Taken together, the New and Old courses at Sunningdale Golf Club represent the finest 36 holes of golf in the whole of the British Isles. The same architect who made modifications to Sunningdale’s Old course, Harry Colt, designed the New course, which opened for play in 1923 to meet the ever-increasing demand for golf.
This is a superb driving course for it is more open than the Old; the trees do not encroach quite so much.Having said this, the New demands long carries from its elevated tees over heathery terrain to narrow fairways.The club has been following a programme of regeneration that has involved the felling of a number of trees, thereby allowing the heather to return. In addition, this has cleared the way for long lost views to reappear across to Chobham Common in the south.
Many people will come to Sunningdale hell-bent on playing the Old course, but if it’s a real athletic challenge you are after, you will get severely tested on the rugged 6,700-yard par 70 New, a tougher, more rounded test of golf than the Old. For many years, Jack Nicklaus held the course record with a 67, which was a testament to the technical test of the New course. However, in June 2009, in Open Championship Final Qualifying, England’s Graeme Storm smashed the course record with an amazing eight-under 62 thereby securing his place in the 2009 Open at Turnberry.
There are many excellent and memorable holes on the New, perhaps not as many as there are on the Old but certainly the 5th is worthy of mention, a charming par three. The views across the treetops to the common beyond are superb.
Sunningdale is located on Surrey and Berkshire’s famous, magical sand-belt, home to so many other fine golf courses.There is no better natural inland golfing terrain anywhere in the world and Sunningdale is blessed with two of the world’s very best heathland courses.
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I grew up playing Woodhall Spa, and yet am lucky enough to play Sunningdale a lot. I love the Old for its beauty, variety and subtlety, and yet, if forced to choose, might just prefer the New. This is the most complete test of golf inland that I have seen. Holes like 4, with its fearsome second shot, 5, perhaps the best par 3 on the property, 8 and 9 with second shots threatened by disaster on every side, and the marvellously intimidating tee shot at 15 will live long in any memory. Many is the time I have been at or close to par for the first 7, and run up a huge score! If one nitpicks, I am off 8,and this is almost too hard for me. I worry how much enjoyment a midteens handicapper can get here, so hard is it. That said, views, conditioning and design to die for for anyone who loves golf.
Monday the 2nd of June we were off to an early start on the New Course at Sunningdale. It certainly didn’t disappoint. They were busy preparing the course for the upcoming Open Qualifying in a few weeks time. Nonetheless it was in very good shape. The greens were a bit slow due to the sanding but that certainly didn’t put a damper on my enjoyment of the course. Right out at the start the first hole at 400 + yds uphill on the second half requires you to wake up quickly and gives you a taste of some of the challenges that lie ahead. The routing of this course is excellent with one great and varied hole after another. My favorite hole was the par 3 5th with the green and tee both perched high above the surrounding holes. It’s quite a spectacular shot into the wind with a challenging two-leveled green. The following hole a reachable par 5 is another great hole where an elevated tee allows you to see the entire hole and challenges you to bite off as much as you can chew in an attempt to reach this green in two shots.
I believe it’s a course you need to have seen a couple times to be comfortable out there some of the blind holes are very challenging with relatively tight landing areas, especially if you aren’t sure what the correct line is. One such hole is the par 4 9th, the obvious line is as we found out not the correct one and a good shot down the middle will result in running out of fairway and into the heather. The par 3 10th hole requires a long tee shot to a tricky and well guarded green with danger left. The pin position on our day required a faded long iron or rescue club to get anywhere near it. On demand a tough shot to pull off if it’s not your customary ball flight. The back 9 was equally as strong as the front. I found it a tough course. While the conditioning was excellent it plays much more like a parkland course than I had expected.
I was also very surprised to find out that the area mainly consisted of clay turf (green sand) while my understanding had been (incorrectly) that all the heathland courses were laid out on a sandbelt. To be fair the area had experienced a lot of rainfall this year but compared to Walton Heath I’d call Sunningdale based on conditioning a parkland course with heather that plays more like a target golf course than a firm and fast heathland. That’s also being fair and realizing that in the summer after a dry period the clay would harden considerably and firm up the playing conditions.
I love this course more than almost anywhere. It is pure golf, pure beauty and at a club with so much tradition and integrity. Every hole is a cracker, in some of the most beautiful heathland England has to offer. If only it was little longer then it would be on our TVs as much as the West Course at Wentworth. A treat every time I get invited.
Quite a hard review to write, as I'm not sure I can find the words to do Sunningdale justice. Pretty much every tee box you want to stop and take a photo as the course keeps offering up great hole after great hole. There are no weak holes, but the stand out ones for me were the 5th, 6th and 16th. It's tough, but no matter how much it beats you up or how bad you play (and I was pretty bad!) you can't help but play with a massive smile on your face. I hope I get the privilege of playing here again as it was as close to the perfect golfing experience as I've ever had.
Not sure why the last reviewer thought the 1st hole was not that great it is a brilliant ‘Harry Colt’ style long (451 of the whites) opening hole. From here you just enter into a roller coaster ride of brilliant golf holes with a mixture of short, medium and long par 3s,4s and 5s. The short, par 5 6th , from the tee is one of the best views of a golf hole I have probably seen. Typical Colt tight fairways and strategic bunkering protect the course and make it a joy to play. As you would expect it is in excellent condition, not manicured like new course such as the Grove just a perfectly kept heath land course. Compared to other Surrey similar courses I have played (Red and Blue @ the Berkshire, all 3 a Wentworth the 3 Ws etc) it sits at the top. All topped off with a historical Clubhouse it is 10/10 for me.
Don't know really what to say. Just an amazing experience today. Beautiful greens but difficult . Stunning track only let down by a couple of week holes. The first isn't great but to be honest from there on its fantastic hole after fantastic hole. My favourite was the 4th where I actually had to let Sam Torrance through. 5th is a great par 3 and to be honest the course doesn't have any week holes. The staff were friendly and attentive. If your a member here your a very lucky person. I must do the old course one day.
I echo the words of the review below: The Old was the better course, but more is remembered when playing the New. Once out onto the common, the land which the New is built on is far better. The views from the 5th and 6th tee boxes are outstanding. What let's it down is that the 1st/2nd and 17th/18th are not as good as this. It's not that they are bad golf holes, but in comparison to the rest of the quality on offer, they are not as good. The Old on the other hand has 18 top quality golf holes, hence it being the better course. Some of the par 3's on this new course are simply fantastic.
An accurate review.Having played both the old and recently the new the latter is slighlty let down by a few holes but in fantastic condition.However the two members I played with(one a former club champ)actually preferred playing the new.The old for me ,not much in it.
Strangely enough, I remember more holes from the New than from the Old, yet my feeling is that I liked the Old better. Must be that the beers I had in between rounds sharpened both my memory and my judgement. Having said that, if this course is to be considered lesser, then as a 36 hole club you could be worse off. The course is outstanding. The one-shotters are absolutely sublime (the 5th is on par with the 13th at Muirfield) and there isn't a weak hole to be found. £270 for 36 holes isn't exactly cheap, but we thought it was money well spent.
I was lucky enough to play the New course as a members guest last week. The New course is simply a fantastic course. It has all the elements that make up a superb course - thoughtful design, variation, scale, superb conditioning, good quality greens and ambience. It really does have it all. I played terribly - it was a shame that I didn't do the course or my handicap justice - but it was nonetheless a real thrill to walk onto each tee box and discover the next challenge! Lots of really memorable holes, but for me the 5th (probably the most charming par 3 I've ever played), the 6th (a really intimidating par 5 that looks far longer than it is), the 9th and the 10th are real stand-out holes. The thing that really stood out for me with the New course was just the scale of the course - acres and acres of heather (I should know - I spent plenty of time in it) - and yet the attention to detail around the course - greens, bunkering, heather, drainage - was first class. Just really impressive and a must for any serious golfer.
SUNNINGDALE NEW,SWINLEY FOREST, Sooo overated, borderlining pretty forgettable, very dissapointing. my handicapp 8. memorable course Berkshire Red. Wentworth West. & i have to say for the Money Pineridge back 9. Dont take my word for it ,go play & you will understand the difference between a middleweight trying to compete with a Heavyweight.
Even a blind person wouldn't give Sunnigdale New a poor 2-ball rating. This review is simply wrong. No way is the New course poor. It's at the top end of the Surrey sandbelt courses for certain. Pine Ridge is where the Chavs go to play ten-pin bowling. Suspect the reviewer feels more at home there. Saying Pine Ridge is better than Sunningdale is like saying a council house is better architecturally than a stately home. I'm ignoring this review aren't you?
28 April 2010
Definitely ignore this review!! Just bull....
29 April 2010
Hugh - with you. I am pretty sure this reviewer plays with dunlop clubs in a football shirt. Its neither objective or correct. PineRidge has good potential - and as a members course could be nice but the fact is Sunningdale New already is - its simply fab.
29 April 2010
I've played both Sunningdale New and Berkshire Red. Both are fantastic, but the New has the edge. To give a course like this a two ball rating is frankly a joke. I'm guessing you didn't get anywhere near your 8 handicap, and that your review was submitted more in anger at your performance, rather than an objective or even a balanced subjective assessment of a wonderful golf course. As per the other responses here, I urge people to take this review with a handful of salt.
29 April 2010
This is possibly the most banal review that I have ever read on this web site - a site that, for the most part, is frequented by people who know what they are talking about. Perhaps, this is because readers have played enough decent courses to pick the wheat from the chaff. I played at St George's Hill today and that may challenge Sunningdale New visually (better really) but not as a test of of golf. Sunningdale New is supreme in terms of inland golf. As for Pine Ridge, cannot comment - not played it. And Egham Municipal (Wentworth)? Not in the same class at all, dear Boy!
23 January 2013
I've played all the top courses on this website, and of course they are all great, so I thought I'll give Pine Ridge a shot, why not, to be fair it was in very good condition, but the design was not very imaginative, the same drive all round long and the approach shots were all very similar, but it is at the high end of the market which it caters for, but I will say that land like this doesn't come up very often for golf courses so it was a big big waste of an opportunity to build another Sunningdale etc..shame really.
30 August 2014
Pine Ridge is a really really good course, the back 9 is intesresting, the front 9 less so, the land is perfect for golf. Hugh (the 1st responder) is obviously a stuck up snob whose opinion should be considered less worthy than the original reviewer, in fact he should be shot! That said, the original review is wrong, Sunningdale new is the finest inland course in the country, to have 36 holes and a great lunch here is day day never to be forgotten!
I think the New course at Sunningdale is seriously underated. One of Harry Colt's masterpieces. The course is seriously difficlut for the average player due to it's tightness and small often elevated greens. The first and last holes are a little weak, recent changes to the last have made it a little tougher but still quite an easy par 5. the first originally a bogey five can easily play like a par 5 with the driver generally landing on an upslope and then a long shot to a small green. the rest of the course is just magical. Holes 5 and 6 stand out, & hole 7 while quite unassuming is actually the only hole that plays directly downwind with the prevailing wind and before the water sprinklers went in was nearly as fast as a runway and it being under 400yards perhaps the only hole where you do not want a down wind. The course generally suits someone who fades the ball except stroke index no.1 the 11th hole which has a sharp dog leg, left. Harry Colt has designed a course here that is pure timeless. Both courses at Sunningdale show how new equipment does not really help the best players as the key is Touch not Muscle. The Old will always get the applause as it's beautiful but when you think that you are at the top of your game, book a round on the New, ask to play off the backs and get ready to be humbled.
A long standing member of this club very kindly invited myself and partner for 18 holes at this truly remarkable club, the first thing that struck me was how understated the whole place is, It felt like a small club but obviously a massive venue. The staff were kind, courteous and without an ounce of pretence about anything. We played in december so I was not expecting the course to be at it's best but it was in great condition. I know this is supposed to be a review but to be honest just book up and play It because It's what I call a "proper" golf course. I've played the corporate monster known as Wentworth and although the course is good, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was being thoroughly ripped off. I've not played the Old course yet but If It's ranked higher than the new then It must be outstanding
I agree 100% with the sentiment that Sunningdale is such a wonderful place to visit, both on and off the course. The staff I met here didn't have to try to talk up the courses or the clubhouse - the place does that for itself! One of the most unpretentious and welcoming private clubs that I have ever visited, Sunningdale should be on every serious golfer's "played there" CV.
After coming a little disappointed from the Berkshire the previous day, I was expecting a lot from Sunningdale. And it delivered! Big time! And that straight away as I drove through the gate, somehow I already knew at that time that my day would be something to be remembered for a long time. The New is meant to be tougher than the Old (not obvious on my score cards though!!), but it is for sure a "bigger" course, where everything lies in front of you (except the semi blind tee shot on 8th). I agree with Jim that the par 5 6th is a good contender for the best hole on the property. As on the Old, greens were absolutely perfect. Sunningdale really is a great place...By the way, I don't know yet which is my favorite!! So I guess, I'll play both again when I return!! Cédric
I can't wait to play the New course next March, followed by RSG the day after. I'll be heading back for a knock around the Old course in the summer as well.
This is a fantastic golf course, that has one great hole after another. It has a tough opening hole so you need to be on your game straight away. The best stretch of holes is 4th to the 7th, the prettiest being 5 and 6. The course was in great shape, the tee's and fairways better than some courses greens!! Play 36 holes combined with the Old and you will struggle to find a weak hole, its hard to choose between the two, but for me the Old just about has edge, put these two courses together and I would have 10 holes from the Old and 8 from the New, its that close. For such a prestige club we received a wonderful welcome from staff and members including Sam Torrance!! A magical day to be had at Sunningdale.
There is no better place on god's earth than Sunningdale on a warm and sunny day in early October. The new course (built in the 1920's) is a great test of golf with a huge variety of holes requiring plenty of thought with every shot. The par threes (5 of them) are of particular note mostly being reasonably long off the whites, down hill so clearly laid out in front of you and with some magnificent views. This to me is better than any of the Wentworth tracks and if the Old is better than the new then I look forward, with relish, to returning to complete the set.
I tend to agree about the comparison to Wentworth - Sunningdale has the edge for me too. The Old and the New are difficult to split as they are both fantastic...
It is tough to imagine a better days golfing than 36 holes at Sunningdale playing 18 on the New and 18 on the Old. It helped that I played well round here!, but I would have loved it anyway. Must Play.
Played here towards the end of september. Greens weren't as good as had heard about but probably due to the time of year. Lovely set up and the course is extremely good. We played from the white tees and if your driver isn't working then it becomes very greulling. A real tough test of golf, all be it very enjoyable. My favourite was the dogleg par five 6th which is just a stunning hole. I found the front nine more enjoyable than the back nine. A low handicap here is well earned!
Stunningdale New! This course together with the outstanding Old must be the best two courses associated with one club in the British Isles. For me the Old just pips this one. Another 'must play' though.
Probably not quite up there with the Old course at Sunningdale (tough act) but the New stands up on its own and is a real pleasure to play. With the mature trees, the gorse, the heather and the sandy soil – this with the Old makes up arguably the best 36 hole venue in GB&I; difficult to disagree really. There is a run of three holes starting at 4th, that say it all…just a brilliant run, with a par-4, par-3 and a visually stunning par-5…you could play these over and over again, timeless. If you get the chance to play the New course, always say yes.
I played the course when all the greens had just been hollow tined so I cannot say what the holes are really like to putt on - though if they are anything like the Old course which I played in the afternoon then they will be top notch. In places, the New course is at least the equal of the Old next door. The holes just flow one after another with subtle greens constructed to repel all but the most precise approach shot. The run of holes from the 3rd to the 7th were absolutely wonderful – with my favourite on the whole property, the dog legged 6th hole, a fantastic par five. Many of the fairways have been opened out to return the course to what it was eighty years ago and the Hawtree design company are involved in major remodelling work at the 18th so Sunningdale cannot be accused of resting on its laurels. Surprisingly, for such an old, established club, the clubhouse was one of the most informal, relaxed and welcoming that I have come across with staff as attentive as you could ever expect to find. It goes without saying – the ONLY way to do Sunningdale justice is to play all 36 holes then wrestle with your golfing alter ego to determine which is the better of the two – it might be a close run fight between two layouts that don’t have such a thing as a weak hole between them! Jim McCann
The New course is perhaps the most underrated layout in the country and it does not get the accolades it deserves. I’ve played here on many occasions and a word about the club itself… stunning. The New is not that new really dating back to the 1920s but its routing is exemplary and bunker placement both cunning and cruel. This is a driver’s course and if you get it away well off the tee, the chances are you’ll score well. The halfway hut serves as a popular and welcome break as it sits between the two layouts. Don’t hang around for too long otherwise your game will go off the boil and you’ll start dropping shots when that sausage roll kicks in! Numerous doglegs make the new course a challenge and it helps if you can shape the ball in both directions unless you are pinpoint accurate off the tee. Sunningdale is a club to which anyone would be proud to be a member. The best 36-hole experience bar non.
Sunningdale has style and it doesn't really matter whether you play the Old or the New, they are both first class courses. This is certainly a traditional club but somehow it doesn't have quite the same the pretentiousness as some of the other clubs on the Surrey/Berks heath belt. For me, the New is a far more challenging test and from a value perspective it's certainly cheaper to play here but it's definately not pay and play golf! The New is now a tremendous test of golf, it's a real driver's course. I played both courses in September and I certainly prefer the New, it's a more strategic course. Either way, both Old and New are both superb, but for me, the New just has the edge.