Wilmslow has played host to fields of European Tour stars, Open Championship aspirants and amateur golfers of the highest calibre. Nobody has taken the course apart. Yet it is not a daunting prospect for the higher handicap golfer. This is a subtle course which rewards intelligent play. A prime example is the 1st hole, a short par 4 which is occasionally driven by the prodigious. The rest of us need to use our brains. Drive too far to the right and a copse lurks; too far to the left and 3-off-the-tee is the likely outcome; too long and the drive runs out of fairway. There is plenty of fairway beckoning, but only a little of it allows an approach shot to be played down the line of the angled green. It is simple, but strategic, and that is the theme on almost every hole.
One of the toughest drives follows at the 2nd, a sharp left hand dog-leg that tempts the mighty to clear tall trees, flirt with bunkers, or, again, run out of fairway by not thinking clearly. On the 4th, too, the drive is again fundamental, with bunkers to be avoided yet challenged if the best angle into a tricky green is to be found. Both par 5s on the outward nine offer birdie or eagle chances to strong hitters, but they are cleverly bunkered for the high-handicapper. The 8th offers a marvellous opportunity to reward the player able to draw the ball, or brave enough to take on the trees on the direct route, while the diminutive 9th, lying as it does on the far side of a stream, frequently provokes over-clubbing followed by desperate rescue attempts.