What we say
The Old Course at Walton Heath Golf Club is one of the best golf courses in the world. Golf World Top 100 editor Chris Bertram explains what makes the Surrey heathland so special.
Walton Heath is a distinguished club, with 36 high-calibre holes and a history the equal of most.
It was was founded in 1903 and its first captain was HRH the Prince of Wales, who became King Edward VIII. Winston Churchill was a regular here. Its first professional was James Braid, winner of five Open Championships and one of Britain’s most prolific and admired architects. As we said, a distinguished club.
Walton Heath’s New Course is in our English and UK&I Top 100s but it is the Old that is the clear main attraction here.
It was designed by that heathland master, Herbert Fowler. Fowler was not penal architect in quite the manner of some of that era but he liked the provide a test.
So the Old Course might not have the enchantment of Swinley or Sunningdale Old or Woking, but it is at least their equal as a challenge. It might lack the intimacy and seclusion of those course and The Berkshire’s pair, because it is set down on more open heathland. But to many of us that is a strength.
It is a long way round – more than 7,400 yards off the tips – and there is little to protect you from a breeze. The first third is an awesome challenge, starting with a 200+ yard par 3.
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After that you are facing muscular two-shot holes and quite how Jack Senior covered these in 19 shots en route to an astonishing 62 in the 2010 South of England is anybody’s guess.
The closing six are just as good. Indeed Tom Weiskopf, who played here in the 1981 Ryder Cup, believes them as good as any. It begins with an epic, well-bunkered par 5 at 13 that sweeps to the right and continues with a classy two-shooter before a 5-3-4 finish where the last is the only hole that is not right out of the top drawer.
The Old might be substance over style but is not without appeal away from its challenge. The turf is gloriously firm and springy, the heather a visual if not playing delight and this golfer adores the wider heathland scenes.
It is also unique amongst its heathland colleagues through the presence of wacky pits, humps and hollows, and the vast scale of the greens exemplify the earliest age of golf course architecture as an art.
The pace may drop a touch in the altered middle section, but the exquisiteness of the 4th, 12th and 16th will never be forgotten by anyone who visits Walton Heath.
- TG Rating
- Players Rating
- Address Flat, Walton Heath Golf Club, Deans Lane, Walton On The Hill, TADWORTH
- Tel 01737 812060
- Website http://www.waltonheath.com/
|Green Fees||£145 - £175|
|Course Length||7,462 yards (6,823 metres)|
- Course has: Bar
- Course does not have: Buggy Hire
- Course does not have: Driving Range
- Course does not have: Practice Green
- Course has: Pro Shop
- Course has: Restaurant
- Course has: Trolley Hire
- Course does not have: Dress Code
- Course has: Club Hire
- Course has: Handicap
I played bad, still shot level gross