Both courses at Walton Heath Golf Club (Old & New) were designed by Herbert Fowler who was related by marriage to the founder, Sir Henry Cosmo Bonsor. “It was a stroke of genius on the part of Mr Herbert Fowler to see with his prophetic eye a noble golf course on the expanse of Walton Heath”, wrote Bernard Darwin. “It was in August 1902, that Mr Fowler had begun his survey. In April 1904 James Braid moved to Walton from Romford and in May the course was opened with a due flourish of trumpets,” wrote Darwin in the Biography of James Braid. James Braid remained the Walton Heath club professional until 1950.
Surprisingly, Walton Heath Golf Club was not given the royal charter, despite the fact that the Duke of Windsor was club captain in 1935. During his year as captain, he became King Edward VIII.Walton Heath is the only club in history to have a reigning monarch as its captain. His term as captain probably lasted longer than his reign on the throne. King George VI was also an honorary member and Winston Churchill played his golf here as a member from 1910-1965.
This is where links golf meets inland golf. There is no salty whiff of sea air, but the course plays and feels like a seaside links.A profusion of heather stripes the edge of the fairways. In the summer, when the heather is in flower, it is an absolute delight to look at, but a real challenge to play out of. The greens are true and fast and the undulations make it tough to read the lines and the pace of putts.
This is a course that favours the lower handicap golfer. Some of the carries across the heather are quite lengthy and if you don’t hit the fairways, you can often wave goodbye to your ball. There are some really strong holes on the Old course – one of the best of the outward nine is the 5th, a cracking 391-yard par four that demands a solid drive that must avoid the thick, tangly heather shrouding the fairway. A mid-iron approach shot will find the green, amply guarded by bunkers left and right.
The last three holes are especially challenging, especially the 16th, a 510-yard par five, well described by Bernard Darwin in his book The Golf Courses of the British Isles. In 1910, it was the 17th hole and it was played as a par four. “We must begin by hitting a long, straight drive between bunkers on the right and some particularly rete ntive heather on the left, but that is, comparatively speaking, an easy matter. The second shot is the thing – a full shot right home on
Walton Heath played host to the 1981 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe. Team Captains were Dave Marr (US) and John Jacobs (Europe). The US Team comprised of players who held 36 Major Championship titles between them and they were simply too strong for the Europeans. Larry Nelson and Jack Nicklaus won eight points on their own while Nick Faldo could only claim a single point this time round. European debutants included Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Canizares and Manuel Pinero but Seve Ballesteros (1980 Masters winner) was left out of the team for playing too much golf in America. USA 18 ½ - Europe 9 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at The Greenbrier in 1979 and at the PGA National in 1983.
to a flat green that crowns the top of a sloping bank.To the right the face of the hill is excavated in a deep and terrible bunker, and a ball ever so slightly sliced will run into that bunker as sure as fate. To the left there is heather extending almost to the edge of the green, and, in avoiding the right-hand bunker, we may very likely die an even more painful death in the heather.”
Walton Heath has hosted many important competitions, not least the 1981 Ryder Cup.Unfortunately, Europe was thrashed 91/2 - 181/2by America, thanks to the likes of Watson and Nicklaus. For serious golfers, this is a fantastic venue for a golf day.Lunch in the clubhouse is simply stunning, well worth donning the jacket and tie, but probably worth passing on the dessert if you want to swing properly in the afternoon!
Bernard Darwin sums up Walton Heath perfectly: “There is no more charming place on a fine sunshiny day, none where the air is fresher and more cheering, none where the sky seems bigger.It is a place where it is good for us, alike for our game and for ourselves, to play golf.”
If the above course review article is not accurate, let us know by clicking here
Average Reviewers Score:
Played this course many times and have never got bored. Both the New and the Old course have an excellent layout and some extremely challenging holes, for example the 5th and 12th of the New course and the 4th and the 18th on the Old course. If you are ever near the area then this is a fantastic course to play, or even spend the day and play both!
I played both old and new courses in one day recently. I have no doubt whatsoever, that this is the most over rated golf course in the top 100 simply because it is placed so highly in the list. Top 75 -yes -but I am astonished at its current high rating. Yes -the food at half time was excellent - top marks -2 roasts and a beef and ale pie and a vege alternative plus good starters and 3 puddings. A good cheese board. Very friendly accommodating staff in both club house and pro shop. BUT - firstly, I need not repeat the weird configuration of the place -stuck right in the middle of a housing estate. You play the first hole on the old (a somewhat boring par 3 of 200 yards) -and then you have to cross a busy road to play the 2nd - or if you are playing the new course- the first. Both courses are mainly predictable and lat - We preferred the new course but not by a lot. The layout is typical heathland but is it -for example, a better course than Hollinwell - No way ! Alwoodley _no way ? Little Aston -maybe -just. Luffenham Heath - yes -but not by a lot. Does it even belong to be mentioned in the same breath as the dozen great courses on the Lancashire coast - not a chance. Sunningdale - Wentworth- New Zealand- Wisley -Swinley Forest - NO ! Queenwood - forget it. The Kent and Sussex coast courses - get real ! Hunstanton - no -Woodhill Spa......(laughable even to mention it in the same breath) - The list could go on and on. How this place ever got rated so highly is a complete mystery to me.
I feel it just to defend this golf course from your somewhat harsh remarks. To call this the most over-rated golf course inside of the top 100 is possibly a tad suprising. Having spent time in the golfing industry I strongly believe that no matter what the course, whether old, new, private or municipal they all have something to offer each and every golfer. I also understand that each golfer sees every course differently. However, having spent a day playing all 36 holes of this HEATHLAND golf course I find it a little odd that you should regularly compare it to the many links courses that you have listed. I also feel dissapointed that you should suggest it is surrounded by a housing estate as you can only see 4 houses from the entire 36 Holes. Perhaps you forget the many open championship courses that over the years have had its boundarys swathed with houses?! To call the courses predictable is of personal taste, if somewhat surprising. However, to compare the courses to such a contrasting list of golf courses that bare no resemblance to eachother is possibly a tad naive. I wish you well in your golfing odessey.
28 May 2013
Isn't that precisely the point of this site - namely to rank and thereby compare different types of golf courses? If you didn't expect to find that here, then I'm not sure it's the original reviewer who is a tad naive.
04 June 2013
i think the ' reviewer' should stick to reviewing puddings and cheese boards where his knowledge will be greatly appreciated.
06 June 2013
I think this course ranks so highly because it is a strong and varied technical test from the back tees from 1-18. it flows very well. I think even the mebers would admit however that there are prettier golf courses?
02 October 2013
You my friend are absolutely nuts. Walton is top class, definitely merits it ranking. I would guess that you didn't play particularly well at Walton and it beat you up, hence the comments
I played here in February as the cold wind blew out of the east from Siberia over the North sea. When the course is running hard and fast in the summer I am sure it presents a totally different challenge from the back tees but as it was wet we played from the forward tees. for February the course was in excellent shape. There is a great deal of variety on the links and you are asked to play all manner of shots as you journey out and back around the heath, avoiding the ubiquitous heather if you can. It's a great course over gently undulating ground. Each hole perfectly set from tee to green and well worth the visit. The Clubhouse is adorned with historic photos. We had a warm welcome, a generous lunch and will be back for more.
Played Nov 7th on a dry and sunny day.
Reception, Visitors Locker Room, Pro Shop and Lunch were all that they should be. Staff pleasant and attentive.
Hole 1 is a bit of a let down. Holes 2 thru 17 are not!! You cross the road and feel like you are entering the course proper.
Despite some heavy rain during the previous few days, the greens were slick and true - really outstanding. The rest of the course was in excellent condition.
Shame about the M25 noise around the turn, its the only downside to playing an excellent course. However, if given the opportunity I would play the course again in a heartbeat - a real classic.
We played WH Old Course on a cold (10°C) June day with a brutal 6 Bft SW gale and many showers, which made holes 3-8 extremely difficult to play and made the roar from the M25 quite deafening on holes 8 and 9. Due to lots of rain in the days before the course played even longer from the already long white tees.
However, we thoroughly enjoyed it! Despite the wetness the course was in great condition, the greens fast and very true.
The layout of the course itself – wow! Much more interesting than I expected and even in bad weather it is such a beauty. Behind that beauty is a beast though as missing fairways or greens is punished severely. The rough was high, the heather dense and a drive into a fairway bunker always will almost always result in a lost shot. This is no course for double-digit handicappers.
We were very happy with the people in the club – the staff in the bar, the reception and the pro shop where very welcoming and helpful. Playing the final three holes in two under par helped to remember the trip very favorably.
I am not giving the highest marks due the very high Green fee (135GBP), lack of a good practice facility and the M25. Would I go there again? Definitely, but probably later in summer.
Walton Heath is a top notch heathland course and in my opinion, second only to the might of Sunningdale in this part of the country. Granted, the clubhouse is not as traditional as many and yes, the monstrous putting green is a little peculiar. I would be more critical about the first hole had my sweetly-struck hybrid not landed five feet from the flag. So, get to Walton, get the long and dull opening par-3 out of the way, then cross the road and enjoy every moment. There's a string of five superb par-4s, followed by a sequence of varied and interesting challenges through the turn. For me, one of the stand-out holes is 12; a short dogleg right par-4 requiring not power, but precision from tee to green. The final three holes would serve as a perfect setting for a grandstand finish in any matchplay battles. The long downhill par-5 16th is followed by a 200-yard par-3 with a multi-tiered green. The closing hole is a lengthy uphill par-4, with a huge bunker defending the final green. I've only played the course once, but I can certainly recommend a visit in late August / early September as the heather blooms bright and brilliant purple. Superb.
Top quality golf course, can see why the pro's rate it so highly. Played off the white tees, so got the full value of the course. The course is tough right from the start - a 230 yard par 3 and it doesn't get much easier!!. Holes 1 to 8 are tough (with the 3rd a possible exception), they're long and heather lined that really punishes an errant shot. From 9 onwards the course plays a little easier, not quite as tight and with the par 5's on the back nine, which are reachable, a good score can be made. Deserves a 6 ball rating for the course, although if being picky the sound of the M25 and that you have to cross a busy road after the first hole to play the other 17 holes is not ideal. But having said that its truly superb and I really enjoyed it. I prefer Sunningdale as a setting but if judged on 'the course' I can't seperate them (even though they are different). A must play if you are a serious golfer.
Walton Heath is not as photogenic in the vein of other Surrey courses such as the Addington, Woking or West Hill with their more noticeable changes in elevation. That is not to say that Walton Heath is flat or dull. Where the land is crumpled it adds challenge and visual appeal without causing extreme lies and stances. However, the flatter pieces of land, in common with many links courses, make distance judgement more important. The placement of hazards serves to confuse the eye further. The course demands straight and long driving throughout, with the cumulative effect adding to mental tiredness and will inevitably lead to the odd missed fairway and a lost ball if snaffled by the abundant and all too welcoming heather. Not even the 18th gives any respite. Firm summertime fairways offer opportunities to gain distance without extra physical exertion, although flighting high drives into softened autumnal fairways might make for a less stressful experience. The greens are nearly the equal of the billiard table smoothness and speed of Burnham & Berrow. If one were to criticise the course it could be for a lack of variety, with holes 2-6 all par fours running roughly due south. Later, frequent changes in direction do much to diffuse the feeling. The holes are harder to separate in the mind than at some courses but each is worthy of its place in the whole. The rather incongruous par 3 1st , which uses length as its primary defence is a rare exception. The noise from the M25 as mentioned by other reviewers is a minor bugbear, but it is an acceptable trade-off for such easy access. Walton Heath may not create strong affection with the visiting golfer but it is certainly worthy of its ranking, as a course for the discerning golfer to respect and admire, more than fall in love with.
There is no doubting it is an impressive course. There are no weak holes on the course, but many very strong ones. I would say it is an outstanding course, but no outstanding holes. It is a flat piece of land, no hills, but with lots of undulations (I have no idea where the links comparison comes in, it's a bog standard English Heath!). Once you have crossed the road it is just a huge heath with flag poles sticking out of the ground in the distance. We were probably lucky in that the wind was blowing towards the M25 and not across it, so the roar was only deafening on 2 or 3 holes. Also the club house is isolated away from the course (how they police the course I have no idea) and the club house itself is an understated large cabin. I can see why they playbig competitions here because of the space and lack of weak holes, but as an average club golfer ........ it lacks soul and real stand out holes. I would play any of the three W's before this and this is no where near The Berkshire or Sunningdale. It seems harsh cristicism as it is a very fine course and I loved playing it, but then it has a reputation and it's own self belief to judge it against. Still a magnificent golf course, but certainly not worth £125 a round. Tick it off the list and move on. That is what I have done and since it is only 40mins down the road from me it has taken a long while to do this.
Maybe the hardest driving course because if you are missing fairways you are not making pars and likely not breaking 80, high handicappers forget about it. They can stretch out one of the courses to rediculous length. The heather is nasty, stay straight my friends. Lovely club and both courses are very good with undulating terrain, greens are just so so. Both courses are very difficult but what a treat to play here. WHGC is all British class and charm.
Played Walton Heath in a golf day two days after US Open qualifying and expectations were very high, as it had long been on my Must play list.
The Greens were in great condition, but the rest of the course was not as expected. Obviously heathland courses can get away with a more rustic feel, but the fairway conditions were very poor, bunkers not great, lots of weads and nobody in the 50 strong group was overly impressed. The design also felt a little open and uninteresting - have played so many superior Surrey heathland courses. Maybe expectations were too high, but underwhelmed.
However, the greens were excellent and Carvery after exceptional.
I played WH last year and the greens were in poor condition so pleased to hear they were good for your round, also agree the carvery is fantastic! Playing again in August after Senior Tour so will be interested to see how it fares then.
12 July 2011
I played this on a recent hot weekend and really enjoyed the sheer quality of the course - losing a few balls was not much fun but a birdie on the par 3 7th made up for the snooty bar staff. the pro shop was very friendly though.
I recently visited Walton Heath from my local club Frilford Heath in torrential weather when even my Galvin's were struggling. The old course was beautiful even in its winter colours and the lady at the front desk was very helpful and informative. A hugely enjoyable day and definitely worth golfing through the water soaked pain barrier for! I'll be back to play the New course! Thanks!
I played this course very recently on one of the dampest days of the year so far. Even after donning the waterproofs from head to toe and packing my golf bag with towels, I had a tremendously enjoyable round of golf through the heather and beautiful links style bunkers, right the way to putting through puddles on the 18th. The sense of history is also very evident, with former golfers including the likes of Winston Churchill. The 1981 Ryder cup photos are also great fun to look through. However, what really let the club down was the cold reception to visitors from a very obnoxious young professional in the shop to a rather shoddy welcome and level of service from other members of staff. The video cameras in the visitor’s locker room were also far from welcome. I have played many of the top courses including far better ones such as Muirfield, Royal Birkdale and St Andrews, all of which were a joy to visit. I feel that playing a golf course should be about the entire experience and Walton Heath certainly should think about improving its manners so that they match the standard of their wonderful courses.
I would have to disagree with your comment regarding the "manners" of the staff at WH. I travel to the UK on business and try to play WH each time I visit. Every time I have had to pleasure of playing WH I make it a point to stop in the Pro Shop and speak with the Pros. We talk about the course, golf in general and they are always cordial and very receptive to the conversation. Maybe you just caught them on a bad day? We all have them...
17 February 2011
I visited Walton Heath last year with a group of friends. We were made most welcome throughout the club. I was kindly granted courtesy as a PGA Professional and having written to say thank you, an email from the Professional came back to me saying thank you for the effort in writing. Nothing like good old fashioned manners! Respect that it is a traditional club and the respect is often shown back. The place is awesome from the clubhouse to the magnificent heathland layout. One of my favourites.
22 February 2011
Having grown up in the Surrey commuter belt, I have been lucky enough to play Walton Heath on a number of occasions during junior competition (a venue I always looked forward to) and more recently now that I have moved back to the area with my family. I must admit the review above does NOT surprise me. I do not have strong views one way or the other with regard to the staff (the club on the other hand is fabulous); however, a number of my fellow staff and friends have been less than impressed with their welcome to the club, they must just have off days as US Steve mentioned, luck of the draw I guess! With regard to M Brown, firstly, I am very envious of your clear golfing talent! Although, I must say that if my round of golf was comped (instead of paying the usual £150 plus) it would only be appropriate to write a thank you letter! Finally, don't be put off playing both of the courses at this wonderful club. We can all at least agree that the courses, tradition and history of the place are something to behold and a golfing must!
I played Walton Heath fresh off an overnight flight to Heathrow in early April 2010. The weather was sunny and mild, which is fortunate, since the area received constant rain during the weeks leading up to my visit. A wonderful, no-tricks layout which often places a premium on accurate tee shots. Although the heather was cut back severely for winter during my visit, I can imagine this hazard comes into play much more often as the summer progresses. I'm sure I saved several or more strokes by being able to both find and hit my ball out of what is ordinarilly quite punitive. The greens were a bit spongy as a result of the recent spring rains, but overall the putting surfaces were of high quality. The traditional design of Walton Heath required me to hit every club in my bag. The overall layout was more one of consistent high quality, with subtle demands, and just punishment of poor shots, rather than flashy design features. Getting in and out of the small parking lot was also a challenge, but the club staff was very welcoming. Highly recommended for fans of the traditional gentlemanly game.
I played at Walton Heath in a society on 13th April 2010, we had 18 holes on the Old Course in the morning and played 14 holes on the New Course in the afternoon. First impressions of the club as a whole are good, they have a lovely clubhouse which houses much memorabilia from the many events staged at the club, including the 1981 Ryder Cup, and this provides some interesting background to the club and its history. The changing room facilities are excellent as is the pro shop and the practice putting green.
The Old Course starts off with a 200+ yard par 3 (unfortunately we played off the club tees and not the whites) which is a challenging start and quite unique, following this hole you cross a fairly busy road to play the rest of the course and it is unusual to have a course which is so detached from its clubhouse but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just different! The Old Course fairways were generally in very good condition and nearly every hole had heather lining the rough, it was fairly sporadic in places but is amazing how my ball managed to find it every time I strayed off the fairways! Bunkering is good and there are many pot bunkers to navigate around the course, the quality of sand was also good and certainly gave you confidence in striking through the sand before the ball. One thing I did notice on several occassions was the quality of the rough itself was not great, and there were many little hollows and holes which usually prevented you from making any sort of strike on the ball which can be very frustrating - yes you shouldn't be hitting it in the rough in the first place but everyone does and I just thought it was too penal and difficult at times. Greens were overall ok, they were pretty damp in the morning but soon firmed up and were generally pretty true, the first few holes had fairly flat greens but after that we experienced greens with many undulations and some evil pin positions which provided a good challenge.
Walton Heath in general is very flat and I don’t recall many real slopes or hills, as a consequence the wind can whip up and we played many holes into the wind, I don’t know whether wind is a regular feature at Walton Heath but there aren’t many trees lining the fairways to shield you from it but that does present a good challenge for the skilled golfer.
The New Course is significantly shorter than the Old Course with several par 4’s that can be driven, in some cases with a fairway wood, but it provides a different challenge to the Old Course and can lull you into a false sense of security. The heather on each hole is just as severe and difficult to play from and the greens are no less undulating. A previous reviewer mentioned it had a very inland links feel to it and I completely agree, the wind was fairly strong at times and the hardness of the ground certainly promoted the type of knockdown shots you would use at a classic links course, and chip and runs around the green are a must (although it took me half a round to realise this…)
My own comment on Walton Heath, and this is only my opinion, is there are not many ‘standout’ holes. It is a little repetitive at times and after the days golf I really struggled to remember many of the hole layouts. This is by no means a criticism of the place as I thought it was a lovely club with some very nice holes, but having recently played St. George's Hill and Queenwood I was left a little disappointed overall especially with some of the holes seeming very ordinary indeed (the 1st on New Course is a good example). However, to counter my argument above I would very much like to play Walton Heath again in the height of summer when the course (and greens) are truly at their best so I can experience the courses in all their glory.
What a magnificent pair of courses on the beautiful Walton Heath. The Old course is a classic. It looks, feels , and plays exactly like a seaside links and compares favorably to the best of the championship links that hosts the open championship. Like Lytham St. Annes the course starts with a par 3 of over 200 yards that is guarded by bunkers on both sides. After you cross the busy motorway you then proceed to the heath and it's stunning combination of gentle rolling land perfectly suited for golf holes ,and the beautiful yet treacherous heather that guards every fairway and green as well as most of the bunkers. There are so many great holes on the Old that's it's hard to pick any out, but the uphill dogleg right second, and the almost mirror dogleg left fifth immediately come to mind. We played into a 15 -20 miles/hour wind going out, so we got a little bit of a break with a general downwind inward nine but the course always requires precise shot placement. The greens have a great deal of character and contour without ever getting too outrageous. If you love links golf and you want to experience the same type of golf in an inland/heathland setting, then I would play both the Old and New courses. I would be shocked if you were disappointed. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
I have played the Old Course twice in as many weeks and have to say that this is my favourite inland course in the UK. It was in first-class condition - way better than its neighbours Sunningdale, Wentworth, RSG and the Berkshire. The club is steeped in history and it was privilege to play at a club that has hosted so many prestigious events in its history. Quite how the last reviewer thought the holes were all the same, I will never know - anything but!
i have played this course twice, and it is in emaculate condition, and the clubhouse is beautiful, but i felt that even though this course has held the ryder cup, and many famous events, it is not an outstanding course.
i felt that all the holes are too similar, and the round can become a bit boring after 15 holes which you cannot distinguish from one another
on the other hand though i thought that it was a very challenging course, and for that i must credit it.
Played both courses last week. Everyone there treated me as member,they were great. The Old Course is absolutely wonderful. It is as good or better than any of the Scottish courses I have played, and I have played them all. The rolling fairways are bordered with evil heather and gorse that are impossible to escape from. Do not get in the traps because you can't get out of them. This is what a golf course is supposed to look like and play like. WOW!
Greens and fairways were perfect. The green complexes are superb. This is a treasure. Play it if you can.
Awesome course, with a tough start and finish. The greens were fantastic, lighting fast and true. As for the fairway bunkers avoid at all costs as its a guarnteed dropped shot playing out sideways almost everytime. The fairways seem to run forever and play short of the greens to keep it on the dancefloor, almost links like in many places. Lots of history here and a great clubhouse although a little snobby with some old fashioned dresscode rules, don't let that put you off a great course and a great day when combined with the New course.
Just awesome!! Surrey Sandbelt heather lovers unite... This golf course is there to be played, it's all in front of you and it's played off the most amazing turf... As good as Hankley Common, St Georges Hill, Sunningdale and only slightly behind Woodhall. 6 stars for us.
Your quite right, I asked about membership. Politely I was told I had no chance and that the waiting list was very very long.
Played this great course on a baking hot July day. I felt it had all the attributes that you would expect from great courses – natural layout out, strategic bunkering, penal rough and heather, a varied selection of holes and ofcourse firm and true greens. I think the conditions made it even more links like and with the parched fairways I could make most of the holes in two and I’m not a long hitter and didn’t use the driver. Highlights were both of my playing partners getting eagles at the par 5 16th, one whose second shot basically needed another couple of millimetres for an Albatross, whilst the other guy rolled in a 40 footer (just in case you were wondering I only made par!). Great food and professional staff. Outside of the British Open courses I’m not sure if I have been to a club steeped in as much history – I won’t bore you with details – but if you know who have been members, who the club pros and captains have been then you will know what I mean and this is not forgetting the Ryder Cup. Any golf fan might want to check out the US team that year (1981) – virtually a whose who of American greats. One observation I made was that whilst Walton is a great course it made me realise just how good Woodhall Spa is because that is comfortably a better inland course. Still well worth the green fee though, when you think that another famous Ryder Cup venue (Belfry) is about £50 more and nowhere near as good.
As my black cab dropped me off at the clubhouse entrance,a steward emerged to wish me "Good Morning" and was i a members guest or here with a corporate event?
First impressions count so much these days and as with so much else Walton Heath gets this right.
A good breakfast,a helpful pro shop and excellent practice facilities including one of the most charming putting greens you will ever see.
Challenging long par 4S,well guarded pars 3s and Par 5s you cannot attack without perfect placement off the tee.
I enjoyed the whole experience and it was followed up by a stellar lunch.Play this for all that is good about English Heathland golf DB
My favorite inland course. Played the course in May 2004, excellent condition. Holes offered wide variety starts out with a tough par 3. Would like to play again along with the New course which we didn't play.
I'm lucky enough to be a member at one of the great Surry/Berkshire courses, a work collegue plays at Walton and we are forever argueing about where to play! I love Walton Heath - either course - but the old is special...very special. The course is kept in sensational condition throughout the year: Sensational greens, great fairways, tough bunkers - oh and don't forget the heather! Do you best to avoid it! The club house has got wonderful photos from the Ryder cup all over the place, take time to go and savour them. The staff are friendly and the general set up is excetional. Make sure you get to play this course!
A lovely golf course that is pure and simple Heathland. Old course opens up to a poor start with an average 1st hole, cross the road and it soon opens up. A gorgeous course worthy of its high position indeed. As others have said "Not nearly as good as Woodhall Spa".. On a par with Sunningdale Old and Hankley Common, but by no means better... Fantastic all the same.
Exceptional condition – bunkers, greens, fairways etc. ·Didn’t live up to its reputation as a truly great course. The first hole is near the clubhouse, the rest of the course is over the road. Some of the holes felt quite cramped – the New and old courses are all intertwined and there are often several tees and greens all very near each other. There are undoubtedly some great holes, but there are certainly not 18 of them.· I thought it would be up there near Woodhall Spa in terms of test, appeal, design etc – the front 9 at Woodhall is often compared to Walton – although Woodhall is far superior in almost every respect. ·The women on the reception desk who takes the money was very officious, and I saw Major Jobsworth reporting to her the scandal of someone not wearing long socks, or wearing them pushed down – it sounded like the crime of the century and it was one of the hottest days of the year – well over 30 degrees!!This would not make my top 100.
Having played the New course in the morning, the day only got better playing the Old course after an excellent light lunch. The weather was bright but very windy but this did little to detract from how well designed and well maintained a heathland golf course this is and it's certainly tough but play a good shot and it will reward you. If you end up in the heather well there's no way back but a wedge to the fairway but at least it's beautiful when in bloom!! The condition of the course was excellent and the clubhouse and staff very welcoming. A must play course and combined with the New course provides a day to remember.
A lovely golf course but it should come with a government health warning for the high handicapper, largely for one reason, the heather. It's a lovely heathland course in gentle rolling hills. It is open and, at first glance appears to be kind to the wayward tee shot, but beneath ones feet lies the daunting heather that not only makes ball location tricky, but makes recovery shots even harder. If you keep the ball in view the course becomes more straightforward. Despite its apparent openess, the holes are varied in design, yet there are three or four that have a similarity about them. The 16th is a lovely hole and very different to the rest, with a challenging second shot with disaster beckoning to the right of an elevated green. On a windy day it's punishing, on a hot day the ball will travel miles on the rolling fairways, bringing both opportunity and despair in equal portions. This is one of the best heathland courses going and presents a different approach to the usual parkland courses around the area. The clubhouse is traditional and not particularly grand, but the facilities are excellent and the carvery is superb, one of the best I have had, plenty to choose from and wonderfully cooked. A nice straight par 3 as the first hole gives time for the extra portion of jam roly-poly to digest before tackling the tough 2nd. Worth a visit. CJ