Tandridge - Surrey - England

Tandridge Golf Club,
Oxted,
Surrey,
RH8 9NQ,
England


  • +44 (0) 1883 712274

  • Luke Edgcumbe

  • Harry Colt, Frank Pont

  • Chris Evans


Tandridge Golf Club was founded back in 1924 and the genius architect Harry Colt designed the course. Today’s layout is still clearly a Colt classic with wonderful steep faced bunkering, raised plateaux greens and visionary use of the natural terrain. However only one third of Colt’s original 300 bunkers remain in play. “Two new Kentish courses deserve a word.” Wrote Bernard Darwin in The Golf Courses of Great Britain. “One is Tandridge, which, I know, holds a high place in the affections of its creator, Mr. Colt. Here, besides pretty views, are good turf, sharp sand, a bold country that is not too tiring and some very good holes.”

The 21st century Tandridge measures 6,509 yards from the back tees and par is set at 71. It’s by no means a championship test, but it’s a sporting course for the low handicapper and eminently playable for the average player. The layout weaves through extensive mature woodland where some 45 species of trees add a visual treat and plenty of definition to the holes. Through the gaps in the trees and from the higher ground, spectacular views of the North Downs and the rolling Kent and Sussex countryside unfold. Tandridge genuinely is as pretty as a picture.

Going out, the topography is relatively flat but the golfing test is nevertheless significant with a par five and two challenging par fours to start. The drama really starts on the homeward nine which delightfully changes elevation as holes traverse the hills. “One of the best par threes in Surrey” is how the 223-yard 13th has been described. The green is surrounded by trees and ringed around with bunkers. There’s also an alarming fall off to the right hand side of the green which will kick the ball deep into the woods if you miss the green on this side.

Tandridge has quite rightly earned a reputation as a traditional but very friendly member’s club that specialises in society and corporate days but also welcomes individual visitors. Clubs such as Tandridge are few and far between and those with better cuisine are as rare as the dodo.

Architect Frank Pont kindly provided us with the following comments on the Tandridge restoration project:

“Tandridge was my first client in the UK, and as such will always hold a special place for me. They had put me on their shortlist of architects they considered for their course works because I had been mentioned to them by the author of Creating Classics, the book on Harry Colt. In the end I was fortunate to be selected from a list that included 3 well known UK based architects, and shortly afterwards started work.

Any restoration project has two key components, the analysis and the process part. At Tandridge the analysis part was easy because we had an old aerial picture of the course when it had just opened (quite unique, few other courses have that luxury), plus various on the ground historical pictures of the bunkering, clearly showing the original size and style of the bunkers. We were also lucky that many bunkers had just been grassed over in the past, the equivalent of mothballing, so it was easy to bring them back. Tandridge is quite unique for a Colt course in that it had close to 250 bunkers, more than any other Colt course I have ever seen (even Muirfield has about 100 less). Not only that, but many of the bunkers were absolutely huge. The greatest challenge was to get the committee and the club’s membership to realise what a very special asset they were custodians of, and to convince them that for the real character of their Colt course to re-emerge it was crucial to bring back both a large number of bunkers, but also to restore the bunkers back to their original style and sizes. This was done in various stages, and in the end I presented 6 times to different groups of members, about 300 in total to get their buy in. The construction work itself was fairly straight forward, given that most of the site was quite sandy. This made it possible to do most of the work in late Autumn and early Winter, minimizing disruption for the golfers of the club.

I think the restoration as we did it was a very gutsy move by the club. Adam Lawrence of GCA Magazine called it the most ambitious restoration project underway in the UK when we started, and I think he nailed it with that statement. The good news is that we succeeded and the course now both is a lot more fun to play for the membership (due to the fact that we brought back both strategy and width to the course, giving the players choices), and also has become a lot more compelling visually due to the restored impressive bunkers. Further continued tree removal at strategic spots such as hole 18 and 15 right will only further enhance this.

The results have been very satisfying, both in terms of members reactions but also in the rankings. I am confident that in the coming years the course’s reputation will only grow with increased focus on fast and firm conditions and more short grass around the greens. If there is one thing that still needs work on the course it is executing the planned tree removals in certain spots and also bringing back more heather, two steps that could further lift the course yet another notch in quality.”

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Reviews for Tandridge

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Description: Tandridge Golf Club is billed as “the best kept golfing secret in Surrey” but we make no apology for letting the cat out of the bag. Rating: 7.2 out of 10 Reviews: 57
TaylorMade
Simon
I have played Tandridge over many years, most recently last week at an invitation day, and am glad to report the course, hospitality and food are as excellent as ever. Significant work appears to have been undertaken around the course over recent months, however it retains its character and charm throughout. A generally flat front 9 gives way to a generally hilly back 9 providing stunning views over the North Downs. Fair although challenging you need to be on your game throughout to score well. Best of all the food is traditional and superb!
November 15, 2006
8 / 10
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Brian McConnell
Many moons ago I learnt my golf on this course and a lesser number of moons ago moved away. However, I am often invited back and I still enjoy it, even though those holes that I used to find easy have grown in length (or is it me?). My current course was also designed by Harry Colt and the echelon bunkers with those famous curling lips are present on both courses. It is still a lovely place and I am amazed that the club have managed to maintain the fantastic quality of the food over so many years.
February 02, 2006
6 / 10
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Heath
A good course, but ranked against the best Surrey Heathland courses - Walton Heath, St George's Hill, Hankley Common, Sunningdale etc. Tandridge falls some way short. Don't let that detract from what surely is a well above average course. It's just quite not what you'd expect from the Surrey Sand Belt.
February 01, 2006
6 / 10
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Gareth Williams
Spent a cloudy winters morning at Tandridge. I must admit to being a little bit disappointed. Undoubtedly it's a fine track in the summer and one of the more pleasant parkland courses you could wish to find. However, for the cost I would have hoped to find it in better winter condition. Mats on all par 3's, very few teeing grounds - many temporary ones moved a long way forward, so it was difficult to view how it would normally play. Course layout was good, very good bunkering, excellent views and some wonderful changes in elevation - particularly the back nine. Clubhouse and overall welcome was friendly. Recommended if you're in the area, otherwise I'd say most could find something of similar rating without needing to travel.
January 17, 2006
6 / 10
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Bushy
Good greens, great views and an awsome carvery. Short course which offers few challenges to the lower handicap, but still a fun round. Particularly good if you want to show you are better than your high handicap, or if you want to take the money off your low handicap mate!
January 09, 2006
6 / 10
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ian baker
I agree about the par 4's but the short holes are no doddle. They are all heavily bunkered and the 4th and the 8th make for tricky putts. Miss the 15th on the right of the green adn you are in real trouble. But the piece de resistance is the 210 yard 13th, a real card wrecker if ever there was one. With the classic Colt bunkers either side of the green and steeply sloping ground on the right to punish a slice, the hole calls for a high quality shot with a wood or long iron. Give yourself a pat on the back if you come off the green with a 3 - and admire the glorious view across the valley to the clubhouse and the North Downs beyond
December 30, 2005
10 / 10
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Andy Newmarch
Played in December and the course was in fine condition with high class greens. Two sets of nine holes that really compliment each other nicely – front nine fairly flat but what a tough start, two par 4’s that only the biggest hitters will reach in two (maybe a little different in the summer). In fact there are six par 4’s on the course that are extremely tough and to make your par you are doing so well. The back nine has been set in a much more undulating terrain and is an absolutely beautiful walk, never mind the fantastic holes. The 14th is worth a mention along with the 17th too – the former being the hole that is impossible to forget. The tee shot is from a high tee down some considerable distance below to the awaiting fairway. The second shot, will be long, played from a downhill lie, and to an elevated green, guarded in the front by three unfriendly bunkers – got to be one of the hardest second shots to a par 4 I have played anywhere. Views at the 17th tee stretch for miles over the Downs, Kent and Sussex. The 18th hole is a brilliant finish – be so careful not to slice or you will be back down into the 17th valley. When visiting Tandridge the smell of tradition and old school is all around but do not associate this with stuffiness at all. The members here are most welcoming and have the balance spot-on with moving with the times and retaining the club values. There has even been a vote recently to introduce the shorter summer sock to compliment the longer knee length version – not quite there yet though as a 50/50 split was the result – maybe next time! Passing note on the catering, the carvery - wow! this is fine fare and so much of it (don’t miss the Tandridge Pudding). Great course, great food and well worth a visit. Recommended.
December 16, 2005
8 / 10
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