Fulwell Golf Club is set on Hampton Hill within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Five-time Open champion J.H. Taylor laid out the first course for the members in 1904, on land that was part of Hounslow Heath (which once extended to more than 4,000 acres). Taylor, who at that time was the pro at Royal Mid Surrey, laid out two 18-hole courses, routed in a similar manner to his home club – an outer course for the men and an inner layout for the ladies.
Dr Alister MacKenzie extended the men’s course in the early 1920s, but ten year’s later the local council placed a compulsory purchase order on the land and gave the club notice that the lease would be terminated in 1941. The outbreak of the Second World War was critical for the club. Part of the inner course was turned over to agriculture for the war effort and the remaining holes on the inner course were opened to the public. The council, however, promised to reinstate a golf course following the war and assigned John Morrison to the project.
In 1958, thirteen years after the war ended, a new course at Fulwell Golf Club opened for play, comprising of eight holes from the original outer layout and ten holes from the inner course. So it’s fair to say that three prominent golf course architects helped shape the 6,465-yard par 71 layout that’s in play today. However, the heritage of Fulwell’s course is firmly attributed to John Morrison, who was the Managing Director and last living member of Colt, Alison and Morrison Ltd. at the time the new course was unveiled.
Despite its heathland roots, Fulwell is a parkland course that’s laid out on well-drained ground. Mature trees flank the fairways, requiring accuracy from the tee and also length, especially at the 452-yard par four 8th, which calls for a solid drive and an accurate approach to a narrow green that’s protected by bunkers on each flank.
Hole 9, a 163-yard one-shotter, is the standout hole on the front nine. It’s a genuinely pretty par three over water to a false-fronted, kidney-shaped green.
The closing three home holes are also noteworthy, starting with the mid-length par three 16th which features a raised, almost pulpit-like green. The penultimate hole is a genuine three-shotter for most golfers. It measures 564 yards from the tips and is one of the longest in Middlesex, but perhaps Fulwell saves the best until last.
Slade Lodge (the Course Manager's residence) and the 17th century clubhouse (formerly a farmhouse) provide the backcloth to the home green, but the drive must first negotiate the large trees which guard the opening to the fairway. A serpentine ditch cuts diagonally in front of the green before winding its way up the left side of this challenging hole.
Mackenzie and Ebert completed a bunker renovation programme in 2019, which involved re-shaping traps based on old photographs of Morrison's originals.
A real gem. A Jewell in the crown of London area golf courses. Four of us, all members of courses in Surrey, London and Berkshire, in looking for different courses to play elected to pick s a County ( Middlesex in this case) and play all available to us ad a County card holders. There are 34 on the County list and Fulwell is our 20th so far. Normally ratings reflect how you play, not in this case. We are all in our 60s retired with handicaps 16-20, we play for fun. This course is in the most superb condition. Tees are like some greens elsewhere. Fairways like carpet, approaches unbelievable, greens- well perfection not a good enough description. We have played. As individuals all around the world. If you are within travelling distance Fulwell should not be missed. A wonderful experience. THANKYOU to the hard working staff, a credit to the World of Golf.
I recently played Fulwell. Like Ealing (another of my recent reviews) Fulwell is flat, and has tough greens. I think it’s a bit better than Ealing as there is more room and a greater variety of holes, including a genuinely long par 5 (17) on the way back.
The opening hole is, perhaps for the longest hitters, an opportunity to get pretty close, but do the rest of us it’s a case of placement so the second has a clear line in. Placement’s important for 2 as well, as you need to be sufficiently left to have a decent line in. The third is the first of a number of holes where the fairway bunkering matters. If you are long enough, try to get over, if not go wide, but then the green is not really reachable in two. The fourth is heavily bunkered too, but, as a short par four, the layup option is not penal.
The fifth is about the drive, a good one and the green is in play for two; but don’t go at all sideways. I wasn’t convinced by six, as a fairly substantial pine tree guarded the right side of the green. This is fine if you can get your seven iron up and over, but less good for those who need a longer club and can’t get the elevation. I’m not a fan of holes which, at least with some pin positions can only be played one way. The eighth is a tough ask. 450 yards, with OOB down the left, trees down the right and more fairway bunkers.
I have to say I rather preferred the back nine. Unlike the front nine you very much go out into the countryside, only to return on 18. Like the front nine it has a nice combination of tough holes and some shorter par 4s which tempt you to indiscretion, but reward you for getting it right. 15 was the best example.
Decent course notwithstanding the joy of Fulwell is the greens, which are fast, true and worthy of respect all the way round. Though sometimes easy to find they are in many cases, esp 14 and 16 easy to find, but equally easy to lose as they have large drops and convex surfaces which throw all but the best shots off into the fringes or worse.
Any wind from the east brings with it plenty of plane spotting as anything heading south from Heathrow will be banking hard and climbing away. It’s thus not guaranteed peace and solitude, though from memory the approach with all a Westerly is a bit to the North. Fulwell also offers a decent food package and a nice welcome. It is a suburban course, in the sense that it’s in a suburb, but to call it suburban would be unfair. It’s better than that. Pleasingly, and this is often not said about the grander courses, there were plenty of people around on a Thursday late afternoon/early evening.
Regardless of whether you live close by or are travelling to the area, you must visit Fulwell. The new bunker renovations have really set this course above its rivals. What is most impressive is the fairways, I did not have one bad lie (when I was on the fairway) and then your putts couldn't roll truer.
Service and food is top quality and it is certainly value for money at any time of the year. Hidden from roads and buildings you wouldn't think a course like this was even there, I suggest a late afternoon summer round and enjoy a drink on the veranda and watch the sunset over the course.
This parkland course continues to grow in stature. A charming array of golf holes meanders their way through tree-lined avenues, with excellently maintained fairways and fast but true greens. To get close to the hole, you need to either impart some spin on the ball or play a very accurately judged links style shot. Lack of commitment either way, is penalised! The greens are consistently good now and such quality and speed has unearthed the more subtle borrows in their design. I have played quite a few renowned courses this season - but I haven't putted on better greens.
Have played many courses around the country but really enjoyed Fulwell.
Well laid out to be challenging but not too frustrating!
Course in excellent condition, greens challenging and sand traps scary.
Surroundings well maintained and inviting.
Particularly enjoyed 9th hole.
Would recommend this course to all abilities.
Well set out and impeccably maintained.
When playing a course for the first time, I like to do a little research and always arrive with a level of expectation. After playing Fulwell my pre-visit expectations were exceeded, which is always nice when that happens. There is a very strong club feel here with a full membership with visitors most welcome. Fulwell is in Middlesex but not too far from the Surrey county border. My feeling is that this course is a lot more ‘Surrey’ than it is ‘Middlesex’ in terms of style and quality.
Four par-4’s start the round, with the 2nd my favourite of these; 417 yards and the tee shot is key, this must be placed on the left of the fairway – anything slightly right will mean the green will be blocked out by trees. Two good par-3’s on the front nine are at the 6th and 9th both are positioned close together and very near to the clubhouse. The 6th is only 152 yards at most but there is some decent tree and bunker protection at the green. The 9th is about ten yards longer, crosses water and the couple of bunkers that are short of the tricky green, means that you are working for your par.
The 11th hole is my only real negative – a short par-5 with a superb green but needs stronger fairway bunkering. In fact the bunkers around the course have been high-lighted by the club as the next big project – a plan that will take the next few years has been scoped and once complete, will strengthen many holes.
The last par-3 is at the 16th and is very good indeed, even without any bunkers; it is all about the green, which is forty yards long, around ten yards wide and a little raised. The final hole is another worth a mention – not overly long at 400 yards but this is all about the approach to the green – a ditch just a few yards short and out of bounds behind mean that this is a big ask – some may need a tidy short game for par finish.
Course presentation is very high and the greens are consistent and a joy to putt on – could even give the greens at nearby Ealing GC a run for their money. I imagine that once the bunker plan is complete, this course should get stronger.