A heathery heaven

Reigate Heath

Reigate Heath Golf Club

Date Reviewed
February 22, 2017
Reviewed by Ed Battye
They say that nice things come in small packages and that is exactly what Reigate Heath is and does.

It’s a dramatically stunning nine-hole golf course located just outside the M25 on excellent golfing terrain which I can only describe as a heathery heaven. Perhaps it is apt that the grade II listed post mill situated adjacent to the clubhouse has been restored and is now used as a chapel!

Despite its par of just 67 and yardage of 5,664 there is a real sense of grandeur about the course, especially during the opening holes, on what is a wonderfully scenic part of the property. The clubhouse is located at the highest point with the course plunging immediately downhill before wending its way round and back up in a clockwise direction.

The routing is akin to another charming nine-hole course, Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire, and whilst the quality is much higher at Reigate both have similarly engaging personalities as they lead us gently round the estate.

There are a number of standout holes at Reigate Heath. The first/10th is a fabulous starter as it bends around a bank of heather before you play up to a proud green worked into the hillside. The third/12th is a par three that has a magnificent green complex with the left-side blurring beautifully into the approach and at the same time tantalisingly falling away. Meanwhile, the fourth/13th has a majestic drive with the hole mysteriously sweeping away from sight in the distance.

After a walk along one of many dusty paths, dissecting the heather like veins, we turn to play the fifth and you are met with another fantastic looking golf hole. An inviting drive greets us before the fairway funnels and climbs between mature woodland and where a hollow - dubbed the Valley of Sin - down the left-side of the two-tiered green lies menacingly for anything pulled that way.

The sixth lacks the punch of the other holes but the seventh and eighth are solid enough and get us back on track before the picture-perfect short ninth is played over another mass of heather and favours a ball feeding in from the left with the quaint clubhouse acting as a backdrop.

Each hole has its own tee box but it’s only really the first and 10th that have any difference in the playing characteristics with the 10th played from high ground by the clubhouse as opposed to at the foot of the hill for the opener. The par is also different at the fourth and 13th - a par five on the front nine at 484-yards compared to a two-shotter on the back side at 447.

Often touted as the best nine-hole course in the UK I’m afraid I must give that accolade to Royal Worlington & Newmarket in Suffolk, which has a far greater complexity, but Reigate Heath is none-the-less exceptionally good, infinitely beautiful and just a lovely place to spend time on a golf course.

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