Described by Bernard Darwin in May 1913 as "sandy and heathery, long and difficult, costing enormous sums of money and laid out with the most consummate ingenuity," Camberley Heath Golf Club is a Harry Colt gem that’s set in 135 acres of glorious heathland, flanked by towering pines. Camberley Heath is listed in the catalogue of Simpson & Company Golf Architects, but we don't know what work Tom Simpson may have carried out.
Opened by Prince Albert of Schleswig Holstein, Camberley Heath’s Royal connections have continued down the years. For instance, a match was arranged in 1929 between “The Admirals” and “The Generals” to mark the club’s involvement with the Staff College and Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. Both the Prince of Wales – later to become King Edward VIII – and the Duke of York participated in the game.
Measuring 6,426 yards with par set at 71, the course boasts a fine set of par three holes that vary in length from 162 to 235 yards but its main attribute has to be the quartet of delightful short par fours found on holes 4, 6, 15 and 16 (which also contains a water hazard). The terrain is undulating in places – especially over the closing three holes – so first time visitors should not expect a casual heathland stroll but a rather demanding golfing challenge that requires accurate and thoughtful shot-making when playing here.
An on going program of heathland and forestry conservation is in place around the course, and this, along with an irrigation system served by an on-site bore hole, keeps the sandy free-draining fairways in pristine condition all year round. A multi-year bunker renovation programme commenced in 2015 under the architectural stewardship of Frank Pont. Bunker specialist, George Waters, was enlisted, whose previous projects include Pinehurst No.2 and Pasatiempo.
The clubhouse is nice, but of very much in the mould of the new modern era. It is huge and has a first floor where they host wedding receptions. For me, I personally like a golf club to focus solely on golf and their golf course; not to be focussed on external revenue streams such as weddings. The staff at the pro-shop were friendly, but the pro-shop itself was very poorly stocked and not very inviting. The fridge was warm with only options of lukewarm bottled water and slightly melted Kit Kats (other chocolate eating material are obviously available, just not here at Camberley Heath).
Overall, a good course, but with its faults. The land itself has the potential to make an excellent golf course, but investment and perhaps greater attention to detail (especially the greens) could see it become a much better place to play golf. Other comments that Camberley Heath should be rated in the Top 10 courses in Surrey seem very misplaced. To even contemplate this at this stage is very wide of the mark. It has a long way to go before it can touch courses like Hankley Common, the three W’s, New Zealand or Hindhead. For me, the course is where it should be (23rd in Surrey at the time of writing) for all the reasons I have stated above.
Should be rated MUCH higher. I've played alot of courses in the region such as Hankley Common, North Hants and Worplesden and this is up there with them. Ok, so its on a much smaller plot than Hankley but the quality of the fairways and greens is unquestionably excellent. There are a couple of holes that you can imagine haven't changed much over the years - 4 and 6 are short but well bunkered par 4's and 8 is a very tricky 200+ par 3. All in all, a real surprise - I echo the comments that this course would be ranked far higher in almost any other county in the country.
Having been a member of Camberley Heath G.C. for some 30 years plus I am very pleased to see our classic "Harry S. Colt" Heathland course back in the top 100 courses. This Surrey Classic course displays all the merits and qualities of "PURE Heathland Golf". Its presentation throughout the year is excellent and respects the traditions of the game as Colt intended. The course plays a strong SS of 71 against a par of 71. Shot your handicap over this course and you have played very well. You will also find you have used all the clubs in your bag whilst tackling this gem. Congratulations to the course management for NOT tinkering with this Colt Classic.