arnham Golf Club, just east of the Surrey market town, celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2021 having started life as a nine-holer in 1896. Jack White then assisted in the extension to 18 in 1904, the same year he triumphed in The Open Championship. In this part of the world, good courses can sometimes get a little overlooked such is the sheer depth of quality nearby, and that has perhaps been the case for Farnham. It shouldn’t be, though, for this is a fine and varied layout, partheathland, part-parkland in nature, with a number of good and at times intriguing holes. The club is currently undertaking significant work to restore more of the layout’s heathland character through various woodland clearance and heather regeneration projects.
Give and take
The course opens and closes with par 5s, both of which play uphill on the drive then downhill to the green. Your chances of getting home in two will depend on how far up the hill you can get it! The 2nd is then a tough cookie early on – nearly as long as the opener, but this time only a par 4. It doglegs to the right, with OOB tight left on the approach. Then comes the first of four short holes, with the 181-yard 6th perhaps the prettiest of the quartet. One of the toughest holes of all comes early on the back nine, especially if you venture off the back tees on the long par-5 11th, 60 yards behind the yellows. Position is everything on this dogleg left and getting out of it at any stage could make bogey tough, let alone par.
The risk-reward element
Any good course offers up at least one hole that really makes you weigh up the risks, but Furnham serves up three in the space of just five frontnine holes, starting with the 269-yard doglegright 4th, which is eminently reachable on a direct line. The problem is the direct line is well protected by trees and sand and it’s hard to fathom just how far right you have to hit it (and how high too). On the dogleg-left 7th, those who can move it right to left with ease will be most tempted, but there are vast swathes of heather to avoid left and right. The 8th is then pretty much the same length at 314 yards but much straighter, although trouble awaits in the form of trees, bushes and sand near the green, so ultimate precision is required.
casa de campo teeth of the dog
This stunning course in the Dominican Republic was
designed by legendary architect Pete Dye
Simply the name of the course begs attention. It is derived from the jagged coral which lines the shore immediately adjacent to seven of the holes, and which proved problematic in the creation of this bucket-list course back in 1971. The resort itself covers 7,000 acres and is home to 90 holes of golf, as well as a hotel, a marina, beaches, restaurants and bars and many other sporting and recreational pursuits.
Enhanced even further by a comprehensive upgrade in 2005, this is a quite breathtaking golf course that is so attractive it becomes all too easy to forget about your golf. The front nine runs in a clockwise loop to the east of the clubhouse, with the opening four holes all slightly inland. This means you get tempting glimpses through the palm trees of the golf and ocean waiting beyond. All four are good, but the first real stunner comes
at the par-3 5th – it’s short, but there’s trouble everywhere.
The next is a fine driving hole over the shoreline, and the 7th is a very photogenic par 3 right over the ocean to an extremely well-protected green. The 8th continues along the shore, a tough par 4 to a green fronted by a deep, hidden bunker. There is some relief at the par-5 9th, which works its way back inland to the clubhouse and a chance for refreshment.
The back nine runs anticlockwise, which happily once more means you play the inland holes first. Again they are excellent, but it is holes 15 to 17 that
are the icing on the cake – two tough par 4s either side of yet another spectacular short hole.
Three more Pete Dye designs
- Old Quarry (Curacao)
The Caribbean island of Curacao is off the coast of Venezuela and home to a spectacular and extremely varied course, which runs along the beach before heading up into the craggy hills of the Santa Barbara Plantation. Accompanied by iguanas, this is a thrilling rollercoaster ride with sensational views all the way.
2.PGA West -TPC Stadium course(USA)
This dramatic course is often considered to be on a par with Dye’s much-revered Sawgrass and has staged many high-profile events. It was once considered too tough by some PGA Tour pros, with over 100 signing a petition to have it removed from the schedule!
3.Whistling Straits Straits course(USA)
One of the most theatrical venison the world, this wow-factor Dye design opened in 1998 and has already hosted three US PGA Championships, as well as the 2021 Ryder Cup. Not a venue for the faint-hearted, there is drama on pretty much every shot.