Today I played Silvermere golf course on a cold crisp February morning. With ice forming a thin crust across the lake reflecting the early morning sun, teeing off into a frost laden fairway, Silvermere looked stunning.
Redhill Rd, Cobham KT11 1EF
Silvermere is located near Cobham in Surrey, very much in the spiritual homeland of the Parkland golf course. The modern Parkland course is Surrey’s golfing gift to the World. While the oldest golf course in England is in South East London (the Royal Blackheath) It was Sunningdale, Burhill and Wentworth golf courses and architects like Harry Colt that pioneered the shape and format of the modern golf course. While Silvermere Golf Course might not share the exclusivity or history of these illustrious golfing destinations, it’s design clearly has taken the county of Surrey’s historic contribution to the sport of golf into account.
Silvermere Golf Course is a superb facility, indeed there are aspects to the golf experience at Silvermere which lift this destination above standard set for public pay-and-play golf courses in the London area. A superb driving range combines with one of the largest and well stocked pro-shops in Britain, complimenting a superb bar and restaurant area overlooking the beautiful Silvermere lake.
Silveremere lake was famously where Barnes-Wallace developed the prototype of the bouncing bomb during the second World War. The idea of a spherical object bouncing of the surface of the water certainly appeals to the golfer lining up a shot on the 17th. The final two finishing holes utilise the lake to terrific effect but I’ll come back to those later.
Silvermere golf course was constructed relatively recently, opened in 1976, designed by former European Tour golfers Neil Coles and Brian Huggett, thhe course has been used as Tour qualification course in the past and it’s easy to see why.
Despite the overall length of the course being a short by modern standards, 6000 yards at Silvermere Golf Course feels longer. It’s a technically challenging place to play that’s generally narrow with mature trees lining the faiways waiting to collect any errant shot.
The main emphasis at Silvermere golf course is being able to find the fairway off the tee. There are many tees where you really need to be able to pick out your shot with your driver as often a ball in the rough give you very little option other than a chip back out into the fairway. The course does open out a little bit from the 7th with the back nine being slightly more forgiving.
As much as I’m a fan of playing golf on a frosty morning I’m really looking forward to playing this course in the summer. I’ve been assured that the picturesque tree lined fairways and shrubbery which have the potential to explode with colour and vibrancy in the spring and summer months.
There are four or five holes that could be regarded as signature holes and are clear indications of why this public golf course was once used as a European Tour qualification course.
The 11th is the sort of Par 5 you’d expect to see on the European Tour. A monster 600 yards with a huge tree at around 260 yards that only the longest and most able big hitters should take on. Being able to pick out a spot with your driver is very much a key skill but there are a lovely mix of par 3 and par 4 holes that require a range of shot selection, a great test of golfing skill.
The greens weren’t great on the day of play but It would be unfair to criticise them harshly, quite of lot of winter work, aireation and drainage combined with frosty conditions made for some interesting reads, however, even after the frost had subsided there was still plenty of pace about them and they were running true enough despite the wintry conditions.
Everyone that has played Silvermere Golf Course will always tell you about the 17th and the 18th. While there really is much more to this course than the final two holes, what a way to finish a course! The 17th is a straightforward par three over water but it’s also a rather tricky green to land on. On the day the pin was located to the right which saw a ball delivered short roll back towards the water.
The 18th has to be laid up in the fairway giving you the angle you need to attack the peninsular green which is bordered by water, think of a mini version of the 17th at Sawgrass. To add to the pressure eagle eyed visitors to the restaurant next to the green sit watching and waiting for you to make a mistake. It’s a lovely high pressure shot that could see you resetting from the drop zone in virtually the same spot for another go. Either way such a well kept and beautiful finish to a round of golf you couldn’t wish for, very much a highlight of a course that has many excellent features.
If you can walk away from Silvermere Golf Course having played anywhere near your handicap you will have had a good round. It’s a tricky course that’s balanced in terms of challenge. This is a course more suited to the well practiced golfer and a high handicapper may get frustrated here. That said, there’s plenty to enjoy for golfers of all abilities.