Kingswood is set overlooking the Chipstead valley on a site that sits loftily at more than 600 feet above sea level. Founded in 1928 and designed by James Braid, Kingswood Golf & Country Club is located a mile to the north east of Walton Heath and is a relatively unfamiliar course, except to those in the know.
Described as “Braid’s finest parkland course in England”, Kingswood’s gently undulating fairways are flanked by a wide variety of stately trees which combine with ideal topography to create an attractive landscape for golf.
Host venue to multiple important championships down the years, including three Ladies European Opens, Kingswood has always been a good test. But, following a £500,000 renovation programme conducted by Howard Swan during 2008-2010, the Kingswood challenge is now much tougher.
Kingswood was selected to host British Senior Open Qualifying in 2011 and the extension of the par five 14th hole heralds the start of a supremely challenging three-hole stretch coined “Murder Mile” by the members. The new 14th tee has been built on additional land acquired by the club owner Tom Hilliard. What was once the shortest par five on the course is now a 531-yard challenge that precedes two tough par fours (385 and 470 yards) that play slightly uphill and invariably into the prevailing wind.
Today’s Kingswood measures 6,954 yards from the back tees and a healthy 6,589 yards from the regular tees. Despite relatively generous fairways, accuracy as well as length is a prerequisite to carding a good score here due to numerous well-positioned bunkers, which were all completely overhauled as part of Howard Swan’s renovation work.Incredibly, only three players from a strong international field of professionals managed to better the Kingswood par during Senior Open Qualifying in July 2011. Poignantly, one of the competitors remarked: “Before this weekend I had never heard of Kingswood, but what a golf course… I just can't wait to come back and play it again.”
A society day gave me the opportunity to revisit a course I haven’t played for almost 10 years in Kingswood Golf & Country Club. It was a course I couldn’t remember and awful lot about, so it felt like a new experience for me.
The club has so many positive attributes going for it: James Braid (Tick) Parkland Course (Tick) 6,900 Yards (Tick) Elevation changes (Tick) stunning Views (Tick) Surrounded by multimillion pound properties (Tick) however Kingswood is an enigma of a golf course, as it divided opinions greatly within the 16 strong group that assembled on a Mild April Day.
With a few week’s reflection, I am beginning to realise why I couldn’t remember an awful lot about the course. If you were to ask me which holes stood out, then unfortunately, I would struggle to remember any. That isn’t because the course was poor, in fact for most parts its well maintained and there’s plenty of variety, but more that it doesn’t captivate me in the way other courses in a very close proximity do and I left feeling that the course could and should be so much more than it is.
The course is well laid out, strong bunkering and good green complexes. All holes are treelined and this acts as one of the course’s key defences. Miss the fairway and Pars will need to be rescued. The 13th hole (SI 2) I would list as the signature hole when looking back through the card as the green is framed by a very picturesque backdrop of rolling surrey hills.
I’ll leave this review on a positive. The service our group received at Kingswood was superb and they couldn’t have been more accommodating. The food is excellent, the clubhouse is nice and it’s a perfect set up for societies.
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I played in a society day here at the beginning of July and found it to be a really great course. It was in great condition, the greens ran really true and Food and hospitality were spot on. I think its a great society day course because, although a really good challenge, it can be quite forgiving if you drift offline, which makes for a more enjoyable day for us more Average golfers! Hope to play here again soon!
Kingswood is a good parkland course in very good condition in this, at least in the South of England, damp summer. It rewards being straight and particularly rewards staying out of the bunkers.
Indeed bunkers and trees are the main hazards, and the bunkers are well maintained and very pretty. I do wonder quite how many trees were there when the course was built; quite a few are relatively young and serve to line the fairways. A few others, such as the pair on the 5th, stand guard to protect lines off the tee.
It wasn’t a course for the ground game, indeed many of the green side and fairway bunkers were surrounded by thick grass, a positive in terms of balls staying out of bunkers, a “negative” in terms of requiring really good chipping from close to the green.
Myself I tend to like courses with a bit of quirk, and Kingswood did not offer much quirk, at least as far as the course was concerned. There was quirk with the stroke indecies. Many courses view the par 5s as “harder”; not Kingswood. Off whites 494 yards: SI 13. 506 yards SI 15 and 511 yards uphill, SI 14. Quite a nice change from assuming a short hole is an easy hole.
We played Kingswood yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the round. The course was in great condition and looked fresh after the previous days downfall after such a dry spell. The views afforded across the Surrey countryside as you embark on the back 9 are worth the trip alone. Overall a great course that tests your approach to it and great club house to boot.
Kingswood was designed in the 1920’s by James Braid and had further work undertaken in 2008 by Howard Swan to lengthen the course so that they could host bigger tournaments. The course is very tight in places and requires good course management to produce a decent score. The long hitter or those who are wild from the tee will not do well here. Driving the ball well is pivotal as many of the holes move either left to right or right to left so it is easy to run out of room. That being said there are 4 par 5’s, all reachable in two so compiling a good score revolves around playing these well. Kingswood has some good holes such as the second a long downhill par 4 that swings from right to left before leaving an uphill approach to a sloping green. The 7th is a nice short par three set slightly above the player and is surrounded by bunkers. 13 is a tough downhill par 4 that dog legs severely from right to left before leaving a mid iron approach to a green that runs away from the player. The finishing hole again sweeps from right to left although it is easy to run through this dogleg so you must draw the ball from the tee. The green situated directly outside the clubhouse is slightly raised well protected by bunkers. Kingswood is unlucky in the fact that it is located in Surrey and has such strong competition but it provides a less expensive option than most in the area.
The course is in fantastic condition. I played it for the first time last year and I regularly play in the afternoon's at weekends - it really is a steal @ £45 compared to other courses that are this good!Bunkers are well positioned but are a little dry, must be the weather. Mind you I shouldn't go in them I suppose.Definitely recommend!