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 completed in 2017, with a new dedicated golf clubhouse which opened in 2018. 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. 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 mentions nothing about golf. 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?
A very low key approach has you driving past a couple of holes and reaching a massive car park which is clearly used to park hotel guests as well. The clubhouse is very low key but comfortable and the food and staff are excellent. Wandering out to hit a few balls before playing has you kicking yourself for not leaving more time for the range, it’s simply the best in the U.K. sloping downhill with several proper greens to hit at and shaped fairways. Bugger we only had ten minutes to warm up, should have left thirty minutes.
The course is in great condition with superb greens as expected for somewhere costing an arm and probably a leg to join. It’s a very solid course with no real standout holes, they are all good tests. Rather than a caddie each we took one for one player but ensured he knew it would be a good day for him to give us all the odd tip. Hopefully another invite will come along before too long.
There's something quite special in the making here. It's about the overall experience, in addition to a wonderfully maintained and well laid-out golf course.
From the moment you arrive into the grounds of the club, as you're driving in, you get a feeling that day is going to be special. The service level is second to none in the UK, with all sorts of thoughtful and intuitive touches and a professional, yet genuine, demeanour throughout.
The golf course is thoughtfully designed, with subtle challenges encouraging strategic play for those that really want to score, yet not too painful if you wish to enjoy the round. Greens are as true as they come, and quick. And as icing on the cake, the all-year round grass driving range is one of the best I've been to in the UK, with far-stretching views over the valley, proper green targets, Pro-V1 balls, and a lovely practice area to match. Throughout the grounds and course the views and landscaping are really quite beautiful, and of a natural, minimally disturbed variety.
Of course the course is still young, so it will take some years to develop its persona, but as an experience, it's quite a special establishment....(and as it should be given it's now taken the title, after only a few years, of the most expensive golf club in Europe to join!)
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!!!!