I was expecting something special on my first ever trip to Sunningdale and it didn't let me down. In fact it delivered in spades.
I have returned twice since and it continues to mesmerize.
What pleases me most is the notable difference between both the Old and New courses; both two of the finest inland golf courses in Great Britain.
On my first visit I expected each course to be very similar in style and design. Indeed they are both truly superb heathland courses but the New course poses an entirely different set of questions to that of the Old.
The New course stands shoulder-to-shoulder to its elder sibling and doesn't disappoint either. You know from the moment you play the opening hole, a par four of 465 yards, you will need to be on your metal.
In short, the New is much the tighter course as well as being the longer. You must fully commit to each and every shot otherwise you will likely find the vibrant heather or deep greenside bunkering.
The trio of holes from the fourth are of the very highest order. The first is a par four and requires a good drive before a demanding approach to a green that slides off to the right. The fifth is a wonderfully sculptured par three across a valley of heather to a wickedly sloping green and the sixth must rank as one of the best holes I've ever played. It's a snaking par five where everything can be seen from the tee as it urges you to bite off a little bit too much. The long and two-tiered green is well protected and is a superb ending to a fabulous golf hole.
The eighth, ninth and 10th holes are of similar ilk. The green setting at hole eight is excellent whilst the drive on the next is a true highlight, as is the view back up the descending fairway from the green. And the 10th is just a brilliant par three with bewitching bunkering throughout but especially on the left.
It ends a run of holes from the fourth which can individually be deemed world class and collectively unsurpassable. The brilliance doesn't end there though.
The 11th is a classic heroic hole with a narrow, mounted green and the 12th is a fine hole too. The 13th is a simple but effective par five and the par three that follows is exceptional and requires the player to shape a draw into the green. Holes 15 and 16 are both very strong par fours that dog-leg to the right, the former being the best. And whilst the final two holes on the New course don't match the Old for difficulty the final shot of the day into the last hole is one that will be remembered for a long time.
The club itself is so unassuming and the level of service from staff within the clubhouse and pro-shop is extremely attentive. As a visitor you very much feel like you are a cherished member of the club, at least for a day anyway!
So, which do I think is the best? It's a bit like asking if you'd prefer to win £100 million or £75 million on the lottery, but I say that the 'New' is the better course.
The New requires a much higher standard of golf to meet its challenge and I think it boasts the superior individual holes. Admittedly the Old course has more character and owns the most beautiful holes on the estate.
The Old has also probably been the most influential course of the two over the years, and allows for a little indulgence, but in my opinion that doesn't make it the best.
Read the review of Sunningdale (Old) here.