Sunningdale (Old) - Surrey - England

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


  • +44 (0) 1344 621681

  • Golf Club Website

  • 0.25 mile from Sunningdale Station off the A30

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


The Old course at Sunningdale is one of the British Isles’ most aesthetically pleasing inland courses. Arguably, it was the first truly great golf course to be built on the magical Surrey/Berkshire sand-belt. The land was (and still is) leased from the freeholder, St John’s College, Cambridge. It is a Willie Park Junior masterpiece and opened for play in 1901, becoming known as the Old after the opening of the New Course in 1923.

Lined with pine, birch and oak trees, it is a magnificent place to play golf. The emblem of the club is the oak tree, no doubt modelled on the huge specimen tree standing majestically beside the 18th green. It’s incredible to believe that originally the golf course was laid out on barren, open land. Harry Colt was a big influence at Sunningdale; he was Secretary and Captain in the club’s early years and redesigned the Old course, giving it a more intimate and enclosed feel.

The Old course at Sunningdale has seen many great rounds of golf, but these three rank amongst the very best:
1. 1926 - the perfect 66 by Bobby Jones in Open Qualifying.
2. 1986 - a remarkable 62 by Nick Faldo in the European Open.
3. 2004 - an incredible eagle, albatross start by Karen Stupples in the Women's British Open.

In 1926, during qualification for the British Open, amateur Bobby Jones played the Old Course perfectly, scoring 66, made up of all threes and fours (taking 33 putts). This type of scoring was unheard of in those days. Bernard Darwin brilliantly summed up Jones’ round as “incredible and in decent”. “Few joys in this world are unalloyed”, wrote Darwin in Golf Between Two Wars, “and though Bobby was naturally and humanly pleased with that 66 he was a trifle worried because he had 'reached the peak' rather too soon before going to St. Anne's.” Jones went on to Royal Lytham & St Annes and won the 1926 Open by two strokes, beating fellow American Al Watrous.

If you have already played the Old course, you will surely remember the elevated 10th tee, a fabulous driving hole and one of our all-time favourite holes. By the time you have putted out on the 10th, you will be ready for refreshments at the excellent halfway hut that sits welcomingly behind the green. What sheer delight! The 5th, a lovely par four, is beautifully described in The 500 World’s Greatest Golf Holes: “From an elevated tee, the fifth is clearly defined. The fairway is bordered by heather, golden grass and dark green forest. There are two fairway bunkers in the right half of the fairway; a small pond and four sentinel bunkers protect the green. Success calls for two pure shots…” The 15th is also featured in the same book; it’s a superb par three, measuring 226 yards.

Many people regard Sunningdale as the perfect golfing venue. The Old and New courses taken together are probably the finest pair of golf courses anywhere. On a sunny autumn day, walking on that perfect heathland turf, surely there is nowhere better to play golf with a few friends. “If we have not been too frequently ‘up to our necks’ in untrodden heather—nay, even if we have—we ought to have enjoyed ourselves immensely,” as Darwin said in his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles.

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Reviews for Sunningdale (Old)

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Description: The Old course at Sunningdale is one of the British Isles’ most aesthetically pleasing inland courses. Arguably, it was the first truly great golf course to be built on the magical Surrey/Berkshire sand-belt. Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Reviews: 72
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Tarby
Stunningdale! The old and new courses must be the two best inland courses associated to one club in the British Isles.Played the Old in the pouring rain, but so what. Would gladly play in the rain here everyday. An experience not to be missed.
June 23, 2007
10 / 10
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Kwei
Fantastico!!! Sheer golf heaven and no one can argue that at all. Loads of positives, only negative is the amount of play and societies here!! Not surprising Lineker departed for Queenwood where he wouldn't be disturbed so much :). Right up there with Woodhall Spa (although Woodhall is better IMO), and comparible to Hankley Common and St Georges Hill for sheer golfing heathland pleasure.
April 25, 2007
8 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
Some courses have an aura about them (St Andrews, Wentworth, Loch Lomond, Turnberry, Augusta etc.) the Old course at Sunningdale sits comfortably in this category. The whole experience is just wonderful from start to finish, beautiful setting, testing golf and just a place as a golfer you want to be. A world famous venue with so much written already – this is one of the truly best golf courses around. The start is gentle with a reachable par 5 but the course bites back later, so watch out. Many stand out features of the Old, but for me it is just the way each hole flows and is in total balance with holes that you have already played – a warm visitor welcome too. There is a feeling after the 18th of, is that it? Can I play around again…please?
April 18, 2007
10 / 10
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Jim McCann

You can read as many books and browse as many websites as you like before playing at a top venue but no amount of research can ever prepare you for the feel of a place – you have to be there to experience the setting, Sunningdale (Old) - Photo by Jim McCannplay the course, evaluate the routing and survey the landscape before you can really appreciate how good a golf course like Sunningdale Old really is.

Having played the New course in the morning, I was eagerly anticipating the challenge of the Old in the afternoon and it did not disappoint. A surprising element for me was the elevation changes at the most southerly points on the course between the 7th and the 10th holes where even slightly errant shots are severely punished.

Overall though, fairways were more open than I had anticipated and some of the tee carries across heather were more intimidating than I had previously imagined. Teeing off from the 10th is definitely as exhilarating as you might expect but other favourite holes were either side of this one at the short par fours on 9 and 11.

It’s a pity the green on the third short par four on the card, the 318 yard, 3rd was out of use but the new greenside bunkering work with sand and heather on that hole looks simply sensational.

There is a somewhat understated finish to the round on the 18th hole – if anything, this slightly uphill, semi-dogleg hole is a slight letdown but it would be churlish to overly criticise when all that has gone before it has been one strong hole after another.

The other real surprise of the day was the informality of a very hospitable clubhouse which was far from the stuffy establishment I may have anticipated but in reality was anything but that. Sunningdale is an experience to savour so if you plan a visit, play the 36 holes of both courses with a lunch in between and you will have had yourself as good a day's golf as you will find anywhere in the British Isles.

Jim McCann

March 30, 2007
10 / 10
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Gerry Cannon
April 03, 2007
It sounds by your report Jim, that this was one of your better golf experiences. One would also gather from your report that your game was raised in terms of a challenging course and the overall ambiance of the setting. One day my friend!!
Andy Newmarch
Some courses have an aura about them which will always remain – the Old course at Sunningdale is in this category. The whole experience is just wonderful from start to finish, beautiful setting, testing golf and just a place as a golfer you want to be. A world famous venue and so much has been written already – this is one of the truly best golf courses around. The start is gentle with a reachable par 5 but the course bites back later, so watch out. Many stand out features of the Old, but for me it is just the way each hole flows and is in total balance with holes that you have already played – a warm visitor welcome too.
March 28, 2007
10 / 10
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Ian
Sunningdale is without question a wonderful course. No real weak holes and a fair amount of undulation and variation in design make this a very memorable experience. Is it the best heathland course in Surry/Berkshire? Debateable - we preferred St Georges Hill, but Sunningdale is though streets ahead of Wentworth. Staff were very friendly and the half way hut a welcome stop before you get in to the back 9.
March 14, 2007
8 / 10
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Nick Roy
I am fortunate to be a member & every time I play another course & come back to the dale I realise how lucky I am. I can honestly say I have played the new & old course hundreds of times & each time is an absolute pleasure. is the old better than the new? its like comparing rugby & football. They are both a delight to play....if i had to play 1 golf course only for the rest of my life...it would be a tough call...but I would say the old course.
December 22, 2006
10 / 10
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Joe Richardson
August 12, 2007
Interesting to hear another person that ranks the two Sunningdale courses as close to one another. I was lucky enough to play both, but my lasting recollection of the day was of the New being the better. - This was my favourite inland course until playing the Hotchkin @ Woodhall Spa yesterday!
Bowlesie
36 holes on the Old and the New at Sunningdale takes some beating. I have played Walton Heath and Woodhall Spa this year and I think this shades them both. The Old is my favourite with a little more room off the tee and "big" greens. Mid morning 2 ball (with caddies) and due to a very good caddie master, rounds of 3 hours & 3 hours ten mins. This is real golf in a sublime setting where the staff take time for the visitor and the members are some of the most courteous i have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We played through 3 member fourballs with the minimum of fuss, just a - good afternoon and I hope you're enjoying the course. Saving up to go back next year. Glorious! DB
July 27, 2006
10 / 10
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Warren K
A fantastic course - The Old. One of the finest inland courses in GB&I - Not quite as good as Woodhall Spa, but close. The turf is gorgeous and its a course that is pleasing on the eye. Every bit as good as Walton Heath, Hankley Common, St Georges Hill and the remainder of the Classic Heathland Gems in Surrey or Berkshire. Only downsides, gets very busy in Summer and some of the houses make you feel a little enclosed. Awesome all the same.
January 11, 2006
8 / 10
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Hugh
The Old course is simply a stunner. It’s not the most difficult course in the Top 100 but you will need to read the greens properly in order to score well. This classic layout is very tight off the tee with heather and pine trees bordering every fairway. Make sure you stop off on the way round at the glorious halfway hut but before you do, enjoy that drive on the elevated 10th tee…it’s a cracker and one of my all time favourite golf holes. The greens sometimes come in for criticism in that they are less firm than classic heathland courses, I personally have no problem with this, at least you can fly the ball at the greens, except during the height of summer. If you are to score well here, you’ll need to shape the ball in both directions to negotiate the doglegs and then you’ll need to keep out of the heather, it can be a nightmare. Sunningdale is one of the most exclusive clubs in the land and it’s pretty expensive to play here but it’s cheaper than Wentworth and in my book Sunningdale is better. The clubhouse is simply gorgeous and the food is scrumptious too…a stunning golf club. Hugh.
April 06, 2005
10 / 10
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