The Beaverbrook golf course at Cherkley Court quietly opened its tees for play in late September 2016. Fraught with legal challenges, the reputed £90m ultra-exclusive development has seriously tested its owner/developer Longshot (Cherkley Court) Ltd. Those judicial headaches are now in the rear view mirror and the facility is concentrating on covertly attracting wealthy members to join a golf club that will boast not only a hotel and spa, but also, strangely, a cookery school.
Set on the edge of the North Downs, Cherkley Court is the famous former residence of Canadian-born press baron Lord Beaverbrook and its conversion into a luxury hotel is scheduled to complete in 2017, with a new dedicated golf clubhouse due to open in October 2016. There’s even an underground maintenance building, so there will be no unsightly tractor sheds at Beaverbrook.
There is no shortage of accessible world-class golf on offer in leafy Surrey, and in the ultra-private sector, both Queenwood and The Wisley operate in a similar "no hoi polloi" market to Beaverbrook. In fact, there are more select golf clubs in Surrey than any other location in the UK, so it remains to be seen what will set Beaverbrook apart from the two aforementioned golf clubs. But there’s one other thing Beaverbrook has in common with Queenwood and that’s design.
David McLay Kidd teamed up with eight-time major champion Tom Watson to fashion Beaverbrook. Shortly after bidding an emotional Open farewell at St Andrews in 2015, Watson was interviewed by sports journalist John Whitbread and the Missourian commented as follows: “All too often I play courses that have been artificially formed.
We are extraordinarily lucky to be given such a wonderful canvas, where all the designers have to do is add the detailed brush strokes to finish what will be a natural masterpiece.
Top courses need a natural landscape which provides true variety. Real golf also needs to be a true challenge.
You need to understand the game of golf but at the same time be able to design it as an artist would frame it, so the holes flow naturally from one to another, putting together a variety of length, elevation and shot value.
One of the first problems that had to be solved were the two ancient walkways which cross the site. David did a great job of the routing, fitting the course in four quadrants.”
Unfortunately we can't obtain any feedback from DMK Design as they are under a non-disclosure agreement, such is Beaverbrook's degree of secrecy – even the Beaverbrook website is scant to say the least. However, we do know that no expense has been spared constructing the 7,104-yard parkland-cum-downland course, which is situated next door to Tyrrells Wood Golf Club near Leatherhead.
Fine bent grass USGA greens promise the best playing surfaces in the entire country and while we’re holding our breath for an invite, you may already have been lucky enough to experience Surrey’s latest exclusive golfing creation. If so, we’d love to hear your opinion, but dare you write a review?
Was fortunate to play as a guest of a friend and WOW!! The layout is absolutely superb and each hole offers a different challenge. The 13th hole was a particular highlight, a short and extremely uphill par four with an autumnal forest as a backdrop. The course was in exceptional condition, especially the greens. However, it was slightly raw in places and lacked a bit of character but this is to be expected from a brand new course. Overall, what an experience!!!!