It is a testament to the original designer of the Old Course at Walton Heath in that not a lot of the course has changed from its opening in 1903. The land on which the course sits is relatively flat with the occasional elevation change but there’s not a lot to catch you out.
This is a course that will test all facets of your game but it is readily apparent very early on in your round that you must be driving the ball extremely well to mount any serious challenge to play to your handicap. Simply put, this is an exacting test of golf from the tee. Many of the fairways are narrow and well defended by strategically placed bunkers, or most noticeably the treacherous heather. That said, the heather frames the holes beautifully and it really is picture postcard material as the round unfolds.
The turf here is simply a joy to play from with all the lies on the fairways crisp and tight. The consistency of the sand in the bunkers is excellent too. Just the right amount meaning you can control exactly how you want to play your bunker shots. Many of the bunkers are deep and particularly penal. Find any of the fairway bunkers and you’ll be laying-up – there’s no ‘glory’ shots possible out of many of them. The greenside bunkers are well placed allowing for some devilish pin positions to be set. You’ll need to be a strong bunker player to have confidence in getting the ball close from many of the greenside traps.
The greens are a joy to put on. They had been top-dressed prior to my round but this did not detract from the quality of the roll or their trueness. Many greens are large so you can find yourself putting from long distances. There are some devilish slopes and subtle slopes too which mean you must be 100% focussed and have a sure touch to get the ball close. All in all I found the greens in excellent condition.
Whilst the course is relatively flat there are some wonderful golf holes. Many before me have reviewed the holes in detail so I won’t do the same. I will say that the design of many holes featuring a ‘dog-leg’ is particularly well thought out in my opinion; the 9th, 12th and 13th holes are superb examples. If I was to be extremely ‘picky’ I’d mention that in my opinion the only weak point of the course is the 1st. I’m not a fan of par 3 openers, however, due to the toughness of the challenge it at least gives you a flavour of what is to come.
The Old Course at Walton Heath is a magical place to play golf. The green fee is quite steep but to play a course of this quality and with the history associated to this course I’d have to say it is very much worth it. Just remember to bring your ‘A’ game to score well.
Date: September 08, 2017