Rory McIlroy has led the chorus of approval for the redesigned West Course at Wentworth.
Reignwood Group – who own the Surrey club – spent £7m revamping the famous course last year after criticism of the greens and bunker placement following the previous overhaul.
The biggest changes were to the putting surfaces, with all 18 greens re-turfed with a sub-air system installed, while four greens (eighth, 11th, 14th and 16th) were completely redesigned, with the third, fourth, fifth, 12th and 15th greens partially rebuilt.
The focus on returning the West Course to a layout closely resembling Harry Colt’s original design also saw huge alterations to the bunkering, with every bunker on the course reconstructed while 29 traps were removed altogether.
McIlroy, who leads the BMW Championship by three shots at the halfway stage, says the changes are very welcome, with longer hitters no longer punished by the layout.
“I like the golf course. I think they have made some great changes. It’s definitely in the best shape that I’ve ever seen it in before.
“They have taken quite a few of the fairway bunkers out, which is good. It lets guys be more aggressive off the tee if you want to be.
“This course still very much puts a premium on hitting the ball on the fairway, and fairways and greens and good ball-striking – that will always win out around this place.
“But it just gives you options. I think over the past few years here, I always felt the longer hitters were handcuffed and there was a lot of 4-irons off tees and a lot of positional play, where at least guys now can think about using their length as an advantage.
“And then the green complexes are a bit better. They have relayed the greens. The green surfaces are fantastic. They are a lot better than they used to be. Overall I think they have made some really good changes.”
Ryder Cup vice-captain Graeme McDowell agreed with McIlroy, adding: “I think they have had a few goes at it and didn’t quite get it right and I think this time they have.
“This is my first look at the new redo and I’m really liking what I’m seeing from the bunkers to the way the greens are rolling, especially. It’s taken a huge amount of commitment from The European Tour, Wentworth and BMW.
“This golf course was not a favourite among the players and they have managed to really dig in and get it right this time. The bunkers are great and the greens are running spectacularly well.”
Ian Poulter also approves. The Englishman reached the weekend three under for the tournament, nine shots behind McIlroy, but says the course is in superb condition.
“The course sets up well visually. It’s an impressive course. It always was.
“For me, it’s all been a good layout. Obviously the tweaks and changes, I think have been good ones.”