There are certainly few more glorious natural settings for golf than this stretch of heathland surrounded by woodland of pine, oak and birch, with the vibrant rhododendrons adding a seasonal splash of colour. The heavily wooded landscape has aesthetic and strategic benefits in the sense that it is both easy on the eye and ideal for creating a well-defined layout.
The great architect Harry Colt took full advantage of these many attributes when he created the West Course almost 100 years ago. Fairways turn both ways and there is a wonderful flow and variety to the course, with pleasing elevation changes and demanding test for all golfers across the varied par-3s, par-4s and par-5s.
It is a design that had for decades proudly stood the test of time. However, with recent advances in golf ball and equipment technology it became necessary to carry out a programme of restoration and modernization in order to restore Colt’s original shot values. There was no better man to head-up that sensitive task than long-time Wentworth resident and respected golf course architect Ernie Els, also a seven-time winner on the West Course.
This project involved the construction of 18 new greens including a spectacular new finishing hole, all to USGA specification to ensure the surfaces perform to the absolute highest standards. All greenside and fairway bunkers were reviewed, remodeled and where necessary repositioned more in keeping with today’s shot patterns. Colt’s masterpiece is now every bit the modern classic, a challenge that can be enjoyed by club golfers and legends alike.
Indeed, few courses in the world can boast a tournament history on a par with Wentworth’s West Course. It hosted the 1953 Ryder Cup and then in 1956 the Canada Cup, the forerunner to today’s World Cup of Golf. And through its distinction of hosting two of golf’s most prestigious championships – the World Matchplay between 1964 and 2007, and the PGA Championship since 1984 – both televised to a wide audience, the West Course has a place in the hearts and minds of golfers all over the world.
Please see dedicated section on Championship History
Architect: Harry Colt (modernised between 2005 & 2012 by Ernie Els)
Length: 7281 yards
Course Record: 62, Robert Karlsson (3rd round BMW PGA Championship 2010) AND Thomas Bjorn (1st round BMW PGA Championship 2014).
Key tournaments: HSBC Matchplay, 1964 – 2007: BMW PGA Championship, 1984 – present day: Ryder Cup, 1953: Canada Cup 1956.
Halfway House: By 9th tee