Walton Heath (Old) - Surrey - England

Walton Heath Golf Club,
Deans Lane,
Walton on the Hill,
Surrey,
KT20 7TP,
England


  • +44 (0) 1737 812380

  • Golf Club Website

  • 2 miles N of M25 J8, 15 miles S of London

  • Contact in advance - weekends limited


Both courses at Walton Heath Golf Club (Old & New) were designed by Herbert Fowler who was related by marriage to the founder, Sir Henry Cosmo Bonsor. “It was a stroke of genius on the part of Mr Herbert Fowler to see with his prophetic eye a noble golf course on the expanse of Walton Heath”, wrote Bernard Darwin. “It was in August 1902, that Mr Fowler had begun his survey. In April 1904 James Braid moved to Walton from Romford and in May the course was opened with a due flourish of trumpets,” wrote Darwin in the Biography of James Braid. James Braid remained the Walton Heath club professional until 1950.

Surprisingly, Walton Heath Golf Club was not given the royal charter, despite the fact that the Duke of Windsor was club captain in 1935. During his year as captain, he became King Edward VIII. Walton Heath is the only club in history to have a reigning monarch as its captain. His term as captain probably lasted longer than his reign on the throne. King George VI was also an honorary member and Winston Churchill played his golf here as a member from 1910-1965.

Walton Heath played host to the 1981 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe. Team Captains were Dave Marr (US) and John Jacobs (Europe). The US Team comprised of players who held 36 Major Championship titles between them and they were simply too strong for the Europeans. Larry Nelson and Jack Nicklaus won eight points on their own while Nick Faldo could only claim a single point this time round. European debutants included Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Canizares and Manuel Pinero but Seve Ballesteros (1980 Masters winner) was left out of the team for playing too much golf in America. USA 18 ½ - Europe 9 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at The Greenbrier in 1979 and at the PGA National in 1983.

This is where links golf meets inland golf. There is no salty whiff of sea air, but the course plays and feels like a seaside links. A profusion of heather stripes the edge of the fairways. In the summer, when the heather is in flower, it is an absolute delight to look at, but a real challenge to play out of. The greens are true and fast and the undulations make it tough to read the lines and the pace of putts.

This is a course that favours the lower handicap golfer. Some of the carries across the heather are quite lengthy and if you don’t hit the fairways, you can often wave goodbye to your ball. There are some really strong holes on the Old course – one of the best of the outward nine is the 5th, a cracking 391-yard par four that demands a solid drive that must avoid the thick, tangly heather shrouding the fairway. A mid-iron approach shot will find the green, amply guarded by bunkers left and right.

The last three holes are especially challenging, especially the 16th, a 510-yard par five, well described by Bernard Darwin in his book The Golf Courses of the British Isles. In 1910, it was the 17th hole and it was played as a par four. “We must begin by hitting a long, straight drive between bunkers on the right and some particularly rete ntive heather on the left, but that is, comparatively speaking, an easy matter. The second shot is the thing – a full shot right home on to a flat green that crowns the top of a sloping bank. To the right the face of the hill is excavated in a deep and terrible bunker, and a ball ever so slightly sliced will run into that bunker as sure as fate. To the left there is heather extending almost to the edge of the green, and, in avoiding the right-hand bunker, we may very likely die an even more painful death in the heather.”

Walton Heath has hosted many important competitions, not least the 1981 Ryder Cup. Unfortunately, Europe was thrashed 9 ½ - 18 ½ by America, thanks to the likes of Watson and Nicklaus. For serious golfers, this is a fantastic venue for a golf day. Lunch in the clubhouse is simply stunning, well worth donning the jacket and tie, but probably worth passing on the dessert if you want to swing properly in the afternoon!

Bernard Darwin sums up Walton Heath perfectly: “There is no more charming place on a fine sunshiny day, none where the air is fresher and more cheering, none where the sky seems bigger. It is a place where it is good for us, alike for our game and for ourselves, to play golf.”

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Reviews for Walton Heath (Old)

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Description: Walton Heath Golf Club is where links golf meets inland golf. There is no salty whiff of sea air, but the course plays and feels like a seaside links. Rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 55
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LarsX
We played WH Old Course on a cold (10°C) June day with a brutal 6 Bft SW gale and many showers, which made holes 3-8 extremely difficult to play and made the roar from the M25 quite deafening on holes 8 and 9. Due to lots of rain in the days before the course played even longer from the already long white tees.However, we thoroughly enjoyed it! Despite the wetness the course was in great condition, the greens fast and very true. The layout of the course itself – wow! Much more interesting than I expected and even in bad weather it is such a beauty. Behind that beauty is a beast though as missing fairways or greens is punished severely. The rough was high, the heather dense and a drive into a fairway bunker always will almost always result in a lost shot. This is no course for double-digit handicappers.We were very happy with the people in the club – the staff in the bar, the reception and the pro shop where very welcoming and helpful. Playing the final three holes in two under par helped to remember the trip very favorably.I am not giving the highest marks due the very high Green fee (135GBP), lack of a good practice facility and the M25. Would I go there again? Definitely, but probably later in summer.
June 11, 2012
8 / 10
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David Wilkinson
Walton Heath is a top notch heathland course and in my opinion, second only to the might of Sunningdale in this part of the country. Granted, the clubhouse is not as traditional as many and yes, the monstrous putting green is a little peculiar. I would be more critical about the first hole had my sweetly-struck hybrid not landed five feet from the flag. So, get to Walton, get the long and dull opening par-3 out of the way, then cross the road and enjoy every moment. There's a string of five superb par-4s, followed by a sequence of varied and interesting challenges through the turn. For me, one of the stand-out holes is 12; a short dogleg right par-4 requiring not power, but precision from tee to green. The final three holes would serve as a perfect setting for a grandstand finish in any matchplay battles. The long downhill par-5 16th is followed by a 200-yard par-3 with a multi-tiered green. The closing hole is a lengthy uphill par-4, with a huge bunker defending the final green. I've only played the course once, but I can certainly recommend a visit in late August / early September as the heather blooms bright and brilliant purple. Superb.
November 15, 2011
10 / 10
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Vorndron
Top quality golf course, can see why the pro's rate it so highly. Played off the white tees, so got the full value of the course. The course is tough right from the start - a 230 yard par 3 and it doesn't get much easier!!. Holes 1 to 8 are tough (with the 3rd a possible exception), they're long and heather lined that really punishes an errant shot. From 9 onwards the course plays a little easier, not quite as tight and with the par 5's on the back nine, which are reachable, a good score can be made. Deserves a 6 ball rating for the course, although if being picky the sound of the M25 and that you have to cross a busy road after the first hole to play the other 17 holes is not ideal. But having said that its truly superb and I really enjoyed it. I prefer Sunningdale as a setting but if judged on 'the course' I can't seperate them (even though they are different). A must play if you are a serious golfer.
August 14, 2011
10 / 10
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Matthew Adams
Walton Heath is not as photogenic in the vein of other Surrey courses such as the Addington, Woking or West Hill with their more noticeable changes in elevation. That is not to say that Walton Heath is flat or dull. Walton Heath Old course approach to the 2nd - photo by Matthew AdamsWhere the land is crumpled it adds challenge and visual appeal without causing extreme lies and stances. However, the flatter pieces of land, in common with many links courses, make distance judgement more important. The placement of hazards serves to confuse the eye further. The course demands straight and long driving throughout, with the cumulative effect adding to mental tiredness and will inevitably lead to the odd missed fairway and a lost ball if snaffled by the abundant and all too welcoming heather. Not even the 18th gives any respite. Firm summertime fairways offer opportunities to gain distance without extra physical exertion, although flighting high drives into softened autumnal fairways might make for a less stressful experience. The greens are nearly the equal of the billiard table smoothness and speed of Burnham & Berrow. If one were to criticise the course it could be for a lack of variety, with holes 2-6 all par fours running roughly due south. Later, frequent changes in direction do much to diffuse the feeling. The holes are harder to separate in the mind than at some courses but each is worthy of its place in the whole. The rather incongruous par 3 1st , which uses length as its primary defence is a rare exception. The noise from the M25 as mentioned by other reviewers is a minor bugbear, but it is an acceptable trade-off for such easy access. Walton Heath may not create strong affection with the visiting golfer but it is certainly worthy of its ranking, as a course for the discerning golfer to respect and admire, more than fall in love with.
August 04, 2011
8 / 10
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Carl Statham
There is no doubting it is an impressive course. There are no weak holes on the course, but many very strong ones. I would say it is an outstanding course, but no outstanding holes. It is a flat piece of land, no hills, but with lots of undulations (I have no idea where the links comparison comes in, it's a bog standard English Heath!). Once you have crossed the road it is just a huge heath with flag poles sticking out of the ground in the distance. We were probably lucky in that the wind was blowing towards the M25 and not across it, so the roar was only deafening on 2 or 3 holes. Also the club house is isolated away from the course (how they police the course I have no idea) and the club house itself is an understated large cabin. I can see why they playbig competitions here because of the space and lack of weak holes, but as an average club golfer ........ it lacks soul and real stand out holes. I would play any of the three W's before this and this is no where near The Berkshire or Sunningdale. It seems harsh cristicism as it is a very fine course and I loved playing it, but then it has a reputation and it's own self belief to judge it against. Still a magnificent golf course, but certainly not worth £125 a round. Tick it off the list and move on. That is what I have done and since it is only 40mins down the road from me it has taken a long while to do this.
July 30, 2011
6 / 10
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Max Monroe
Maybe the hardest driving course because if you are missing fairways you are not making pars and likely not breaking 80, high handicappers forget about it. They can stretch out one of the courses to rediculous length. The heather is nasty, stay straight my friends. Lovely club and both courses are very good with undulating terrain, greens are just so so. Both courses are very difficult but what a treat to play here. WHGC is all British class and charm.
July 23, 2011
8 / 10
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Wayne Sheffield
Played Walton Heath in a golf day two days after US Open qualifying and expectations were very high, as it had long been on my Must play list. The Greens were in great condition, but the rest of the course was not as expected. Obviously heathland courses can get away with a more rustic feel, but the fairway conditions were very poor, bunkers not great, lots of weads and nobody in the 50 strong group was overly impressed. The design also felt a little open and uninteresting - have played so many superior Surrey heathland courses. Maybe expectations were too high, but underwhelmed. However, the greens were excellent and Carvery after exceptional.
June 28, 2011
4 / 10
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Simon
June 29, 2011
I played WH last year and the greens were in poor condition so pleased to hear they were good for your round, also agree the carvery is fantastic! Playing again in August after Senior Tour so will be interested to see how it fares then.
Robert
July 12, 2011
I played this on a recent hot weekend and really enjoyed the sheer quality of the course - losing a few balls was not much fun but a birdie on the par 3 7th made up for the snooty bar staff. the pro shop was very friendly though.
Roo
I recently visited Walton Heath from my local club Frilford Heath in torrential weather when even my Galvin's were struggling. The old course was beautiful even in its winter colours and the lady at the front desk was very helpful and informative. A hugely enjoyable day and definitely worth golfing through the water soaked pain barrier for! I'll be back to play the New course! Thanks!
February 22, 2011
8 / 10
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andrew wilson
I played this course very recently on one of the dampest days of the year so far. Even after donning the waterproofs from head to toe and packing my golf bag with towels, I had a tremendously enjoyable round of golf through the heather and beautiful links style bunkers, right the way to putting through puddles on the 18th. The sense of history is also very evident, with former golfers including the likes of Winston Churchill. The 1981 Ryder cup photos are also great fun to look through. However, what really let the club down was the cold reception to visitors from a very obnoxious young professional in the shop to a rather shoddy welcome and level of service from other members of staff. The video cameras in the visitor’s locker room were also far from welcome. I have played many of the top courses including far better ones such as Muirfield, Royal Birkdale and St Andrews, all of which were a joy to visit. I feel that playing a golf course should be about the entire experience and Walton Heath certainly should think about improving its manners so that they match the standard of their wonderful courses.
February 14, 2011
6 / 10
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US Steve
February 15, 2011
I would have to disagree with your comment regarding the "manners" of the staff at WH. I travel to the UK on business and try to play WH each time I visit. Every time I have had to pleasure of playing WH I make it a point to stop in the Pro Shop and speak with the Pros. We talk about the course, golf in general and they are always cordial and very receptive to the conversation. Maybe you just caught them on a bad day? We all have them...
M Brown
February 17, 2011
I visited Walton Heath last year with a group of friends. We were made most welcome throughout the club. I was kindly granted courtesy as a PGA Professional and having written to say thank you, an email from the Professional came back to me saying thank you for the effort in writing. Nothing like good old fashioned manners! Respect that it is a traditional club and the respect is often shown back. The place is awesome from the clubhouse to the magnificent heathland layout. One of my favourites.
Paul Bourdeaux
February 22, 2011
Having grown up in the Surrey commuter belt, I have been lucky enough to play Walton Heath on a number of occasions during junior competition (a venue I always looked forward to) and more recently now that I have moved back to the area with my family. I must admit the review above does NOT surprise me. I do not have strong views one way or the other with regard to the staff (the club on the other hand is fabulous); however, a number of my fellow staff and friends have been less than impressed with their welcome to the club, they must just have off days as US Steve mentioned, luck of the draw I guess! With regard to M Brown, firstly, I am very envious of your clear golfing talent! Although, I must say that if my round of golf was comped (instead of paying the usual £150 plus) it would only be appropriate to write a thank you letter! Finally, don't be put off playing both of the courses at this wonderful club. We can all at least agree that the courses, tradition and history of the place are something to behold and a golfing must!
Patrick McGarey
I played Walton Heath fresh off an overnight flight to Heathrow in early April 2010. The weather was sunny and mild, which is fortunate, since the area received constant rain during the weeks leading up to my visit. A wonderful, no-tricks layout which often places a premium on accurate tee shots. Although the heather was cut back severely for winter during my visit, I can imagine this hazard comes into play much more often as the summer progresses. I'm sure I saved several or more strokes by being able to both find and hit my ball out of what is ordinarilly quite punitive. The greens were a bit spongy as a result of the recent spring rains, but overall the putting surfaces were of high quality. The traditional design of Walton Heath required me to hit every club in my bag. The overall layout was more one of consistent high quality, with subtle demands, and just punishment of poor shots, rather than flashy design features. Getting in and out of the small parking lot was also a challenge, but the club staff was very welcoming. Highly recommended for fans of the traditional gentlemanly game.
May 11, 2010
8 / 10
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