Purley Downs Golf Club is a 6308-yard, par 70, SSS 71, downland layout, designed by JH Taylor in 1904. It is superbly situated some 500 feet above sea level with magnificent views over the whole of London.
Straight from the off Purley Downs golf course offers a solid test of golf. The good looking signature first hole (a downhill par 3, 161yds SI 13, whites) demands a tee shot that finds the putting surface or you will have a tricky up and down to save par. The hole has been described in Golf World Magazine's Travel Section (March 2009) as "perhaps the best opening par-3 in golf" and although I have not played the other opening par three holes, Purley Downs 1st is a certainly a stunner.
The 3rd (441yds SI 3) and 6th (468yds SI 1) are long in length, both playing uphill with slight dogleg left’s. The fairway needs to be found or it will be demanding (even for the strongest of player) to reach the green in regulation in winter conditions.
The 8th (199yds SI 11) is a long par three. It is one of my favourite holes with out of bounds on the right. The tee shot is a difficult one as the green sits in a bowl with banks of rough on each side. A stern test to make par.
Another of the strong holes in the 11th (429yds SI4) which is well protected by fairway bunkers and trees to the right hand side impede the view to the green for your approach shots.
The 12th (475yds SI 12) is a par five with a fairway running from left to right with out of bounds on the far right, is a good looking hole with large green that’s tricky.
The 16th (280yds SI 16) a drivable par four for the longer hitters, has a deceptively tricky green which will catch out even the best of putters. I’m told you should never give a putt on the 16th green.
With the clubhouse in sight, the 18th (426yds SI 10) is a superb finishing hole as you drive down into a valley onto the up sloping fairway. The elevated green is a tough target to find as you are most likely playing from a steep uphill lie.
Overall Purley Downs is a great course with its rolling fairways, well placed bunkers and punishing rough. The fine links-type turf with chalk subsoil allows play 52 weeks of the year. They have fantastic condition greens befitting to any professional tour event and by far the best I have come across anywhere in winter. So good in fact I’m now a member!