my caddy is that Darren Clarke is the record holder at 9 sausages. That is an accomplishment I don’t envy.
Here are some highlight photos from Sunningdale New:
|The par 3 5th at Sunningdale New|
|The spectacular downhill par 5 #6 sweeping right|
|View of the 6th green from the back tee|
|The downhill par 3 10th at Sunningdale New|
Lunch on the porch was a delight looking out over both courses and the iconic tree. On your next trip to England on a warm day, I highly recommend that you try a Pimm’s cocktail. Refreshing. Cleansing. Fortified by lunch and a few drinks we headed out on the Old. The Old is a bit gentler, with wider fairways and the opportunity to get a fortuitous lie even after a poor shot.
Some highlight photos of Sunningdale Old:
The final 3 on the Old are an amazing finish to 36 wonderful holes. Check out my post on GCA.com about these 3 closers: http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49117.0.html
I don’t know of a place where there are 36 better holes served by a single clubhouse. For me, both courses at Sunningdale deserve recognition among the World’s best. What a day! Please contact us and we will arrange all the details so that you too can experience a day at Sunningdale.