Review for Walton Heath (New)

Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Review:

On my last two trips to Walton Heath in the past two years, I only played the Old course as the first trip was with three players from the USA who had not played the Old while the more recent visit was with a member who wanted to discuss the Old course as we played. I played the New course too many years ago to give it a proper review based on the current condition of the course which has had the back nine considerably lengthened.

On my next visit to Walton Heath I intend to play both again.

In my notes when I played it I noted the New as being one of the most fun golf courses I have ever played. At the time, it was not nearly as difficult as the Old course. There are a few holes on the New that would fit in well with the Old. Indeed, there are times on both courses that you have to pay attention to the next tee or you might find yourself playing the other course. However, with the added length to the New course primarily on the back nine, perhaps I will think it to be less “fun” and instead find it more interesting.

There is a similarity to both courses, beginning with the course being distant from the clubhouse, neither close to the clubhouse at the beginning nor the end of the round, crossing a road to access the course, similar raised bunkering, tall grass and thick heather that leads often to a dropped shot, and basically flat terrain. It is also of similar length due to having only three par 3’s. Balls finding the fairway can run quite a way reducing the length of the course. Of course, on both courses one can hear the road noise from the M-25.

Where the New differs from the Old is there are a large number of cross-bunkers on the New. The greens on the Old are more undulating and interesting than the ones on the New, although both are well-conditioned. Another difference is the better nine on the Old is the front while for the New it is the back nine. The Old has many more “better” and memorable holes than the New simply because the greens are better as well as the green surrounds. I thought some of the greens on the New course to be overly large for being so flat.

The New course is certainly good enough to put Walton Heath into the conversation for the best golf club in the British Isles that have two courses joining Sunningdale, Saunton, The Berkshire, and Royal Portrush. I have excluded resort courses as they are not “clubs.” I would put Walton Heath behind Sunningdale.

It is definitely a golf course worth playing. It is not as penal as Walton Heath Old, where the front nine and several holes on the back nine are very difficult. I found the New course at the time I played it to be more beautiful than the Old course with more heather, although not as beautiful as Swinley Forest, the courses at Sunningdale, or The Berkshire.

Walton Heath New now plays at 7199 par 72, sss 75 and 6648 sss 72. It has been lengthened about 200-250 yards from both tees from when I played it. It has also likely been stretched as far as it can go. When I played the New, it was the second round of the day and we played in a reasonable wind but with high gusts. Therefore, we played what is today would be considered the “club” tees at 6278 yards. Today I would play either the championship or medal tees on a relatively calm day.

In my notes and comparing them to the reviews previously posted, I agree with much of what was written. I like the first hole because it is easy as a short par 4 of 286 yards, easily driveable for average players with a wide fairway and access to the green as there is a wide opening between the flanking bunkers. I noted how overly large and flat the green is for a hole so short.

The second hole is a shorter par 3 of about 140 yards with four surrounding bunkers and a back to front slope of the green. I liked the hole even though I manage to double bogey it after a bad lie against the back lip of a bunker. This green is too large for the length of the hole.

The first cross-bunker is at the third hole, a longer par 4 of 425/419 to a long, skinny green. The greenside bunker on the right front is a “collecting” bunker that is steeply sloped to the sand and also deep. The green is flat.

Four is another short par 4 of 343/288. When I played it, the length was only 250 yards. I want to play this hole again as I do not know if the added length changed the character of the hole as I thought it to be one of the lesser holes on the course. It has two bunkers short of the green and a really interesting raised, rough grass bunker to the left of the green. The green is flat and odd-shaped.

Five is a long par 4 dogleg right of 468/461 that I thought to be one of the best holes on the golf course. This hole features a centerline, fairly deep bunker that did not come into play for my length. The green is narrow and has more undulations than previous holes. I made a note of trees on both sides that can block a line to the green if one misses the fairway by more than ten yards. It is rated the hardest hole on the course.

Six is a mid-length par 3 of 183/171 where there is a rise on the right side of the green but otherwise uninteresting.

Seven is a short par 4 slight dogleg right with another cross-bunker, a few trees down the left, a tree nearer the slightly raised green, and ditch to the right. It’s an okay hole perhaps more interesting for the longer hitters who might reach the cross-bunker.

Eight is a mid-length par 5 that goes slightly left. I thought it to be a fun hole to play featuring grass cross bunkers and another bunker short of the green in the fairway.

Nine is a fine hole even though it plays to the edge of the property closest to the M-25. It has a flattish green and is relatively visually uninteresting.

For me the best part of Walton Heath New is the back nine. I will not comment much on the holes as many of them have been considerably lengthened from the tees I played (even if the tees I played are still there).

I thought ten, the final par 3, had the best bunkering fronting the hole which I hope they have not changed. It is the final par 3 and the best on the course.

Of the remaining holes my favorites were the fourteenth and sixteenth. But with the new yardages that could change the next time I play Walton Heath New.

I also believe that the additional yardage has likely strengthened the case for Walton Heath being the second- best club in the British Isles with two courses (non-resort). While playing both courses the same day might leave one exhausted and less able to distinguish the courses, they are both very much worth playing. If for reason, one showed up expected to play the Old only to find it closed, then playing the New is a very fine substitute. I do think Walton Heath New could rise in the rankings if the surfaces of the greens were more interesting as well as a few more bunkers added on the course.

Date: June 11, 2020


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