Over the past 20 years I have played Tandridge on perhaps 50 occasions and in recent years it has undergone some huge changes. The effort and expense that has gone into the course ‘upgrade’ is commendable but has come at some cost to the members subs. I am certainly not adverse to traditional courses having to make changes to keep their tracks competitive and Tandridge definitely needed it as it was not overly challenging but always a pleasure to play. I don’t think what has been done necessarily makes Tandridge a more challenging test of golf but it does give it a whole new feel and it is without doubt more unique.
As mentioned the course has a totally new look and feel to its more traditional, tree-lined past. In my opinion the most effective and best changes are some of the new teeing grounds and in particular those on the signature 14th will make an already good hole a great one. I was also surprised on my last visit to see the new tees on the 18th but I don’t think they will make the hole any better and in my own opinion the new americanised mounding between the 10th fairway and 18th fairways are not in keeping with the course. The new bunkers are a big talking point and I don’t recall seeing many of ‘colt’s’ masterpieces having bunkers looking anything like the scraggy edged ones that now adorn the course (maintenance of those won’t be easy). There is also far too much sand in them but understandably it will take some time to bed-down. The bunkers in the middle of the fairway on holes 3 and 12 really don’t work and penalise the perfect tee shot, but some bunkers like those on 6 and 11 do frame the tee shot nicely and make club selection more difficult.
The staff are always welcoming and the food and beverage is top notch. Likewise the clubhouse is very traditional and well-kept. In my own opinion the course is strategically no harder now as it was before and the course has without doubt lost its air of charm. I would have given the course a 4 ball score before the changes and I will still do that now (just) but what you give on one hand you take with another. I agree with some of the other comments that it certainly isn’t a 5 or 6 ball and you need to play Swinley, Sunningdale and St Georges Hill to make a decent comparison as to what is a really top Colt designed inland course. Last word, I know some members have written decent reviews, (why wouldn’t you if you are proud of your course) and that is partly why it scores so highly but it is still worth a visit because the changes are a talking point and the course does have some top quality holes.
Date: April 05, 2012