Located next to the village of Ottershaw, close to the junction of the M3 and M25, the Foxhills Country Club & Resort offers a number of outdoor sporting pursuits; from swimming to cycling and squash to tennis in addition to a 45-hole golf facility with two 18-hole courses and a 9-hole par three layout.
The estate was originally established as a country retreat for the notorious parliamentarian Charles James Fox in the second half of the 18th century, when it was known as “Fox’s Hills”. Airline Aer Lingus acquired the property in the 1960s and engaged Fred Hawtree to design the two 18-hole tracks in 1975.
Businessman Ian Hayton purchased the business eight years later and the family still run it to this day, operating a successful modern resort that has managed to keep pace with the changing times since it changed hands in 1983. There’s also a 4-star hotel on site, along with an award-winning health spa.
The tree-lined fairways of the Longcross course are configured as two returning nines, laid out across a natural woodland landscape. The “signature hole” is regarded as the par five 14th, starting from an elevated tee position, then the closing hole is another par five which doglegs up to a home green that’s shared with the 18th on the Bernard Hunt course.
The Longcross is generally regarded as the better of the two courses and I can see why it may just edge it for some people but as I said earlier there's not a great deal in it. Both layouts have some very impressive holes and whilst there is nothing to not like on either the Longcross possibly just has a bit more consistency and because it is played more through the pine trees some golfers may prefer this. Now, if you could take the best holes from each and combine them together you would have an exceptional golf course.
Like the Bernard Hunt the opener is a lovely par-four descending down through tall pine trees with a second shot more agreeable from the left. The next has an angled and sloping green and it continues with each hole seeming to offer a different challenge. There is a bit of a feel of Woburn to the Longcross and it is not dissimilar in many ways.
There are a number of standout holes on the Longcross with the 14th the one that gets most of the attention due to a BBC Radio Five Live poll voting it one of the 'greatest golf holes in the world'. That may be a bit of a stretch but this downhill par-five is certainly a very interesting and challenging hole. All the par-threes on the Foxhills property are thoughtfully designed with good variety throughout and this is especially the case on the Longcross; the 4th, 11th and 16th are all very impressive for different reasons.
The putting surfaces were superb on my visit and ran exceptionally true but you have to be careful because many of the greens gently fall away to the sides in an upturned saucer fashion. On more than one occasion I was left scratching my head as the ball rolled further away from the hole than I had anticipated.
I can imagine drainage is one of the biggest challenges at Foxhills, the land is heavy soil and this is perhaps the main thing that holds it back from more notoriety amongst its many Surrey neighbours, many of which are played on better draining heathland. However, substantial tree-thinning has taken place recently to provide better visuals and improved aeration and playing here in the summer months especially is a very enjoyable experience.
Whilst I only really focus on the golf in my reviews there is much more to Foxhills. The 4-star hotel provides exceptional accommodation and fine dining, the clubhouse caters for golfers brilliantly and the newly constructed Pavilion was a hive of activity. There are many other sporting activities available on-site but the golf is reason enough to visit.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
I really like Foxhills as a venue full stop and having played the Bernard previously I knew what to expect and wasn't disappointed. I don't know whether I preferred to Longcross to the Bernard as many have suggested Longcross is better but I think I actually prefer the Bernard purely on layout and look. Condition was its usual high standard and I really love the greens, quick and true. I cant recommend Foxhills enough for value, quality and accessibility its very hard to beat.
One of the great positives of golf is that the terrain on which it is played comes in so many variations. The Longcross course at Foxhills fitted firmly into the tree lined seclusion school. Unlike a number of courses where tree lined seclusion is relatively recent (and thus not the architect’s intention) this one looks to have been hacked out of the forest. The trees thus haven’t grown into and changed the course, they were already there.
But they do leave a very tight course. Trees are like water and unlike heather, rough and bunkers. The last three one can play out off, the first two leave little choice unless has a chainsaw or the help of the divine. So, all in all, it’s a course that rewards, even more than most, the straight. Indeed I felt it was a tee to green course and not one where the trouble was around the green.
As to the holes the best ones are on the back nine. 14 has been noted and I rather liked 18 which actually offered up significant reward for the long drive, while punishing the failed attempt. In contrast I felt the two sharp doglegs (8 and 13) were rather formulaic. The trees are too big and too tight to tempt and thus the hole can only be played with a decent layup and a wedge approach. At least to me, a par four should not force a five iron wedge off golfers.
We played the course at the end of a dry spell, and one or two of the fairways (especially 10) seemed to leave very little room for error. Anything hit left of centre would fall away to the rhododendrons and be lost; the best shot seemed either very long and straight or very short and straight; a little bit of width with green side hazards to provide a preferred line would, at least to me make the hole better.
The greens were decent, though rarely at all scary. The tees were a little scruffy, but nothing to worry about. The fairways were very pleasant, the facility as a whole feels more higher class leisure centre than golf course, but perhaps that’s what it is intended to be. So I’m pleased I played. Indeed after playing an unranked course a few days later this one has slightly grown on me. But all in all not one for me.
I found this a real step up from the Bernard Hunt, Foxhills other track. Where the BH can be quite up/down a hill, the Longcross changes direction much better and presents many more strategic challenges.
Lots of domed greens and run off areas made for some real trickery; a slight miss and suddenly faced with a testing chip. Rough has grown a lot these last few wet weeks and, playing it on a rainy day, meant anything off the fairway could be a hack out.
Favourite holes would be 3rd with a tough hanging lie 2nd shot; 5th an excellent double dog leg par 5; 14th also excellent par 5 - and all par 3s with greens at different angles to line of play.
Some areas of the course eg tee boxes could do with more maintenance. Overall however we found it a very pleasant, quiet round and I would certainly enjoying testing myself against it again.
Played here after a week of torrential rain, course was in impressive condition, only a tiny bit of standing water and some slightly muddy paths.
Greens were immaculate, running true and fast.
Course layout is very nice, tree lined fairways has a feel of Woburn about it. All par 3s are interesting, with special mention going to the 8th hole which is stunning as you come round the dog leg, and the award winning 14th.
The staff in the pro shop (Elliott) are extremely helpful and friendly. They want to help you play their courses, not put barriers in the way. This is not something I can say at all courses of this sort of standard.
On first sight, Foxhills seems like another stereotypical modern course. It lies in an area surrounded by amazing heathlands, such as the three Ws, Sunningdale, Wentworth etc. The company is so great, it seems like an irrelevant speck within arguably England's best region.
Last year, I came to Foxhills with nine other members of my family for a three night stay. Me and my father enjoyed their par three course greatly, as it tested the short game well, but that is not relevant in this review. On a sunny Sunday morning in October, we ventured out onto this pine-lined course with little expectations.
Which is why I'm delighted to say the Longcross is lovely. It's fairly long at 6700-plus yards from the tips. It played long on the day as we had two days of rain before playing, so the usually well-conditioned course was not quite as pristine as other people say it is. It opened just before Woburn, and actually is quite similar to the Dukes and Duchess courses. The setting is picturesque, through tall pines. The course has a few very good holes, such as 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18. The greens slope subtly and, in some cases, more severely, providing some challenge.
So what's not to like? Only a few weak holes, more so on the front nine, and some very simple bunkering and design let it down a little. But it is really enjoyable, and should be much higher in the Surrey rankings. It really is very good. I haven't played the Bernard Hunt yet. Might come back there for a game.
Excellent course. Fairways like carpet, greens immaculate, plenty of variation. Just shows how many great courses Surrey has given this is No. 28. In many other counties this would be No. 1
Lovely course in great condition and very similar in style to Woburn with tall trees. Great day out and well worth a visit.
This is a nice course with some lovely holes. The tighter of the two layouts at Foxhills and in the denser part of the woodland.
This isn’t heathland like the other courses in the area and it is a step below some of its more distinguished neighbours but this is still a decent track and together with the Bernard Hunt course, represents a solid 36 holes of golf.
8 and 9 are a couple of great doglegs. 8 is short and you need to take something off your tee shot unless you can shape your shot severely from right to left. 9 is much longer and hillier and requires two well struck shots to make this green in regulation.
On the back 9, holes 14 and 17 are the pick for me. 14 is a great downhill par 5 with a stream 100 yards short of the green and 17 is a tight par 4 with an elevated green full of undulations and covered by bunkers.
This is a good fun course that has a lot of charm.
The Longcross is much better than its counterpart. However I don't think it's special. Similarly to the Bernhard Hunt, lots of the holes are similar and merge into one. That being said, are more good holes on the Longcross.