Founded in 1895 and designed by Samuel “Mure” Fergusson, New Zealand Golf Club is a top-class course located within the famous Surrey heath belt. New Zealand was laid out on the estate of H.F. Locke-King, who also built Brooklands, the world’s first motor racing circuit, on his property.
Following in the footsteps of nearby Woking Golf Club, New Zealand’s design was innovative, being one of the earliest courses to be routed across dense heathland. Fergusson continued to improve the layout for another thirty years during his long-term secretarial position at New Zealand Golf Club. In 1931, after Fergusson’s death, Tom Simpson (aided by Philip Mackenzie Ross) was commissioned to perform a major redesign of the course, which included significant bunker modifications.
According to Bernard Darwin, "New Zealand is sui generis. It does not compete with other courses, but it sets its own standard and lives up to it. If anyone wants to play a friendly game, uncrowded and unseen, to have a good lunch in pleasant company, and get home early to London, there is no place like New Zealand."
Not a long course by today’s standards, at a little over 6,000 yards, but with a lowly par of 68, it represents a challenge; six of the par fours are more than 400 yards long. Needless to say, accuracy rather than distance is important from the tee. The course plays through avenues of trees and there is plenty of heather to catch the wayward ball. New Zealand really is a stylish golf course and it’s a privilege to be able to play a round at this engaging golf club.
Most of the holes are isolated from each other by the trees; it’s an intimate feeling and a great place to play golf with friends. The 9th hole is about as far away from the clubhouse as you can get and it's the first in a cluster of three holes which are located on the other side of Martyrs Lane – so make sure you have everything you need in your bag before you start your round.
In 2015, New Zealand Golf Club commissioned Frank Pont of Infinite Variety Golf Design to return some of the course’s lost architectural features which, according to IVGD partner Ed Cartwright, “include returning the green complexes to their former glory by restoring Simpson’s laced/diagonal fingered bunkers and their asymmetric aprons.”
Having played with a New Zealand member at a nearby club, I hoped for a possible invite to play there. He asked me to play the following day and I dropped all prior arrangements!
This is without doubt as enjoyable a days golf as it is possible to have on all fronts. The course is fantastic and in super condition and very playable. The Heather lined fairways are a little softer than some of the other courses on the Surrey sand belt and the greens are true with subtle breaks. There are little loops to make up shorter rounds of 9 and 12 holes and is great for a quick knock in the morning before Lunch!
Lunch is an event with 4 courses, copious amounts of wine including a great Carvery which has to be sampled to be believed before setting you u for an 18 hole round afterwards.
Stand out holes would be 1,2,9,15 and 17 and should you walk off with par on them you will be very happy. Best par 3 would be 16, not that I played it well. Enjoy the day if you are lucky enough to play here it is a privelege and brilliant experience!
Fantastic course, a real feeling of stepping back in time, to simple pleasures, would thoroughly recommend a 36 hole visit with lunch between, an easy walking course, deceptively long, with penal heather either side of tight cambered fairways, which only the straightest of hits will find.
A joy to play !
of all the reviews i read of the new zealand club jcb lay's of 05/2013 is the most succinct - a soon as you enter the gates of the club you step back in time - hugely friendly staff, excellent service and just about the right amount of attention that is so, but not fussy nor reminds you of a still collar. of the many times i have played the course as a guest of a member it has always been presented in absolutely exquisite condition and as a prior reviewer has commented the first and second holes are an excellent introduction to what is a very very fine golf course. the staff and the members should take pride that these are the reasons so many guests long to be invited back!