Founded in 1895 and designed by Samuel “Mure” Fergusson, New Zealand Golf Club is a top-class course located within the famous Surrey heath belt.New Zealand was laid out on the estate of H.F. Locke-King, who also built Brooklands, the world’s first motor racing circuit, on his property.
Following in the footsteps of nearby Woking Golf Club, New Zealand’s design was innovative, being one of the earliest courses to be routed across dense heathland. Fergusson continued to improve the layout for another thirty years during his long-term secretarial position at New Zealand Golf Club. In 1931, after Fergusson’s death, Tom Simpson (aided by Philip Mackenzie Ross) was commissioned to perform a major redesign of the course, which included significant bunker modifications.
According to Bernard Darwin, "New Zealand is sui generis. It does not compete with other courses, but it sets its own standard and lives up to it. If anyone wants to play a friendly game, uncrowded and unseen, to have a good lunch in pleasant company, and get home early to London, there is no place like New Zealand."
Not a long course by today’s standards, at a little over 6,000 yards, but with a lowly par of 68, it represents a challenge; six of the par fours are more than 400 yards long. Needless to say, accuracy rather than distance is important from the tee.The course plays through avenues of birch trees and there is plenty of heather to catch the wayward ball.New Zealand really is a stylish golf course and it’s a privilege to be able to play a round at this engaging golf club.
Most of the holes are isolated from each other by the trees; it’s an intimate feeling and a great place to play golf with friends.The 9th hole is about as far away from the clubhouse as you can get and it's the first in a cluster of three holes which are located on the other side of Martyrs Lane – so make sure you have everything you need in your bag before you start your round.
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Wonderful! From the moment I drove through the gates I knew this was my kind of golf course, traditional and simple. Do not be fooled by the card saying less then 6000 yards, you need to remain focused to score well but if you are not playing well it does not matter as it will still be a great walk with lovely vistas.
Pass through the discreet gates of New Zealand Golf club and you are welcomed into a golfing oasis of the highest quality, shielded from the 21st century's inexorable urgency . It is an anachronism of the finest kind. A genteel garden of mature pines, beech, oak and heather where time stands still in understated elegance and you lose yourself in sublime golfing tranquillity. The routing of the course takes you on a winding journey through avenues of established heather with forest beyond. Each hole has its own theatre and for the first time player it is quite straight forward to know where you should be playing. It is a test but it never puts you under enormous pressure. Everything about this layout is very subtle. You have to play through gentle swales and over modest heather fringed bunkers to greens that are receptive and perfectly true, unplagued by hollywood contouring, plateaus or tiers. The conditioning of the course is nothing short of fastidious. If you play well here you can score. If you do not, you will bleed profusely from a thousand tiny cuts. The clubhouse and hospitality has a unique quality and charm that is both welcoming and reassuring. I did not want to leave. I could have played some more holes but maybe 36 was enough? This course, which is all about 4’s and 3’s, has gently undulating par 4's that offer a deeply enjoyable variety of challenges including some longish carries over heather. It requires more strategic consideration than brute force from the tee and considered accuracy into the generous greens. The pars 3’s are pretty and a couple of them are nicely long and not for the feint hearted. The only par 5 is easily reachable with 2 good blows and can be a ball eater if you take in the flora. If you have the chance to play here for the day you should clear your diary. It is lovely and immensely special. JCB Lay
Had 36 holes at New Zealand on Friday, and have to say it was very impressive. The greens were fast and true, and the layout is deceptively difficult. When you look at the yardage and the par of 68, you may be lulled into believing that the course is short and easy, but in fact, it is an excellent Surrey heathland challenge to rank alongside all but the very best in the county. The club is old fashioned, quiet and full of charm, and is a very enjoyable and relaxed experience!
The best "unknown" course in Surrey, much better than many of its more publicised neighbours, Straight hitting and every club in the bag is necessary, fast, firm, true greens. A bit old fashioned but our game needs great places like this.
The course was virtually empty except for our two four balls. It was in fantastic condition on Friday though and the bacon roll & lunch were top notch.
This is my 2nd time playing this course and what a great day was had by all - the course was in excellent condition and the food was fabulous - what a brilliant day. Would highly recommend this course to anyone who gets the chance to play.
This is old fashioned golf at it's best, friendly members strolling around with Labradors, lockers with the names of the previous deceased owners on, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They really know how to make a society feel welcome here, bacon butty & coffee to start, a nice chap with Pimms at the ready for us at the 7th & 13th greens, and later we had a terrific lunch then back out for foursomes. I understand from the staff that they have one society that's been coming here for over 100 years. The course is pretty flat so is very walkable, and without significant elevation changes or distance to challenge you, the course relies on it's bunkers and heather and a par of 68 to keep you on your mettle. "Keep it on the fairways", seemed such simple advice - the memorable holes for me were the par 3 16th, and the dog leg 17th - but I must admit to a bit of a McCartney moment (ie. getting totally annoyed by the relentless Heather!), but in spite of that I could appreciate the old school charm and character of the place. A very enjoyable experience, go if you get the chance.
This place is what golf was all about 100 years ago and very little seems to have changed since. It only has 300 members and most of them don't play often!! It was a real treat to be able to play here as we had the whole course to ourselves. We received a very warm welcome all the staff on duty. The coure itself is tough so don't be fooled by its short yardage as its only a par 68. A number of the par 4's are over 400 yards and there appear to be bunkers just about everywhere and endless heather flanks the tight fairways. The greens have subtle breaks and are small so difficult to hit. Its also a very pretty course and deserves its place in the top 100. Play here if you get the chance.
Played the course today and i have to say it was incredible. It just gets better the more i play it. The club oozes class and is wonderfully kept. Compliments to a fine green keeping/artisan scheme there. Secreteriat there are polite and friendly along with bar staff. Wonderfull festive board available to all and members were a very pleasant bunch. I could write all night about the course but others have echoed its praises. All previous reports are true. This is by no means a short playing course however, so unless you iniliate your 3wood 260+ then the driver will get used. A day at New Zealand is a golfing experience!! The Par 3 16th is a wonder.
Despite the many elements which combine to make the course better than its sum parts, it is the bunkering which is New Zealand's standout feature. It has long been my belief that Walton Heath's bunkers are the best in the heathlands. According to Patric Dickinson, "They are curiously, aggressively, artificial looking." While not nearly as austere as Walton's Heath's pits, indeed one could say that New Zealand's are alarmingly charming, yet just as effective as those of Fowler's maiden design.
Because both courses are fairly flat the bunkers take on a more prominent strategic role and may explain why the architects seemed to take great care in creating thoughtful hazards which in the best of traditions guard rather than frame greens. While admiring the strategy and beauty of the bunkering one’s appreciation for New Zealand can increase imperceptibly. There is a fair amount of wonderful architecture that is more often than not dismissed as "flat" and therefore uninteresting. This sort of attitude will lead golfers to miss out on one of the true gems of London.
Much of New Zealand is the product of Mure Fergusson's 1895 design which was unique for its day in that it was carved out of a forest. Fergusson continued to make refinements over the following 30 years as secretary of the club. Not long after his death Tom Simpson was called in to make significant changes. Being a former partner of Herbert Fowler and a member of Woking gave Simpson first-hand knowledge of good design principles. Among the alterations were the addition of the great green complexes for #s 17 & 18, the short 3rd hole and a grand bunkering scheme for the entire course. Consequently it is fair to state that New Zealand is the product of both these gentlemen.
New Zealand offers a score of cracking holes to be admired and perhaps the long one-shot 7th best illustrates caliber of the course. There can be no flatter hole in all of England, and the green too appears to have no movement. This though is a deception, in fact, the green runs right toward what is one of the finest hazards of the heathlands. There is plenty of room to hit a tee shot, but the indecisive golfer who leaks a shot right must answer to the genius of Simpson; a large bunker with a heather mound resting in the middle. Often times, it can be difficult to hit a recovery toward the hole. However, the primary bunker is set some 10 yards or so short of the green on the left. It protects the direct line to a back left hole location and pinches the kick in for more central pin placements. Time and again the golfer will encounter bunkers which sustain interest by creating angles and choices.
The clubhouse has bags of charm and the course is demandingly honest, but the vital statistics will often surprise golfers; par of 68 and a breath under 6000 yards. These numbers may strike many as a bit on the light side, however, don't be deceived. The story of New Zealand is discovered in its playing and with six holes which can take some reaching, only one of which is a three-shotter, and two long par 3s, New Zealand offers plenty of challenge. This sort of configuration is a wonderful example of how to combat flat bellies yet offer respite for the less gifted players. The course isn't blessed with the rolling property, but New Zealand does drain exceedingly well. The flatter landscape offers a pleasantly cunning game and is a comfortable walk. For any interested in seeing how a cleverly conceived bunker scheme can transform a golf course, New Zealand is well worth a visit.
Bernard Darwin encapsulates the qualities of the club and course like no other can; "New Zealand is sui generis. It does not compete with other courses, but it sets its own standard and lives up to it."