Sunningdale (New) - Surrey - England

Sunningdale Golf Club,
Ridgemount Road,
Sunningdale,
Berkshire,
SL5 9RR,
England


  • +44 (0)1344 621681

  • Golf Club Website

  • ¼ miles S of Sunningdale

  • Contact in advance - Not Fri, Sat, Sun or public hols

Taken together, the New and Old courses at Sunningdale Golf Club represent the finest 36 holes of golf in the whole of the British Isles. The same architect who made modifications to Sunningdale’s Old course, Harry Colt, designed the New course, which opened for play in 1923 to meet the ever-increasing demand for golf.

In the book Sunningdale Golf Club 1900-2000 author John Whitfield writes:

“Compared with the Old Course, the New has seen many more changes in its short life. In particular, the original holes 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 were much criticised – mainly by older members – for the amount of climbing involved, and this led to major changes in the mid 1930s.

These holes were on the land to the right of the 10th hole on the Old Course, and to the left of 9th hole on the New course; some remnants of them can still be seen. Apart from the 6th hole, now the 9th, the others were all abandoned in 1934.

An Extraordinary Meeting was called to consider alterations to the New Course. A report by Simpson & Company, Golf Architect Ltd., had been commissioned by the Committee, and was discussed at the meeting. The E.G.M passed Mr. Simpson's proposals unanimously. His main recommendations concerned holes 6 to 10... which would overcome the problem of the excessive undulations of the existing holes.

In 1937, J.S.F. Morrison DFC, who had been Captain of the club in 1933, and was now a golf course architect, was asked to review the layout of these new holes which evidently had encountered much criticism. Again, no record of his report, nor the action taken on it, survives, but it is fairly certain that something like the present day layout resulted.

In particular, the 6th hole dogleg was created, the short 7th was scrapped, and the 8th hole was played from the present tee to a green cut into the hill behind the 5th green; the present green, further on and to the right was made in 1961. Simpson's 9th hole and 10th green were scrapped, resulting in the present 9th hole and green. The short 10th hole was revived, but from the present tee, and the 11th hole was again lengthened into the current lefthand dogleg.

All in all, the alterations to these holes, 6 to 11 on the New, were the most radical on either course, and also the most contentious.”

The New is a wonderful driving course for it is more open than the Old; the trees do not encroach quite so much. Having said this, the New demands long carries from its elevated tees over heathery terrain to narrow fairways. The club has been following a programme of regeneration that has involved the felling of a number of trees, thereby allowing the heather to return. In addition, this has cleared the way for long lost views to reappear across to Chobham Common in the south.

Many people will come to Sunningdale hell-bent on playing the Old course, but if it’s a real athletic challenge you are after, you will get severely tested on the rugged 6,700-yard par 70 New, a tougher, more rounded test of golf than the Old. For many years, Jack Nicklaus held the course record with a 67, which was a testament to the technical test of the New course. However, in June 2009, in Open Championship Final Qualifying, England’s Graeme Storm smashed the course record with an amazing eight-under 62 thereby securing his place in the 2009 Open at Turnberry.

There are many excellent and memorable holes on the New, perhaps not as many as there are on the Old but certainly the 5th is worthy of mention, a charming par three. The views across the treetops to the common beyond are superb.

Sunningdale is located on Surrey and Berkshire’s famous, magical sand-belt, home to so many other fine golf courses. There is no better natural inland golfing terrain anywhere in the world and Sunningdale is blessed with two of the world’s very best heathland courses.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for Sunningdale (New)

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Taken together, the New and Old courses at Sunningdale Golf Club represent the finest 36 holes of golf in the whole of the British Isles. Rating: 9.3 out of 10 Reviews: 52
TaylorMade
Stephen Dalton

I’ve played both courses, and like many on here would put the Old Course ahead of the New, just. That said I could see why some might prefer the New. The par 3’s are particularly strong and the course I found a little tougher. There’s not a weak hole on the course, maybe with the exception of 18(although the green complex is good). I read a review that said if the 1st and 18th holes were swapped from the Old to the New that it would be better, I tend to agree. The Off course facilities are excellent, great food and staff. A Club I’d love to be a Country Member of.

September 13, 2022
9 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

David Oliver

If the New had the opening and closing holes of the Old course, the New course would be a level above the Old, that's how good the New is. Still the best 36 holes in England - if you have not played before, treat yourself, Sunningdale is an all round a sublime experience.

August 06, 2022
9 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Neil White

As soon as a review is written about a visit to Sunningdale, the question is posed: “Do you prefer the Old or the New?”

Our host – who is a member of this wonderful club – reckons the New is tougher but is often favoured by his friends.

It was a bit of a shame we didn’t play it in isolation because it was the equivalent of going to a Rolling Stones gig when they were at their peak an hour after watching The Beatles when they were at theirs.

I would always plump for the Fab Four in that battle of the bands but still love Mick, Keith, Charlie and co.

We were intrigued to know if the same greens team worked on both courses because there were rougher edges to the New with fairways not as meticulously manicured and greens not quite as true.

Perhaps they are deliberately going for a more natural look. Regardless, it is deservedly rated among the top 50 tracks on earth.

It also has quite a different layout. There’s a greater emphasis on long par-fours, the green complexes are more fiendish and the bunkers felt more cunningly placed.

The New course has been much altered from Harry Colt’s early design but it can easily be seen why it has been selected for championships won by the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Player is still a keen visitor – indeed, our host showed me photos of him giving him some free advice when he was occupying the adjacent berth on the driving range not too long ago.

From the get-go, the New sets the tone with a long par-four with menacing trees as well as heather and sand on either side.

The par-threes are memorable and tricky – beginning with the mid-range second which demands precision club selection to ensure best position on a double-layer green.

The short fifth has the greatest wow factor, revealed after a steep walk to an elevated tee, its plateaued green seems to stretch to infinity as it peers down over a huge sandscape and deep heather.

Thereafter, the identity of the New course becomes clearer and every ounce of concentration is required to score well.

For example, on paper the par-five sixth should be a cinch at just 485 yards from the whites but, even if tee shots clear the purple meadow, there are big decisions over what happens next with a ditch on the right and heather encroaching from the left.

And if that is overcome, there remains a fiendish layered green complex with bunkers greedily awaiting the inaccurate.

It would be wrong to give the impression that opportunities don’t exist on the New. Short holes such as the dogleg downhill seventh provide hope if the omnipresent purple growth is avoided.

Actually, by the time we had reached the ninth, heather was far too pretty a name for the vegetation which lays between the tee and the fairway. This was calluna – mean and tangly and ready to devour golf balls.

On this hole, a long tee shot was required over it followed by a long approach to the elevated green requiring power and precision which was, frankly beyond me.

The dogleg 11th prompted near-despair because I thought I had struck a fine tee shot safely onto the fairway only to discover the ball had fallen just short into the you-know-what.

I have played enough heathland golf to realise that the only way out of this stuff was with a wedge.

The curving 15th is arguably the New’s most picturesque hole with wild heathland recovering from the 2020 fire to the right and, as if to emphasise the picturesque view, a deer walked across our path.

I found it rather less beguiling than it might have been when my tee shot flew over a horizontal bush onto the fairway only to bend around into the course’s only substantial water hazard.

Every hole is worth of description on The New but I have to confess that, on one of the warmest days of the year, I was struggling for energy over the final few as we entered our eighth hour on Sunningdale’s 36.

Nevertheless, I must make mention of the 18th which is an absolute peach and has the wonderful clubhouse in the background.

On paper, it is a doable par-five because it is less than 500 yards but, after a straight opening, the purple hell awaits on either side and then the fairway curves towards a sloping green which is protected by bunkers for those who try for the short cut.

Fair play to my compadre who had been desperate to score a birdie at Sunningdale and had been close without success on several previous holes. He launched a second shot which landed within 25 feet of the flag and just missed an eagle.

He tapped in for a much-cherished four and rounded off the most spectacular day of golf we have ever had.

Sure, the New didn’t light my candle as much as the Old but it is, nevertheless, of the highest quality and I can see why some – probably lower handicap players - might prefer it.

July 15, 2022
9 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Chris Wanless

I am yet to play a better golfing day out than 36 holes at Sunningdale Golf Club. Two world class golf courses, interspersed by superb food, wonderful hospitality, in a clubhouse adorned by history and its close ties with the blue ribband Clubs of the world. You are made to feel welcome, and you cannot fail to leave without a smile on your face.

In a way, one of the disadvantages of having two world class courses on one property is that they will inevitably be compared against each other. Of the group I played with on the day, there was roughly a 50/50 split of which was their favourite, but all agreed that taken in isolation, they are both amongst the world’s best.

Our morning started on the New Course. This Harry Colt masterpiece was opened for play in 1923 after the then 9 hole “chauffeurs’ course” was extended to 18 holes. It is widely considered to be the tougher of the two courses and whilst I would agree, it is scoreable and rewards good golf.

The front 9 is sublime! The stretch from 3-6 is one of the best 4 hole runs I’ve played to date with the 5th being a particular favourite. An absolute signature Colt one shotter and the best Par 3 on the property. The 10th is another beautiful short hole leading to the halfway hut, where a sausage sandwich must be the order of the day. Whilst the back 9 doesn’t quite live up to the front, it is still a fabulous collection of varied holes, with the 15th being a highlight. A wonderful driving hole climbing uphill fading around a pond. It’s a hole that puts a premium on driving accuracy and a Par here is hard earned.

All holes are played in splendid isolation. Rarely will you see a neighbouring fairway or even the following hole until you make the short walk to the next tee box. The routing is fabulous and the condition is, as you would expect, faultless. Taken in isolation, Sunningdale New would be (and is) a revered Golf Course, one of the very best in the world. When you pair it with it’s twin, The Old, you know you are playing in golfing heaven.

For all photos of reviews, please follow Chris’ Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/top.100.golf/

June 28, 2022
9 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Henry

In many ways I prefer the New to the Old at Sunningdale…both tremendous golf courses that don’t deserve comparison the whole time - but being on the same property, comparison is inevitable.

Where the Old is highly manicured, Disneyland heathland - the New felt much more rugged to me, which is an aesthetic I prefer.

But the New has sharper teeth, no doubt. Where the Old feels playable and getable, the New feels penal and a course that has you on the back foot.

It’s a hugely impressive “second course” and probably one that many assume is inferior to the Old. Maybe it is, but barely. For me it has the best hole on the property in the sweeping par 5 that is the 6th and I’d wager a good score on the New feels much more satisfying…

October 04, 2021
9 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

James Stephens

Best course I have ever played! I thought it wouldn’t live up to the likes of Royal Birkdale or Royal St George’s I had previously played but found it surpassed them narrowly. Found myself saying ‘wow’ for probably the first 11 holes. The 10th hole is probably the best hole I’ve ever seen from the tee - simply stunning.

If you ever get the chance - go play it.

September 05, 2021
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful

Response
James Stephens
September 09, 2021

The above review was for the Old course and posted incorrectly (site doesn’t allow me to edit or delete it).

The New course is a great course, with some stunning visual holes. A good but fair test of golf. Superb greens and immaculately maintained. However, the Old course surpasses it for me in character and charm. That being said I’d happily either and be a happy golfer doing so!

tamas

A lot of reviews already on here, so little to add. I will weigh into the Old v New debate. I think both courses are amazing, but my preference slightly favoured the New, due to the more open feeling. On most holes the driver was always an option (not necessarily the right one), I liked the fact that the choice was there. Maybe it helped that my driver was behaving when I played, a day looking for balls in the heather is probably very demoralising.

You can't beat 36 holes at Sunningdale.

September 02, 2021
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Mark

Having just played the Old course in the morning and still in awe of its beauty I don't think I really apprecaited the quality of the New until about half way through. Its certainly a fantastic course and we had a fantastic round but its fair to say it lives on the shadow of its older sibling in my opinion. Enjoying a drink afterwards in the welcome shade of the club house terrace we discussed the merits of both courses with some of the visitors we met in the morning that also sett out on both courses that day. The general feeling was of thorough appreciation for two outstanding courses of absolute pureness from tee box to green. It is a fair penny to play but well worth it.

June 03, 2021
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Mike Brooks

I had high expectations coming to Sunningdale and I wasn’t disappointed. We seemingly had the course to ourselves when we teed off on a beautiful September morning and it was a magical experience. It is hard to pin down what exactly made the place so special but I think it is a mix of very strong golf holes, great scenery, space, elevation changes and first class conditioning. Everything at Sunningdale exudes quality.

I had a slight preference for the New over the Old although that could be influenced by playing the New first and the splendid isolation we experienced. The majority of holes allow for a driver off the tee but punish wayward shots with tangled heather. The par 5s are generally gettable and the par 3s enticing with the pick of the bunch the 5th. A very strong contender for best inland course in the British Isles.

January 10, 2021
10 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

T P Dean

Not only does Sunningdale have two courses of the highest quality, but what makes Sunningdale particularly special is the contrast between these two golf courses that lay side by side. Whether you’re a fan of trees on heathland courses or not, there’s an argument that the heavily treelined Old course is enhanced by its trees. Rarely do they come into play due to the expansive width from the tee meaning they provide framing rather than an obstacle. By contrast, segments of the New course have been opened up somewhat in recent years so the wide expanses of heather are more obvious and come into play more regularly. Part of this is because the fairways play narrower, hence the New course being more unforgiving from the tee. It also plays marginally longer than its older sibling and hence provides more of a championship test.

The New course is boosted by the fact that it backs onto Chobham Common giving parts of the front nine a slightly more open environment, and this is where two of the best holes in Surrey can be found. Somewhat disappointingly they don’t come at the 1st and 18th, holes which I think most people find slightly out of character with the rest of Sunningdale. The opening and closing holes mainly serve the purpose of taking you ‘away from’ and ‘back to’ the clubhouse, but the rest of the course is unquestionably excellent.

As mentioned, the very best of the course is found towards Chobham Common. The 3rd hole is the first to approach this area and provides a birdie opportunity, but what gives with one hand is immediately taken back at the challenging 4th hole. The 4th is hugely demanding with a narrow fairway and benched green where heather pinches in throughout, but it’s the next two holes to which I was referring to earlier and are superb. I think it would be fair to argue that the short par three 5th and the reachable dogleg par five at the 6th hole are the best two holes at Sunningdale. These are well photographed holes, so I’m not going to describe each, but both benefit from beautiful, raised greens where steep slopes on the sides of the plateau greens narrow the target. Those steeply graded sides of the green are a feature used more prominently across the New course than the Old and are another reason for the New course being the greater challenge. Miss the green by a small margin and you can find your ball rolling away into heather requiring a challenging lob-shot recovery from a thick, tangly lie.

Brilliant holes continue through to the 14th. I’d pick out the 9th, 10th and 12th as all being world-class. 9 again is typical of the smaller margin of error that the golfer is allowed at Sunningdale’s New course where an unduly tight fairway rolls down over the brow of a hill following a blind tee-shot. 14 is also a very pleasant short hole with some interesting shapes and ditches between the tee and green whilst 15 that bends and climbs around a pond contributes to the enjoyment. Whilst the closing holes don’t quite hit the same high notes, the beautiful middle section of the course gives rise to the reason for the New course’s strong reputation. Admittedly, it may be heresy for an amateur like me to talk of making changes to a course so acclaimed, but where the Old course in many ways benefits by the trees that line the path to the hole, I’d be tempted to go in completely the opposite direction with the New Course and open it up entirely, making the most of the visuals that come with the undulating land and thus allowing for some increased fairway width.

Some rankings would have the New course ahead of the Old which I can only think is either an audacious marketing ploy in an effort to create a headline, or that difficulty has too much of a bearing in their rankings. That being said, Sunningdale’s New Course does far more than provide the understudy to the Old, and I’d have no qualms in any individual having a preference for the New course as it’s unquestionably a fine course at the most sought after club in the land.

November 26, 2020
9 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
1 person found this review helpful